The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc.: Blog 2017-03-03T00:27:00Z (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. TTSBE Foster Care Day (02-12-2017)

Repotting day for a few more of our collection bonsai.

Our dear volunteers gathered again bright and early.

Before pictures.

Working on trimming and cleaning the branches before repotting.

This one sure needs to be repotted. 

Our TTSBE soil mix.

Ready for its new soil.

There are a lot of different ways to tie a screen to the pot's drain holes.  Here're two different ways and they both work.

We will end this blog post with a picture of the Chinese quince in its environment.  Be patient, little tree, Spring is just around the corner.

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2017-02-13T02:15:00Z 2017-02-13T02:15:00Z TTSBE Foster Care Day (01-13-2017)

Day 2 of Kathy Shaner Foster day.  We met bright and early to work on TTSBE trees.

Before picture of Boxwood #145:

After picture:  This old Collected Japanese Boxwood was repotted into a new (but vintage) Sara Rayner pot, giving the whole composition a lighter and more elegant look. This tree is about 50 years old, originally collected in Dallas, and donated to the Exhibit in 2012.

Buxus microphylla 2 (2017-1-23)Buxus microphylla 2 (2017-1-23)2017-1-23.
This old Collected Japanese Boxwood was repotted into a new (but vintage) Sara Rayner pot, giving the whole composition a lighter and more elegant look. This tree is about 50 years old, was originally collected in Dallas, and was donated to the Exhibit in 2012.

Before picture:

Cleaned the inside and outside of this juniper.

Found some bugs inside and cleaned it with some alcohol and water.

Design change.  Prepare to view surgery performed on a tree trunk.

Viola!  All cleaned up and will be left to grow until our next Foster Care Day.

Another tree:  Drain holes were drilled for this Hackberry.

Working on cleaning the tree trunk.

Look at all the beautiful berries!

Before picture:

Working on trimming the leaves to encourage smaller new leaves.

Before picture:

Trimming and wiring to get it ready for Spring.

Wiring a Bald Cypress.

Before picture of a Cedar Elm:

Notice the two rocks in the pot? Next repotting session, we will try and incorporate that into the design and repot this tree at a different angle.

Working on an oak tree.

After view:

We will end this post with a few beautiful drawings from our talented artist.




The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2017-01-14T02:30:00Z 2017-01-14T02:30:00Z TTSBE Foster Care Day (01-12-2017)

We welcome Kathy Shaner once again to our TTSBE Foster Care Day.  We are very thankful to have her as our curator to see to the health and styling of our TTSBE Trees.

A few months have gone by since we put up our extension for the tropical species and it has been holding up well.

A little bit of adjusting the clamps and we are good to go for another few months until the weather is warm again.

Kathy examining a juniper.

Found some tiny little brown specks that could be spider mites. 

Kathy asked one of our volunteers to spray it really well with water to remove them.

Trimming the Brazilian Rain Tree.

Per Kathy's instruction, our experienced volunteer started trimming a beautiful ficus that was recently donated to TTSBE.  

As all these go on, our dear friend is always there waiting and guarding our bonsai wires.

A few before and after pictures of Kathy showing us how to clean up the branches to facilitate the healing of the tree.








Sometimes a brown marker can be of great help.  Here she colored and dotted the truck so that the white look of the wound disappeared as you look at it from far away.


Another volunteer wiring the branches of a Cedar Elm.

Nicely done.

A few pieces of bark fell off this tree.  No worries, we can fix that...

There is an area with no bark and a round wound.  No worries, we can fix that too...

Artist at work.

This was the almost finished picture.  I did not take an after picture.  Believe me, it looked a lot better than before.

Here we see a hole on the top of this Cedar Elm and it will trap rainwater and eventually cause rotting of the trunk.

The solution:  Make a drain hole through the truck.

Volunteers took turns holding and stabilizing the tree.

Decided to change pots for the ash juniper, tree # 57E, in our collection.

Took it out from the old pot.

Soak the roots really well.

Reduced root ball and wired it into its new pot.

Fill up with soil and we are good to go.

In its new pot.

An example of what planting angle can do to your perception of the tree.  Below is the current planting angle of Tree #51.

By rotating and slightly tilting the pot, we see the third trunk and thus adds interest to the tree.

Finally, Tree #58E, an Ash Juniper about to get its "hair cut".

