The Bonsai of William N. Valavanis
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Images and bonsai by William N. Valavanis
Bill became interested in bonsai and horticulture at age 11 and persued his interest by studying Ornamental Horticulture at SUNY Farmingdale and Cornell University. He has made over 40 trips to Japan and formally apprenticed with Kyuzo Murata and Kakutaro Komuro in Omiya Bonsai Village in Japan. Additionally a 30-year study and association with Yuji Yoshimura combined with his formal horticultural degrees, apprenticeships in Japan and his artistic talent provide Bill with the solid background to promote and teach Classical bonsai art around the world.
He is the proprietor of the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York where he maintains a fine personal collection of Classical bonsai. He offers introductory and advanced classes as well as seminars and symposia in Rochester, New York. He also maintains a busy teaching schedule for bonsai and horticultural organizations worldwide. In order to further promote the artistic and horticultural expression of Classical bonsai art around the world he began publishing International BONSAI magazine 28 years ago. He has authored two books and many articles published in English, Japanese and other European languages. Bill is an active member and officer of numerous local, national and international bonsai and horticultural organizations. His distinctive bonsai and displays have received many awards both in the United States and abroad. He freely shares his 40 plus years of dedicated bonsai study, experiences and discoveries with students and serious bonsai fanciers through International BONSAI and his educational bonsai programs.
Seiju elm, Ulmus parvifolia "Seiju"- Trained from a field grown cutting since 1977. When I obtained this bonsai from the introducer of this cultivar, H. Carl Young (Seiju-en Bonsai Garden in Lodi California) it was only a tall stump without any branches. During the past 26 years I have container trained this bonsai numerous branches and fine twigs have developed.
Trident maple, Acer buergerianum- Trained from a field grown seedling and now container grown for over 20 years The reddish color spring new growth is very attractive.
Rough bark Japanese maple, Acer palmatum "Ara Kawa"- Trained from a cutting rooted in 1975 and completely container grown. Another plant from the same crop of cuttings , now growing in my garden is approximately 14 feet in height with a trunk diameter of over 14 inches. This bonsai is 25 inches in height.
Dwarf Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris "RAF" " Trained from a container grown select dwarf seedling since 1980. This unusual seedling has very short needles and is easy to train, but difficult to locate since it"s introducer Richard A. Fennichia (RAF) passed away several years ago and the original seed mother plant is not definitely known.
Deshojo Japanese maple, Acer palmatum "Deshojo"- Trained from a field grown cutting for 15 years in a container.
Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia- Trained from seedlings since 1988. In summer the bright dark green foliage presents a cool feeling.
Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia " In autumn this bonsai produces a mixture of red, orange and yellow foliage. Although colorful, and most viewers enjoy the mixed colors, I personally do not like this coloring. A single color (all red OR all orange OR all yellow) would present a more quiet feeling. But I created this forest from bare-root seedlings and was not aware of the different autumnal coloring.
Loose flowering hornbeam, Carpinus laxiflora " Trained from a seedling for over 20 years in full flower. I decided to lower the long left branch to present a more asymmetrical design silhouette after I took this photograph.
Loose flowering hornbeam, Carpinus laxiflora " The Summer view presents the unusual fruit. This species is also called Red leaf hornbeam because the leaf tips and stems in spring are red.
Koto Hime Japanese maple, Acer palmatum "Koto Hime" - Mother plant-trained from a cutting completely container grown since 1970. This stock plant has produced over 10,000 cuttings and most "Koto Hime" Japanese maple bonsai in the United States are from this mother plant. Three trunks were grown to a height of three feet for propagation and they were then airlayered in 1983 to create three bonsai. All three trunks were trained into fine bonsai
Koto Hime Japanese maple, Acer palmatum "Koto Hime" " This bonsai was the smallest airlayer section from mother plant.
Koto Hime Japanese maple, Acer palmatum "Koto Hime" " This bonsai was originally the top of the tallest trunk of the mother stock plant.
Firethorn, Pyracantha coccinea- Trained from a cutting which was grown to expose the interesting roots. The white container was hand built by Thomas Dimig (South Carolina) and contrasts with the bright orange fruit, but blends in with he white spring flowers. I usually only display this bonsai in autumn.
Shishigashira Japanese maple, Acer palmatum "Shishigashira"- Trained from a five year old container grown grafted plant since 1969. Note the wire scars on the lower trunk which are now approximately 25 years old.
Silk tree or Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin- Trained from a young collected seedling from South Carolina for 15 years. In the south where this species is native, it begins to blossom in June because of the hot weather. In Upstate New York Mimosa bonsai flower in August.
Dwarf brush cherry, Eugenia myrtifolia "Compacta" " Trained from a cutting I rooted in 1969 and completely container grown in the cold Upstate New York climate. This bonsai fell off a post in 1993 and an entire new terminal had to be regrown. It now has a better taper.
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