2017 at The Hidden Gardens

• Visiting bonsai artists: Walter Pall, Owen Reich, Todd Schlafer, Mauro Stemberger, and Andy Smith (see more information below)

• Another shipment of 300 yamadori this Spring

• Beginners/Intermediate classes and Saturday Morning Bonsai (see more information below)

• Pots, wire (aluminum and annealed copper), fertilizers and the Ryuga line of tools

• Soils: Kanuma, Akadama, Aoki, pumice, lava rock and the Hidden Gardens sifted "special blend"


• Boarding

• Repotting, pruning and styling, every Saturday, at Saturday Morning Bonsai, 9am to Noon

• Bonsai classes at the Hidden Gardens!

BEGINNERS six-week class, one night/week, Tuesday, July 11, 5:30-7:00pm. Cost: $140

INTERMEDIATE six-week class, one night/week, Tuesday, July 11, 7:00-8:30pm. Cost: $120

Makes for a great gift!

SIGN-UP NOW! Call Hidden Gardens at (630) 655-8283 or email Jeff Schulz at


April 19, Walter Pall
Walter Pall doing workshop

Join us for a evening of bonsai with our friend and guest artist from Germany. Bring your own tree and get Walter's input for design.

April 19, Wednesday, 6pm to 9pm, cost $75

Sign up: Call Hidden Gardens at (630) 655-8283 or email Jeff Schulz at

June 3-4, Owen Reich

• June 3, Saturday, 9am - 4pm
Deciduous bring-your-own tree workshop, cost $90

• June 4, Sunday, 9am - 4pm
Bring-your-own tree workshop, cost $90

Sign up: Call Hidden Gardens at (630) 655-8283 or email Jeff Schulz at

Owen Reich
Owen Reich apprenticed at Kouka-en bonsai nursery in Japan and is now back in the United States. Owen is capable of working on deciduous and conifer bonsai. Owen's ideal workshop involves a room full of students worn out from information overload; not having to guess what the next step is for their bonsai.
June 24 -25, Todd Schlafer

• June 24, Saturday, 9am - 4pm
Bring-your-own tree workshop, cost $90

• June 25, Sunday, 9am - 4pm
Bring-your-own tree workshop, cost $90

Sign up: Call Hidden Gardens at (630) 655-8283 or email Jeff Schulz at

Todd Schlafer
Todd is a collector and bonsai artist from Colorado. Todd's Colorado spruce won the ABS award at the 5th National show last year.
July 7-8, MABA Show in Indianapolis

I attended this show 2 years ago and was really impressed with the quality of trees that were on display. The Hidden gardens was invited to be a vendor at this years show so we hope to see you in Indianapolis. Matt Reel from Oregon is the quest artist, great list of vendors and great bonsai on display. This should be worth the short drive to Indy.

August 5-6, Prairie State Bonsai Society Show

• August 5-6
Prairie State Bonsai Society Show at the Morton arboretum

August 18-20, Mid-America Bonsai Exhibit

• August 18-20
Mid-America Bonsai Exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Garden

October 6-8, Oktoberfest with Walter Pall
Walter Pall doing workshop

International bonsai legend, Walter Pall, second from right, continues his Bonsai Academy started at the Hidden Gardens in 2015.

Oct.6, Friday, 9:30 - 5:00 pm
Oct.7, Saturday, 9:30 - 5:00 pm
Oct.8, Sunday, 10:00 - 4:30 pm

Cost: $100/day or $270/3 days

Sign up: Call Hidden Gardens at (630) 655-8283 or email Jeff Schulz at

Participants: This is for all levels– from outright newbie to master. Yes, all in one seminar and all get something out of it and all have fun. Even accompanying mates who never thought of attending a seminar could have fun. The number can be 20 to 30 or even more folks. One can be fully active participant or observer or passive viewing participant for one, two or three days. This is recommended for undecided newbies and travel company. The status can be changed to active any time- we warn you, most do change the status quickly. If you are not sure whether you want to really do this you are invited to come as 'lurker' for 20 minutes for free and then you decide.

General philosophy: Everyone does what they want to do and how much they want to do. While Walter Pall will make it clear what he thinks should be done it is the participant who decides. The aim is to learn how to approach styling, and learn to see new ways and actually trying them out. New techniques will be taught like e.g. work on deadwood. But the emphasis is on making design decisions. So many workshops teach wiring and basic techniques. This is taken for granted in this seminar. The emphasis is on what often is not taught: bonsai as art form. It is important to know your place in bonsai which offers many different ways. Learning by doing, learning by case studies is how we reach the aims. On many different trees we discuss and practice art, craft and speak about philosophy. Basic craft like wiring is often avoided to not waste time for things which really make a big difference (while they are important, but there are many workshops to practice these).

