Our History

(Below is a re-typed edition of A Brief History provided by Elizabeth Stover. The original - date unknown - contained many "flying caps", uneven ribbon flow and other indications of a manual typewriter. The article has been re-typed as written.)

A Brief History of the Buttonwood Bonsai Club

In the early 80’s an interest in Bonsai by some residents of Crystal River, Florida resulted in a series of classes in growing Bonsai by Mrs. Helen Spivey, a resident of Crystal River, at the request of the City Recreational manager, Mr. Roy Williams, sponsored by the city.

At the end of these classes Mrs. Spivey attempted to start a club and early in ’8l she called together a small group to start the ball rolling. With attendance of five and some lengthy discussion it was decided to meet again in a month. This continued through the summer, gradually adding to the number attending and, in October, at an Art Exhibit a few Bonsai Trees were shown and serious recruiting of new members was begun.

From this small beginning a nucleus was formed for organizing a club. The original five - - Helen Spivey, Evelyn Hoag, Evelyn Stonesifer, Mary Joe Overbay and Elizabeth Stover were now joined by eight new enthusiasts, and we organized by promptly appointing officers as follows: President – Elizabeth Stover; Vice President – John Lettow; Secretary – Lana Nichols; Program Chairman – Helen Spivey.

Our next meeting was in January (December was omitted because of holiday activities) and at this meeting many phases of club activities and organization were discussed. The club was named The Buttonwood Bonsai Club and we had eleven paid members at the annual fee of $10.00, and several months later we became a member of the Florida Bonsai Society.

Regular monthly meetings were now held under the sponsorship of the city, in the old Crystal River Depot. This city sponsorship was indeed one of great value to us in several ways - - we had a good meeting place for our thing, and, having their backing gave confidence and interest to people considering membership. It smoothed the way very definitely.

By the end of ’82 we had 25 members. The dues were raised to $12.00 annually and $18.00 for two people in the same household. Also the meeting day was changed by request of the members to Saturday.

During these months members gave talks and potting demonstrations at area Garden Clubs and exhibitions at the Art Festivals of members trees - - all this to stimulate interest and recruit members. To fan the flame of interest required plenty of effort and work by involved members but was interesting and worthwhile.

In ’83 new officers were installed as follows:

President – David Stokes
Vice President – John Lettow
Treasurer – Dorthy Yonusaitis
Secretary – Muriel Myers
Program Chairman – Jack Laut
Ways & Means Committee – Elaine Peters
Refreshment Committee – Evelyn Stonesifer
Librarian – Elizabeth Stover

All officers and ex-officers are board members, and Roy Williams is also a board member. Another change in meeting date was made to the third Wednesday of each month. These date changes have been made to find out what the most convenient day is for the majority. This is no easy matter to decide. No regular meetings are held in July and August. However, members have a “get-together” at one or another member’s home.

Here is a good place to mention four important programs we have had. These were other than by our own members.

Cliff Pottberg gave us a series of classes on potting and styling Bonsai, each member did a tree – an evergreen. Cliff also gave us much help and information on getting under way and forming the club.

Linda Mayben, a willing and valuable aid at several meetings and at one meeting gave a program on styling a Black Olive into a beautiful Bonsai, belonging to one of the members.

Marion Borchers presented a Shohin Program that was absolutely fantastic and instructive.

Terry Davis showed a very informative talk on Azaleas as Bonsai.

We have also had numerous field trips gathering native trees. These have been most successful and certainly stimulates interest. Collected trees have been Cypress, Cedars, Junipers, Sparkleberry, Hawthorn, Maples and more!

In ’84 a new slate of officers was elected:

President – Elaine Peters
Vice President – Elizabeth Stover
Treasurer – Dorthy Younusaitis
Secretary – Virginia Smith
Program Committee Chairman – Evelyn Hoag
Refreshment Committee Chairman – Evelyn Stonesifer
Show & Exhibition Committee Chairman – David Stokes
Ways & Means Committee – Sofie Jablonski
Kenneth Peters – Set up for meetings and all around helper whom we could not do without

Again a change in meeting day - - third Friday of the month. We hope this will be final and meet the need best. The City of Crystal River is still sponsoring the Club, however, beginning this season there is a nominal fee for the use of the hall.

Our next season begins in September with high hopes of much progress - - this must be a banner year. At this time we have been learning mostly by trial and error but a good supporting membership it has also been rewarding as well as work. An active and cooperative membership has brought us this far and it is only the beginning. We want to make the Buttonwood Bonsai Club worthy of the hobby of growing Bonsai trees.

This is a very “factual” history of our Club. And if anyone wants to write it up more interestingly, incorporating this history, they are most welcome to do so.

Respectfully submitted,
Elizabeth B. Stover