(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 80s 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 members 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
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
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.
Elizabeth B. Stover