40th Annual Mid-America Bonsai Exhibition

August 18, 2017 - Noon to 5PM
August 19 and 20, 2017 - 9AM to 5PM

Guest Master Kathy Shaner  |  Demonstration  |  Workshops  |  Vendors  |  Dinner and Raffle  |  Tree Registration

August 2013 Best of Show & 1st Place Professional

Our August Exhibition has the longest history, going into its 40th year in 2017. It is one of the largest regional shows in the nation. Centered on the Chicago Botanic Garden's Permanent Collection, featuring over 50 world-class trees, it’s a showplace of trees from across the Midwest and beyond. Enthusiasts from across the country bring their trees to be judged in the main hall at the Garden's Regenstein Center.

Visitors can take advantage of hotel discounts arranged by the Chicago Botanic Garden.  When making reservations tell the hotel you are in town to attend an event at the Garden. Suggested hotel accommodations can be found at the Chicago Botanic Garden's website.

Admission to the exhibit is free.  Parking fees for entrance to the Chicago Botanic Garden apply.  As always, Chicago Botanic Garden members park for free.


Guest Master - Kathy Shaner

Kathy resides in California and is returning to the Exhibition as the Guest Judge for the 40th Annual Exhibition. She is the first non-Japanese citizen to be given the title of “Bonsai Master” by the Nippon Bonsai Association of Japan, which requires a five-year internship in Japan. She embarked on that journey more than a quarter-century ago, not knowing a single word of Japanese.

It took persistence, but when Shaner sought out a master to apprentice under, it eventually panned out. She met with bonsai master Yasuo Mitsuya, who accepted her the same day he met her and asked her to come to Japan later that week.

Almost instantaneously, Shaner’s life changed drastically. She took trips back to visit her husband in the U.S. every few months, but mostly, she was immersed in bonsai, trying to simultaneously learn the techniques, the culture, and the language. Oftentimes, that involved having to stay one step ahead of her teacher.

After returning to the US from her studies she has continued to practice her craft and if possible, improve her skills.

Bonsai Demonstration

Saturday, August 19th, 1 PM to 4PM – Alsdorf Auditorium, Regenstein Center


Guest Master Kathy Shaner of California will demonstrate Bonsai styling on the Lodgepole Pine pictured here.  The tree is one that was collected by Andy Smith of South Dakota.  Kathy is one of the premier Bonsai masters in North America.  The tree will be raffled off at the Saturday night informal dinner at the Takiff Center in Glencoe, IL.  It will be a beautiful addition to someone’s Bonsai collection.


All workshops are $50.00 with the following exceptions.  The Children’s workshops on Saturday and Sunday afternoon have a cost of only $10.00.  The Exhibition Critique on Friday evening has a cost of $20.00.  The dinner and auction on Saturday evening has a cost of $10.00.  On-line registration is available through the links below.  Material fees for trees are paid to the Vendor at the time of the workshop.  Except for the Children’s workshop please bring your own tools and some wire.

Cancellation Policy: Workshop cancellations five (5) working days in advance are fully refundable.  Cancellations of less than five (5) working days are 50% refundable.  No refunds are made for failure to attend on the day of the workshop.  Contact us for more information.


American Bonsai Society

Dan Turner will host the ABS Book table featuring books and educational materials.  www.absbonsai.org

Asian Artiques

Kristy Majeske from Hot Springs, AR will be joining us.  She is bringing a selection of antique Japanese Scroll paintings and a selection of smaller scrolls suitable for display with Bonsai trees.  Her boot was very popular at the May Exhibition.

BC Bonsai

Local grower of Bonsai starter stock grown at their nursery.  Grown without grafting they have both container and field grown trees.  Linda Camp and Jim Beck also offer Bonsai supplies and classes.    www.bcbonsai.com

Bonsai by Fields

Mark Fields is a noted Bonsai artist.  His nursery is located in Greenwood, IN.  Mark workshops, lectures and demonstrations.  We welcome his return and the workshop he will be leading.  For more information check out his website at www.bonsaibyfields.com.

