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International Bonsai Event to be held in New Orleans Botanical Garden

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Donna Banting
BCI 2009 Chairperson
bci2009@cox.net 
(504) 832-8071

                  International Bonsai Event to be held in New Orleans Botanical Garden

New Orleans, Louisiana (April 25, 2009) - International artists will visit New Orleans this summer to teach Bonsai, Penjing, Ikebana, Suiseki and Japanese Gardening during the 3-day annual symposium sponsored by Bonsai Clubs International. Tedy Boy from Indonesia, Peter Chan from Great Britain, Sandro Segneri and Massimo Bandera from Italy, Glenis and Lindsay Bebb from Australia and Nacho Marin from Venezuela top the list of international “Bonsai Masters” who will offer workshops and demonstrations. Americans Jim and Linda Brant of Pennsylvania, Richard Cranford, Guy Guidry and Dora Ross of Louisiana, Ed Trout of Florida and William N. Valavanis of New York will also be on the program.

Bonsai Clubs International is the oldest international non-profit organization of its kind and has been promoting and teaching Bonsai and the Japanese garden arts for more than 45 years. It publishes Bonsai & Stone Appreciation Magazine in English and Chinese, provides assistance and pamphlets to member organizations and individuals around the world and meets every year offering workshops, demonstrations and exhibits. In the past four years BCI met in Washington, D.C.; Shunde City (Flower World), China; San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Vincent, Aosta Valley in Italy. The last time BCI met in New Orleans was in 1985.

After Hurricane Katrina members of the BCI Board of Directors decided to show its support of New Orleans by scheduling the “International Bonsai Congress 2009 -- Survivors of the Storm,” at the New Orleans Botanical Garden. This will be the first time the Congress is held in a garden setting. BCI also negotiated with three small locally owned hotels for its members’ overnight stays and will hold the workshops and programs in the Pavilion of the Two Sisters, the Lath House and the Garden Study Center. “BCI has rented the entire Botanical Garden for three days, providing a perfect backdrop for Bonsai. Delegates are usually sequestered in the hotel to attend all of the programs during the Congress but the Garden venue provides visitors a chance to see the real New Orleans while commuting from the downtown hotels to City Park,” Mr. I-Chi Su, BCI President remarked at a planning session recently. It is also hoped that many out of town visitors will stay longer to really enjoy the City.

Locally popular plants will be used for the Bonsai demonstrations and workshops including Crape Myrtle, Bald Cypress, Boxwood, Bottle Brush and Japanese Yew. A three-part Japanese Gardening seminar will also be offered, highlighting the Botanical Garden’s small Yakumo Nihon Teien Japanese Garden. Of particular interest will be the Penjing and Miniature Landscapes to be created by Tedy Boy and Nacho Marin during the weekend.

Greater New Orleans Bonsai Society members lost their Bonsai collections during Hurricane Katrina. To provide an exhibition of Bonsai, BCI invited growers and collectors along the Gulf Coast to bring their finest trees to New Orleans. Approximately 50 “masterpiece” bonsai will be on display in the Garden throughout the event. The Botanical Garden and the exhibit are open to the general public with the usual gate admission fees. Those interested in watching demonstrations or taking workshops must be registered. Information is available at www.bci2009.com or phone 504-832-8071.

In addition to Bonsai workshops and demonstrations the program includes a Stone Appreciation forum, Bonsai and Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging) workshops for children, an Ikebana workshop for adults and the Japanese Gardening seminar. The Ikebana workshops will be taught by local members of Ikebana International, Dora Ross and Richard Cranford.

Stones often provide a complement to the display of a miniature tree or forest. However Suiseki, or the Art of Viewing Stones, can be a separate entity. Collectors of stones enjoy the natural beauty and age of those found in streams and river beds, or purchased at Bonsai exhibits around the world. While China and Japan have treasured such stones for hundreds of years, stones are only now appearing in museum exhibitions in major cities in the United States, especially on the West Coast. Clubs are being formed around the country as well, and there is even a bi-annual International Stone Exhibition held in Pennsylvania. Stone connoisseurs I-Chi Su of Taiwan and Willi Benz of Germany will lead the Stone Forum.

Photos available on request.