A different planting angle was also decided for the next repotting session.

After a whole day of work, all our volunteers felt the same as our dear buddy here!








The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2017-01-13T21:15:00Z 2017-01-13T21:15:00Z TTSBE Board Meeting (08-14-2016)

Great news! Our future TTSBE bonsai exhibit at Zilker Botanical Garden is moving along quite nicely.  With the support of the newly established Conservancy (a non-profit group which works closely with the City of Austin and PARD to oversee and coordinate the Zilker Park development), we are asked to provide a unified design of the buildings.  Numerous sub-committee meetings were needed to finalize the master plan and create a 3D rendering for presentation and fund raising.

We spent the morning before the meeting to repot a few of our donated tropicals.

The recent rain together with the hard work of our caretaker brought you these beautiful blooms on this bougainvillea, 'Pink Pixie'.

Since we have limited green house space, we will be selling this beautiful ficus.  If you are interested, please notify us as soon as possible.  Specimen this size is truly impressive.

To provide some guidance in the size of this particular Ficus, we need to borrow one of our volunteers.

A volunteer busy mixing bonsai soil for the tropicals.

Purple bloom on this bougainvillea.

Bonsai artists at work.

Need to reduce the roots during repotting.

Another healthy ficus.  You can see some mycorrhizae in the roots.  Mycorrhiza is a symbiotic fungus that helps the plants absorb nutrients.

A closer look.

Contemplating the size of the pot to use.

More repotting and trimming.

Watering afterwards.

We were very fortunate to have finished repotting before the rain.

Thanks to our observant bonsai caretaker, we have another picture to share with you!


The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-08-15T01:15:00Z 2016-08-15T01:15:00Z TTSBE Board Meeting (08-07-2016)

Prior to our board meeting, we checked on our collection trees and removed some wires on a few trees.

This Chinese Quince was donated to us by Audrey Lanier and took Kathy Shaner a few hours to wire the whole tree.  It looked absolutely magnificent from this angle!

A close up of the detailed wiring.

I love this picture of our volunteer admiring the tree.

Removing wires from a maple.

Before removing wires from this live oak.

All these wires need to come off.

Starting to clip off the thick wires.

After all the wires were removed.

We rotated the tree 180 degrees so that the other side could get enough sun too.

Since we did not see a critter this time, we will end with a picture of our furry friend.


The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-08-08T03:30:00Z 2016-08-08T03:30:00Z TTSBE Tropical Foster Care Day (7-17-2016)

Let us start off with my favorite picture of the day.  This pulley system creates an illusion of a levitating tree!  We will get to the process later on.

On a Sunday morning, volunteers gathered at MBP Bonsai Studio to help repot two big ficus, assist in trimming and maintain the rest of our TTSBE collection trees.

We noticed that the leaves on our Cedar Elm forest were very yellow and a closer examination led us to believe that it could be infected by fungal spores.

We found fungal spores on some leaves.

As we figure out our next step, another shade cloth was put up to protect the Cedar Elm forest from the harsh summer sun.

Here you can see a volunteer measuring the tree to see how much we need to trim off for it to fit through our green house door when winter comes along.

Once we knew the dimensions, volunteers trim away.

Working on a Ficus salicifolia donated by the Pipitone family.

Look at these tiny figs!!

A Ficus microcarpa also donated by the Pipitone family.

Now you get to see how we repot bigger trees.

All strapped in and ready to go.

The pot was removed and roots were trimmed.

Bottom view.

It was a hot sunny day, so we made sure to spray plenty of water to keep the roots moist.

Back to the levitating tree picture.

The pot was cleaned and drain holes were prepared.

The pot, now filled with some bonsai soil, was then moved underneath the tree.

The pot was raised to meet the tree and the straps were removed.

This is how we tied the tree to its pot without damaging the roots on top.

The tree was moved back to its stand and more soil was added.

Moving our next tree to the repotting area. 

We took this ficus out of the wooden box and will need to trim the roots further for it to fit into a bonsai pot.

View of the roots.

There are still thick mud stuck between the roots so we used some water to wash it away.

Preparing the pot for the tree and further reducing the roots.

Looking more like a bonsai.

These are just a few of our dedicated volunteers that happened to be around for me to get a picture.  We have more volunteers around the corner still working hard.

Back on its stand.

More soil added.

Watering well before leaving.