Cass Bonsai

From Edwardsville, IL, the Cass brothers offer an excellent selection of Bonsai trees and supplies.  They have been a constant presence at the Midwest Bonsai Exhibitions for many years.  We are delighted to have them back.  Brian is also a noted Bonsai artist.  www.cassbonsaigardens.com

Da Su Bonsai

Dave Lowman operates DaSu Bonsai Studios on his 800 acre farm in central Iowa.  He provides workshops, demonstrations and classes on Bonsai. Dave started in Bonsai in 1981 and has been coming to Chicago for our Exhibition for many years.  www.bonsaitrees.com

First Branch Bonsai

R. Schlafer from Colorado is appearing for the first time at a Midwest Bonsai Exhibition.  We are looking forward to seeing his collected North American trees in August. www.firstbranchbonsai.com

Fred Tarnow Pottery

Fred is a Midwest Bonsai member who offers his pottery for your pleasure.  Fred is also an expert on Suiseki stones.  Occasionally he can be persuaded to part with one his stones.  Fred will also be managing a table of Bonsai stands for sale from the collection of Bonsai Master Ivan Watters.

Flower Market

Kurt Smith of Michigan’s largest Bonsai Nursery is returning to our Exhibition.  Located in Monroe. Michigan the Flower Market has been providing Bonsai and pre-Bonsai trees for many years.  www.flowermarketdundee.com

Golden Arrow Bonsai

Andy Smith, from Deadwood, SD will once again bring his amazing collected conifers.  Andy is a noted collector, Bonsai artist and author.  You will find his articles on the ABS magazine and the BCI magazine.  www.goldenarrowbonsai.com

Hidden Gardens


Chicago’s own Jeff Schultz from Hidden Gardens will be displaying Bonsai trees.  He will be partnering with Owen Reich to present a workshop.  Check out his site at:  www.hiddengarden.net

International Bonsai


Bill Valavanis has been supporting our August Exhibition since it began.  He is a noted Bonsai Artist and vendor of Bonsai trees and supplies.  Bill also publishes International Bonsai magazine and hosts the US National Bonsai Exhibition in even numbered years in Rochester, NY.  www.internationalbonsai.com

Linda Ippel Studios


Linda Ipell of Grand Rapids Michigan makes her first appearance at our Exhibition.  After years of making beautiful pottery Linda has decided to branch out into the world of Bonsai Pottery.  We look forward to seeing her work.  www.lindaippelstudios.com

Literati Designs

Steve is returning with his collection of beautifully styled Bonsai trees.  He is a regular at the Exhibition and we are delighted to have him back.

Meehan’s Miniatures

Martha and Hugh own and operate Meehan’s Nursery in Maryland.  They operate a home grown nursery specializing in Bonsai and rare plant material.  Martha also conducts interesting workshops for all skill levels.  www.meehansminiatures.com

Nature’s Way



Jim Doyle of Nature’s Way Nursery in Harrisburg, PA will be bringing his stock of trees and his expertise.  Jim teaches and demonstrates Bonsai in the US, Canada and Europe.  www.natureswaybonsai.com

Nitju Clayworks

Nitju Clayworksfrom Pennsylvania returns to the Exhibition.  Nitju’s beautiful Bonsai pottery is a welcome addition. www.nitju.com

Sara Rayner Pottery

Sara Rayner has become one of America’s premier Bonsai potters.  She will be bring her winter’s work down from Red Wing, MN in August.  She has been making hand thrown Bonsai pots for the past 16 years.  www.redwing.net/~daalms

Tandamiti Bonsai

Hank Miller brings his selection of Bonsai trees and unique stands to Chicago.  He has been working on creating and teaching Bonsai with a focus on tropical and deciduous trees.  He is also a skilled wood worker and has a unique collection of stands.  www.tandamiti.com

Wildwood Gardens


Welcome back again to Frank Mihalic from Chardon, OH.  Frank and his father Tony have made Wildwood into a thriving Bonsai business.    In addition to the amazing variety of Bonsai trees and accent plant offered he is also a gifted teacher.  This year Frank will be leading two classes to assist children in creating a Bonsai.  At our May Exhibition this was our most popular workshop.  www.wildwoodgardens.com

Dinner and Auction

Tree Registration

The August Exhibition is open to tree registrations in four classes, Non-Judged, Novice, Open and Professional.  No residency or membership is required, and tree registration is open to all.  Check back soon for details on the tree registration.

Please note: Due to the proliferation of Boxwood Blight and the Chicago Botanic Garden policy of denying the entry of all Boxwood trees to the Botanic Garden, no Boxwoods will be allowed in the show.  Please see our dedicated page on Boxwood Blight for more information.