MV Bonsai Club

Monthly meetings are typically held on the second Saturday from 1-3 p.m. Our former meeting site, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica, is closed; plans for reopening remain uncertain at this time.

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MVBC Annual Exhibition
Saturday, July 31 and Sunday, August 1

One of Mohawk Valley Bonsai Club's biggest events of the year will be July 31st and August 1st!!!! We have been invited back again by MWPAI to participate in their annual Summer Arts Festival. Our show will be held in the Easton Pribble Room as usual. Because the preparation and execution is dependent on all of us participating, we will NOT have a regular meeting in July. 

This is huge for our Club... It is an exclusive space and exhibition and our club is noted for staging a very special Bonsai Exhibition. Upwards of 800 people attend our two-day show. Many people express interest in joining in our Club's bonsai fun. We hope each of our members will join in the work and fun to make this our best Bonsai Exhibition ever.

MEMBERS: Please contact Doug or Deverie to let them know if you will be bringing a tree for the show, or if you can staff the show Saturday or Sunday. It's important that we have this information in advance. Thanks!

So, mark the dates on your calendar. Pick your best trees and begin to tune them up including removing unneeded wire, cleaning up your trees, preparing soil surface treatment including mossing (which you may want to do last thing), cleaning pots, being sure your trees have no critters infecting them etc. 

Lets get to work!
Doug Whitfield, Club President



Our June meeting was held at the Utica Zoo

On May 8, at the Deerfield Wilderness Town Park, we had our first in-person meeting in a long time.

Thank You Mark Arpag for your review of member trees and demonstration/initial styling of our club Colorado Blue Spruce!

We also very much appreciated the trees you brought from your own collection in honor of World Bonsai Day — what a beautiful display.




 A little inspiration from the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition, February 2020 (photo C. Brown)

Sincere thanks to Mark Arpag for his wonderful and inspiring presentation and commentary. Many thanks also to D'Alessandro's Nursery for hosting our club meeting and providing a lovely 'social-distanced' space.

Mark provided commentary and advice on member trees and a tutorial on shohin display using our newly acquired shohin stand. 




D'Alessandro's Nursery, 1346 Higby Rd., Frankfort (up the road from our usual meeting location by 10 minutes or so)


Please note, the Colorado Blue Spruce demonstration by Mark Arpag has been rescheduled for April 2021.

Our annual exhibition is held in conjunction with the MWPAI Summer Art Festival each year. Sadly, this year MWPAI has cancelled this event. So we'll think about 2021 and how we can make it a fabulous show!


In the meantime, if you have any questions or tree concerns, you may contact our president, Doug Whitfield, at


Also, please take advantage of our LINKS page!


Award-winning Japanese White Pine, Pinus parviflora, at the Kokufu-ten, Tokyo, February 13,  2020 


Award-winning Japanese Quince, Chaenomeles japonica 'Chojubai,' at the Kokufu-ten, Tokyo, February 13,  2020 






New officers are:

President - Doug Whitfield

Vice Presidents - Nancy Knapp and Deverie Hunt

Treasurer - Art Doremus

Librarians - Tyler Hunt and Christian Hunt



We appreciate everyone who came to listen or participate in our November 2019 meeting/bonsai critique led by Nancy, Carl and Bill. More photos on our Facebook page >>


Thanks to everyone who attended our BONSAI 101 – Focus on Ficus 
and many thanks to Carl for his presentation


Many thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to our annual exhibition at MWPAI!





Many thanks to club members Rick, Tom, George, Ralph and Dominic for their presentations at our May 11 meeting. Check out our Facebook page for photos! >>

Members of the MV Bonsai Club are very grateful for the wonderful extended meeting with Mark Arpag on April 13! Many thanks to Mark for reviewing member trees and his most informative demonstration on our club juniper — which was ultimately taken home by lucky member Ralph Pope. More photos! >>


Mark takes a careful look at Doug Whitfield's (club president) tree and Mark with winner Ralph Pope


For our club, this is the year of the cedar — the focus will be Northern White Cedar, thuja occidentalis, pictured below. Our thanks to Art Doremus, Doug Whitfield and Carl Hoffner for their interesting and informative presentation on cedar on March 9, 2019

Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis), Lake Placid, NY, February 2019

Thank you for attending our annual exhibition at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute on June 30 and July 1, 2018

MVBC is grateful to American Bonsai Society board member Pauline Muth, from PFM Bonsai, for attending our exhibition and awarding Best of Show to our member Carl Hoffner's beautiful American Larch.

More photos >>


The Mohawk Valley Bonsai Club was invited to have a display table at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute members' opening reception for the exhibition Kimono! (June 9). We are grateful to MWPAI for this wonderful opportunity.


Some past meetings and items of interest:

Thank you Dave Alexander for your wonderful larch

Please check out the photos
on our Facebook page >>


Thank you to Rick Short for his essay "Father-Son Pairing" which accompanies December's newsletter.

Please enjoy reading it! >> 




Our thanks to Carl for his presentation on Chinese Elms! More photos >>

Thank you Carl and Doug for your juniper demonstration. Pictured below are the winners of the two demo trees: Nancy Knapp won the tree designed by Doug Whitfield; Rick and Wendy Short won the tree designed by Carl Hoffner. More photos >>

Our study group at D'Alessandro's Nursery was informative and enjoyable. Check out our photos on Facebook.


Photos from our shohin roundup meeting:


A bonsai is considered a shohin if it measures approximately 20 cm or 8 inches from the top of the pot to the top of the tree. 

The image below is from the Gafu-ten shohin exhibition which was held in Kyoto in January 2016. More shohin photos >>

Our thanks to Art Doremus for an interesting and informative presentation on insect and fungal problems — how to recognize and control them.

Reference links from the presentation:


Bill Jones workshop on windswept style junipers. More photos >>

Pre-bonsai search party at D’Alessandro’s Landscape Nursery, where we enjoyed a presentation on mugo pine by club member Doug Whitfield. More photos >>


Mark Arpag shohin demonstration and workshop

More photos >>    Videos on our Facebook page >>

(Below) January 2016; Chojubai (flowering quince) displayed in tokonoma at Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en bonsai museum in Tokyo.


(Below) January 2016; flowering Ume (Japanese apricot) displayed in tokonoma at Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en bonsai museum in Tokyo.




Browse the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum (Saitama, Japan) website: 






Mohawk Valley Bonsai Club Mission

Providing opportunities to have fun while developing skills, the Mohawk Valley Bonsai Club is a forum for learning, inspiring, building knowledge, and connecting with the greater bonsai community. 

The group first met in a park in July 2005 and has grown to include newcomers to the hobby as well as those with 20+ years of experience!


Club Officers 2020

President Doug Whitfield

Vice Presidents Nancy Knapp and Deverie Hunt  


Treasurer Art Doremus

Librarians Tyler Hunt and Christian Hunt  



"The object is not to make the tree look like a bonsai, but to make a bonsai look like a tree." — John Naka