If you have been following our TTSBE blog, you might notice that we always manage to come upon an insect of some sort during our foster days.  Let me leave you with a picture of two earth worms this time.





The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-07-18T03:00:00Z 2016-07-18T03:00:00Z TTSBE Tropical Foster Care Day (07-03-2016)

After about a month of resting beneath the oak trees, the tropicals are ready to be repotted.  Our hard-at-work volunteer mixed pine bark with our soil mix to get ready for the event.

Preparing bonsai pots for the trees.

Transporting the trees to our working area.

We had to cut around the pot to get the tree out.

Washing the old soil away.

On a previous blog post, we mentioned that some deer had been munching on our narrow leaf ficus.  After a month of rest, all of these trees have new leaves and are looking better then before.  Maybe deer know how to do bonsai after all.

Here we can see a volunteer repotting a Campeche logwood donated to us by Dario Octaviano.

Some insecticide chalk lines were drawn to prevent ant damage.

Our strong volunteer carrying a narrow leaf ficus forest donated by the estate of Dr. Donald Green.  It is ready to go into a fresh bonsai container.

Old soil was removed and roots were trimmed.

More repotting work.

Our bonsai friend was there to cheer us on.

Look at the flowers on this buttonwood! They sure look pretty.

These newly repotted trees get their water and will be put back into the grow area.

A big thank you to all our volunteers for repotted 15 bonsai that day!

We tend to come across a different insect every time we gather.  This time, we will end this blog post by showing you a picture of a cute tarantula that we found inside one of the soil containers.  


The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-07-04T04:00:00Z 2016-07-04T04:00:00Z TTSBE Board Meeting (06-12-2016)

We found out that the deer have been helping us with trimming the tropical bonsai from our donation last month.  They have very particular diets because they only munch on narrow leaf ficus and nothing else.  So the board decided to meet and built a barrier fence.

Luckily it is summer and these trees will grow back their leaves in a few weeks.

After pounding for a while, we found that there was not enough dirt to put up fence posts.

One of our board members suggested that we could use some of our existing trash cans with soil in them to act as temporary fence posts.

Our volunteers load up the truck to transport the heavy trash cans.

Our cheerful driver.

Unloading at the site.

The make shift fence area finished.

We always enjoy seeing our furry friend.

Final checking on the trees before leaving.

Further trimming on some tall ficus.

We were lucky enough to meet this little critter in the afternoon.  Until next time...

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-06-13T02:00:00Z 2016-06-13T02:00:00Z TTSBE Board Meeting (05-07-2016)

It is time for our ficus to come out from the green house!  

What a nice day to do some trimming and fertilizing on our bonsai trees!

Thanks to Mike and Candy Hansen, we got to sample different flavored M&M's during our board meeting.  Which one is your favorite?

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-05-08T02:45:00Z 2016-05-08T02:45:00Z Testing our watering system.

Four new trees were brought to our pilot site to test our new watering system.


More than a month has gone by and our watering system seems to be holding up great.  Many thanks to our volunteers for signing up to go check on the trees daily.

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-05-04T02:45:00Z 2016-05-04T02:45:00Z Andy Graham Tree donation

A group of four volunteers, including Joey, drove down to South Texas to bring back some bonsai trees donated by Andy Graham.

"It has been a long weekend, but also a fun one spent with good bonsai friends.  I'd like to thank everyone for the gift of their time and hard work.  The effort we put into the Exhibit is a collaborative one, and each person helps to make everything go so smooth.  We spent an entire day loading and driving, and the next day unloading & sorting with some repotting and trimming both at Lakeview and later at MBP.  Thank you everyone for all the energy.  A BIG thank you to Andy for donating these wonderful trees to TTSBE and helping our Exhibit! "  -  Joey

They started driving really early in the morning...

After the long drive, the whole car was covered with bugs.

They finally arrived at Andy's place.

Look at the size of that Narrow Leaf Ficus in front!

Taking a rest before getting ready to load up the truck.

Two in and a lot more to move.

Had to cut this one down quite a bit to fit into the truck.

The next day.


After the trees were unloaded, we then proceed to number and take pictures for our database.  A small number were repotted and trimmed.  The following pictures showed just a few of these magnificent trees.

One of our volunteers was kind enough to stay late to trim and repot.

