Excellence In Bonsai

The LSBF Recognition Program is designed to acknowledge excellence in bonsai achievement in our LSBF exhibits. These recognized examples will continue to elevate the art of bonsai as they are permanently posted to the LSBF gallery. This program is one method by which the LSBF Board accomplishes its mission of elevating the art of bonsai in Texas.

The first certificates were awarded in the 2012 LSBF Convention in Dallas, Texas, by the President of the Lone Star Bonsai Federation, Jay Nolen from San Antonio clubs. Michael Hagedorn, Ryan Neil, and Kathy Shaner were the artistic judges. In 2013 at the LSBF Convention in New Braunfels, Texas, hosted by Austin and San Antonio, 5 more certificates were awarded in bonsai by Jay. Trees were judged by convention guest artists Dan Robertson and Colin Lewis.

Winning trees are featured in the permanent “Excellence in Bonsai” gallery of the LSBF Website. All future winning trees will be added to the gallery as inspiration to newcomers in the art.

Future of the Program:
The Program is designed to be dynamic in nature; that is, it will not be the same every year. Changes can occur to enhance the future of the program as bonsai emphasis in the LSBF community evolve. The various recognition categories can be changed or added to emphasize a particular aspect of the bonsai art. For example, a category can be added for “Best Traditional Display” to emphasize the study of traditional bonsai display throughout the organization to be put to practical use at the designated convention exhibition. Other example categories that could be emphasized at one or another LSBF exhibitions include: “Best Literati Style”, “Best Shohin Display”, “Best Root-over-Rock Style”, “Best Forest Planting”, “Best Saikei”, “Best Texas Display”, and etc. Due to the lengthy preparation time for the bonsai art, the LSBF Board will designate the categories for future convention or seminar exhibitions no less than 2 years in advance and will strive for 3-4 years notice. Categories for each future exhibition will be listed on this website and announced in the LSBF Newsletter.

It is the hope of the Board that this recognition will become a sought after award and thereby raise the level of the bonsai art in our organization.


Current year and upcoming year categories and rules will be posted on this website. Rules may vary from year to year as the program matures.


The LSBF Recognition Program is to acknowledge excellence in bonsai in our Federation. These examples will elevate the art of bonsai as they are posted to the LSBF permanent gallery.
Conifer: junipers, pines, etc.
Tropical and Semi-Tropical: Ficus, raintree, crape myrtle, etc.
Deciduous: maples, elms, oaks, etc.
Broadleaf Evergreen: boxwoods, hollies, yaupons, azaleas, etc.
Texas Native: Ashe Juniper, Texas Ebony, Cedar Elm, various oaks, etc.
Shohin-New LSBF Category for 2018 Any variety of bonsai, 8″ or less, can be part of a shohin style display.
Hosting Club’s Category for 2018: Group or Forest Planting
2018 LSBF Convention in Houston, Hosting Club’s Category: Shohin Display
Best of Show: Best example of bonsai art from winners of above categories.


  1. Any LSBF member may submit 1 tree to the exhibition. The hosting club will decide if more than one tree can be submitted per member.
  2. The hosting club shall have final say on which trees will be shown in an exhibition. Quality of tree and availability of space will be major considerations.
  3. Recognition Certificates will be awarded to each winning tree owner by the LSBF Board according to the categories listed above. No monetary or other prizes are offered.
  4. The tree must enter a single, specific category as decided by the owner. Example: A crape myrtle tree may not be in both the semi-tropical category and the deciduous category.
  5. All recognition certificates may not be awarded if the trees in a specific category do not rise to meet an exemplary bonsai status, particularly if there are only 3 trees or less in that category. Example: Just because there is only one tree in a category does not mean that it will automatically receive a recognition certificate.
  6. Because a category for ‘display’ does not exist at this time, any single tree in a multiple tree display is eligible for a recognition certificate.
  7. Honorable Mention Certificates may be awarded.
  8. Judging shall be done by visiting artists or anyone else outside of LSBF as selected by the LSBF President or the LSBF Board.
  9. Judging criteria will be left up to the judges, but shall include basic principles such as root structure, trunk, branching, foliage, overall styling, pot selection, position in pot, and health of the tree, as is good and common bonsai practice.
  10. Previous LSBF winning trees shall not be eligible for recognition certificates.
  11. Upon submitting a tree to the exhibition, the tree owner agrees to these rules as stated and to allow image reproduction of the tree to be published by the hosting club and/or the Lone Star Bonsai Federation. 

Excellence in Bonsai Winners for 2015

Best in Show-Procumbens Juniper-Mark Bynum, Ft. Worth Bonsai Society

Best-in-Show: Procumbens Juniper

Mark Bynum (Ft. Worth Bonsai Society)


Honorable Mention 1-Buttonwood-Hurley Johnson-Houston Bonsai Society

Honorable-Mention-1: Buttonwood

Hurley Johnson (Houston Bonsai Society)


Honorable Mention 2-Shohin display with Chinese Elm-Hoe Chuah and Sooncheng Chuah-Houston Bonsai Society

Honorable-Mention-2: Shohin display with Chinese Elm

Hoe Chuah and Sooncheng Chuah (Houston Bonsai Society)


Excellence in Bonsai Winners for 2014


Excellence in Bonsai Winners for 2013


Excellence in Bonsai Winners for 2012