In many traditional workshops the teacher makes the decisions for the students who do exactly what he tells them and often the teacher actually does the critical work for the student. So the students never learn how to make decisions. To practice art is to make decisions all the time. The aim of this seminar it to teach how to make the right decisions. Your trees will most of the time not be touched by the teacher in this seminar.

What's going to happen: In the morning the first participants arrive. The nursery crew and Walter can help to choose trees for the workshop. All trees that the participants brought and the chosen ones from the nurser are carried to the greenhouse.

Usually a session of general interest follows speaking about many different subjects related to bonsai. Then we go to the greenhouse. Walter starts to speak about a tree to the whole class, explain choices and then may actually do a couple of things to the tree to give an example. Then the participants form groups which choose a tree and discuss it for 15 minutes or so. Usually every group has one old timer who knows where to go. Then the speakers of the groups present the trees to the whole class. After some discussions one or more feasible options are decided. And then this will be actually done. Those who brought a tree can now decide whether they what to do the work immediately or can choose to do nothing with their tree at the moment. Whenever someone is finished the next tree is chosen to study, discuss and work on. The aim is to have many valuable case studies for leaning what usually is not taught at workshops. By presenting each tree to the whole class one learns about a couple dozen trees over the weekend compared with one normal workshops. Much more new experience and knowledge comes from that.

Generally we avoid doing craft work that is time consuming. Not that this work is not important. But we want to spend the time on things which are even more important and not taught usually.

Nobody is forced to work in a certain style. While it is well known that Jim and Walter work a lot in the Naturalistic Bonsai Style the actual style is decided by the participant – and often enough by the tree.

Once in a while Walter will speak about subjects of interest for a while.

An important part of the seminar are the social interconnections during the day and gatherings after work. Many long time friendships were built on these occasions.

Material: All active participants can bring their own trees. This can be very simple material to masterpiece. We speak about every tree in depth. The participant decides what he wants to actually do to the tree then.

In addition the nursery offers a great wealth of material that the participants can discuss and actually work on. These are mostly old to very old collected conifers like limber pine, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, Colorado blue spruce. Alpine fir, Douglas fir and others as well as some deciduous broadleaved trees There usually are 200 or more trees available to choose from. A few dozen are outright world class, many very good, all hand selected by myself. This is one of the biggest selection of this kind of trees west of the Rockies.

The 'borrowed' material can be purchased at any time, but it does not have to be purchased. The offer is that you actually do serious styling on the material and only afterwards decide whether you want it for yourself or not.

If someone does not want to participate in the seminar and is only interested in the trees you are welcome to visit the nursery to these special weekends. Sign up right away!

October 21-22 and 28-29, Mauro Stemberger

• October 21, Saturday, 9am - 4pm
Wiring workshop, cost $110

• October 22, Sunday, 9am - 4pm
Design workshop, cost $110

• October 28, Saturday, 9am - 4pm
Bring your own tree workshop, cost $110

• October 29, Sunday, 9am - 4pm
Bring your own tree workshop, cost $110

SPECIAL: All four classes for $400

Sign up: Call Hidden Gardens at (630) 655-8283 or email Jeff Schulz at

Mauro Stemberger

Italian bonsai artist Mauro Stemberger is one of the premier bonsai artists in the world. This is a great honor to have him at The Hidden Gardens.

Mauro's third visit to the Hidden Gardens will be his most ambitious. Visit the Hidden Gardens and see many of his works of art from past years. Hurry before they get sold.

November 11-12, Andy Smith

• November 11, Saturday, 9am - 4pm
Bring-your-own tree workshop, cost $90

• November 12, Sunday, 9am - 4pm
Bring-your-own tree workshop, cost $90

Sign up: Call Hidden Gardens at (630) 655-8283 or email Jeff Schulz at

Andy Smith
Andy Smith from Golden Arrow Bonsai, in Deadwood, South Dakota, is one of the finest collector of trees for bonsai in the United States. Andy's saying "if it ain't fun it ain't bonsai" describes what his workshops are like. Andy has spent many years collecting in the mountains and has a great understanding of how nature styles a tree. He will bring that artistry to his workshops.