There is still a lot of work to be done but right now, these bonsai just need to rest under the oak trees to recover from the long drive. 

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-05-02T02:00:00Z 2016-05-02T02:00:00Z TTSBE Foster Day at Persimmon Hill 04-13-2016

We started day two of Foster Day by evaluating and pricing some donated bonsai in our collection.

Another one of the donated trees.

Volunteers always learn a lot just by listening to Kathy's recommendations.

Lots of hands-on experience.

More trimming.

This Trident Maple had a leaf fungus that Kathy wanted to eradicate.  She gave a volunteer instructions to cut off all the infected leaves and had him spray the tree with a fungicide.

Before spraying and trimming.

After spraying and trimming.

Volunteers took turn cutting off the leaves.

This close-up look shows that we cut the leaves off very close to the branches.  By doing it this way, the very end of the stems will fall off faster and buds will come out quicker in the spring.  During autumn, we will leave longer leaf stems so they will take more time to fall off, thus delaying bud growth.

Another view.

We took some time off looking at some stones that our volunteer brought to us.

Of course our bonsai buddy is keeping us company.

This volunteer did a really nice job wiring the tree.

Kathy working on a Cedar Elm.

Kathy looking at a Live Oak.

Observing the health of this pine tree.

We will end this blog post with a picture of a tiny critter.  Its color blended right in with the stem of the maple!! 




The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-04-14T04:00:00Z 2016-04-14T04:00:00Z TTSBE Foster Day at Lakeview Bonsai (04-12-2016)

It is always a pleasure to visit with Kathy Shaner.  Once again, she came to give advice on TTSBE trees and to have her seminar on deadwood carving and tree refinement.

Here you see everyone pondering over Kathy's question of how we could improve this particular Cedar elm.

My dear backdrop holder at work again.

Original potting angle.

Future potting angle.  It turns out that a slight change of angle in the pot will make a huge difference.  Do you agree?

Here you can see Kathy checking the wires underneath the pot to see if the tree is secured.

A quick and easy way to fix missing bark is shown here.

Some bark is removed from other parts of the tree and glued into the empty space.  It can then be colored to blend in and the bare area will be less noticeable.

Our artist at work again.

A nicely trimmed Brazilian Rain Tree. 

Another Brazilian Rain Tree before trimming.

After a few minutes of magic, it is looking more like a bonsai tree already.

Using a chopstick to create more space between the trunks.

Adding more soil.

Wiring the branches.

Giving a slight trim to this juniper.

Bonsai weight-lifting.

Using a dead branch to demonstrate how to secure a tree to its pot. 

This piece of wood resembles a water dragon!  Can you see it too?


The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-04-13T03:00:00Z 2016-04-13T03:00:00Z Zilker Garden Festival 2016

We arrived bright and early this morning to set up the educational display in the Greene Room and also brought along three different bonsai trees to put on the TTSBE stands near the pond area.

Unloading is easier with more volunteers.

Beginning the set up by laying out table cloths.

Meanwhile, our sign designer gets ready to put up this beautiful sign by the display area.

Attaching the sign to the fence.

Securing the bonsai to the stand.

Inside the Greene Room.

There will be daily demonstrations by the Austin Bonsai Society and members available to answer any questions you have about this art.  Please join us at the Zilker Garden Festival this weekend (April 2nd - 3rd, 2016, 10am - 5 pm) to view our bonsai trees and see this 130+ years old Japanese Boxwood in person.  We look forward to meeting you!

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-04-01T04:10:00Z 2016-04-01T04:10:00Z Pilot Display 3-26-2016

There is a Japanese Garden Tour Program at Zilker Botanical Garden and that gives us a perfect opportunity to put some trees on our new stands.  Three trees are carefully loaded onto the club car to be transported to the site.

A few days ago, our talented volunteer put bamboo trimmings on the fence. 

Trident maple and Japanese maple on the stands.

Another view with the Japanese maple in front.

Chinese Quince is last to go onto the stand.

Our Pilot Display Area looks so much more alive with bonsai trees on the stands.

Evan Taniguchi giving a tour of the garden.

It was such a nice day that we decided to have our board meeting outside.

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-03-27T04:00:00Z 2016-03-27T04:00:00Z Pilot Display installation at Zilker Botanical Garden, part 2 (2-28-2016)

Volunteers gather at Zilker Botanical Garden once again to get ready for the installation.

