Midwest Bonsai Society 15th Annual May Bonsai Exhibit

May 11-12, 2019


A newer tradition for the Midwest Bonsai Society is the May Bonsai Exhibit. Started in 2004, the show is smaller than the August Bonsai Exhibition but is well worth the trip to view the displays of trees. The Garden Bonsai trees will be displayed in the two courtyards. Vendors will offer an amazing selection of trees, accent plants, pots, stands, tools and Bonsai books and literature. There will also be workshops, including a children’s workshop, and bonsai demonstrations.

The May Exhibit is held in the Burnstein Hall of the Regenstein Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The theme of the show is education. Members are invited to bring trees in various stages of training, accompanied by explanations of what processes are being used.

There is no fee to attend, but regular parking rates apply for entry into the Chicago Botanic Garden.



All workshops are $50.00 (except the Children’s Workshop for which there is only a fee of $10.00). Material fees are paid to the vendor at the time of the workshop.  Signup online, securely, using the link included with each Workshop. Workshops are held at different locations around the Garden. Please review the Chicago Botanic Garden map for location details.



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 teach classes and also offer Bonsai supplies.  www.bcbonsai.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 shows for many year.  We are delighted to have them back.  Brian is also a noted Bonsai artist.  www.cassbonsaigardens.com


Fred Tarnow Pottery

Fred is one two Midwest Bonsai members with displays at the May show.  He 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.


The Hidden Gardens

Chicago’s own Jeff Schultz from The Hidden Gardens will be displaying Bonsai trees. www.hiddengarden.net


Karen Schuman Pottery

Karen is the second Midwest Bonsai member showing her work at the May show.  She has been creating beautiful Bonsai pots of various sizes, shapes, textures and colors for many years.  We just wish she had time to make a lot more pots.

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Midwest Bonsai Society


The Midwest Bonsai Society will have a table dedicated to helping new Bonsai owners and current Bonsai owners.  It will offer advice on care and maintenance of Bonsai Trees. www.midwestbonsai.org


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 is conducting Children’s Bonsai workshops on Sat. and Sun. afternoons.   www.wildwoodgardens.com



Bonsai Demonstration

When: Saturday May 11th, 11AM to 3PM
Where: Regenstein Center - Burnstein Hall

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Chris Baker, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s curator of bonsai; Jack Sustic, retired bonsai curator at the United States National Arboretum; and Garden bonsai volunteers demonstrate a forest slab planting and bonsai tree styling in Burnstein Hall from 11AM to 3PM At 1:30PM, Chris Baker leads a tour of the Bonsai Collection. Spring-blooming highlights in the collection may include wisteria, crabapple, and azalea.

More information at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s website

Volunteers Wanted!

The success of the May Exhibit hinges on the countless volunteers who dedicate some or all of their weekend to the smooth operation of the Exhibit. We’re always in need of more volunteers across a number of areas:

  • Exhibit setup

  • Vendor unloading

  • Tree Registration

  • Membership Sales and general Exhibit information

  • Exhibit Docents (answer general Bonsai questions, ensure safety of the show and the trees)

  • Children’s Workshop Helpers

  • Exhibit tear-down and vendor load-out

All are welcome to volunteer, irrespective of skill-level or Society membership tenure. To make volunteering easy, sign-up using Eventbrite.

Tree Registration

Tree registration is open to all, irregardless of residency, membership, or skill.  The May Exhibition is focused on trees in training, and we encourage all members of the Bonsai community to show their trees.  There is no cost to enter this non-judged Exhibition.

Trees can be registered between 12PM noon and 7PM on Friday May 10th (the day before the show).  Check back closer to the show for the tree registration form.

Please remember that no Boxwoods will be allowed in the show as they are banned from the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Additionally, please remember to water your trees thoroughly before registering them for the exhibit, though trees will be spot-watered throughout the weekend.