A lot of measuring and pounding to make sure that the stakes are in the correct places.

A little raking done to get the fencing to go flush against the ground.

A perfect time to show off some bonsai wiring skills.

Starting to lay down the fencing wires.

Reed fencing waiting its turn.

More people means more fun and the possibility of getting done faster?!

Securing the reed fence to the wire fence.

Good friends = good times.

Cutting bamboo to fit and cover up the green poles.

As we work, some visitors were very interested in our project and lingered to talk to us.

Installation of the gate.

The gate and poles were spray painted to better match the surroundings.

Final clean up for the day.

Back view.  We still need to come back and put more bamboo trimmings.

Front view. April will soon be upon us, as will the trees upon their stands. Stay tuned!


The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-02-29T05:00:00Z 2016-02-29T05:00:00Z TTSBE Foster Day at Persimmon Hill (2-21-2016)

Spring is early this year and some TTSBE trees are due for repotting!  We have our regular volunteers and some new friends joining us at Persimmon Hill to do some root-pruning and repotting.

There are different goals to root-pruning.  Some trees have been living in their pots for a while and their roots have outgrown the pots so eventually the overall health of the trees will deteriorate.  Other trees could have been collected and have never been in a bonsai pot so their roots need to be pruned to fit into the pot.  Some good examples are the juniper and the oak tree as seen in the following pictures.

Everyone busy at work.

New volunteers are always welcome.  They get to work on several maple trees this time.

Volunteering for TTSBE events provide great learning opportunities.

Another maple tree repotted.

Taking the tree out of its pot and combing out its root system. 

Putting new soil into the pot so the tree can grow again.

Trimming some branches off on the left.

Branches are checked and extra ones trimmed.

Removing a thick branch.

Making sure all the wires are in the correct place before putting the tree in its pot.

Trimming the roots so the tree has more room to grow.

The juniper out of its nursery pot...

and into a bonsai pot!!

The live oak in its pot.

Of course, we have to include a picture of our furry friend.

Some TTSBE trees anxiously waiting to be seen at Zilker Botanical Garden.




The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-02-22T05:00:00Z 2016-02-22T05:00:00Z Pilot Display installation at Zilker Botanical Garden (1-24-2016)

What an exciting day for all of us volunteers!  After our board meeting at Zilker Botanical Garden, we went and installed three beautiful stands built by our volunteer and also marked out our Pilot Display Area.

Transporting the bonsai stands down to the display area.

Unloading the stands.

Impressive attention to details can be seen in these stands.

Our proud and talented craftsman.

Adjusting the level of the stands.

Leveling the ground for the stands.

Anchoring the stands in the ground. A lot of pounding...

Some positions of the rocks need to be changed.

Final raking and sweeping under the stands.

Group picture time!

Stands in place and area marked out with yellow tape.

Everyone took a moment to admire the stands.

View from the corner of Taniguchi Garden.

More survey work.

The bonsai stands are now ready to display TTSBE trees to the general public.

We are happy to announce that we are one step closer to having TTSBE in Zilker Botanical Garden and our Pilot Display should be up and running within a few months.  Stay tuned...



The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2016-01-25T05:00:00Z 2016-01-25T05:00:00Z Soil sieving day 12-13-2105

Repotting season will be here sooner than we think so we want to get all our soil mix ready.  Although it started as a drizzly morning, the light rain stopped late morning and we were able to get out there to prepare the soil.  As we walked down the trail, we were greeted by this beautiful maple in its fall color.

Another magnificent Ginkgo tree.

Our friend started by doing a yoga pose - downward facing dog.

Preparing and sieving the lava rocks.

Sieving pine bark.

Our furry friend kept us company.

Equal parts of lava and pine bark mixed together with a sprinkle of fertilizer.  

The soil mixture is then stored in bins for our trees to use.

Ending this blog post with a fun picture of a dog that looks like a duck in his favorite spot.

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2015-12-14T04:45:00Z 2015-12-14T04:45:00Z TTSBE Board Meeting

What a treat to see this flowering Camellia when we gathered for our TTSBE Board meeting in December.

Front view: -

Of course I want to capture this and update our photo gallery on the website.  Once again you see our human background holders hard at work...


Some close ups of the flowers.

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. (C) The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc. 2015-12-07T04:00:00Z 2015-12-07T04:00:00Z