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Kusamono Artist
Young Choe

Young Choe studied traditional art – ink painting and calligraphy – in her native Korea before she moved to the United States. While volunteering at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, she was able to bring her artistic talent together with her knowledge of horticulture to create kusamono.

She traveled to Japan to study this unique art form with the master kusamono artist, Keiko Yamane.


Many of Young’s plantings can be viewed daily in the museum’s bonsai pavilions. In the world outside the Museum, she works with native plants at the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, National Plant Materials Center in Beltsville, Maryland.

Featured Ceramic Artists


Ron Lang is a ceramic artist who has headed the Ceramics program at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore since 1979. For most of his professional career, he has created sculptural forms with narrative themes. In his more recent work, he returns to the functional form, uniting his interest and 25-year experience in the art of bonsai with his ceramic sensibilities. He organized and curated the groundbreaking exhibition Bonsai inSites that featured collaborative works between ceramic artists and bonsai artists. The exhibition in 2003 at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum tested the boundaries of the traditionalists.

Sharon Edwards-Russell has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She taught ceramics and foundation level courses at Anne Arundel Community College for twenty years and is currently working for the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in the Graphic Design Department. She and her husband Ron Lang have built a wood-firing kiln at their home in Pennsylvania where they producing ceramics for bonsai, kusamono plantings, and viewing stone displays.

The Art of Kusamono

July 14-22, 2007

Kusamono are potted arrangements of wild grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays. The name is composed of two Japanese characters: “grass” and “thing.” Originally, this name referred to the small, potted grasses displayed with bonsai as companion plants.

More recently, kusamono has developed into an art form of its own. A well-chosen kusamono reflects the season in which it is displayed. Some compositions are designed to include plants that will look good in several seasons. Besides the season, a kusamono should suggest a specific natural habitat--such as a wetland, meadow or woodland. Whether using a single plant or a group of plants, there are three basic styles of planting: moss-ball, out-of-pot, or in a container.

This exhibit features plant compositions designed by Young Choe and containers created by ceramic artists Ron Lang and his wife, Sharon Edwards-Russell. (see bios at left )



Allium virgunculae — Dwarf onion


Japanese Display Stand (listed from the top)
Masdevallia ‘Snowbird’ — Terrestrial orchid
Hatiora salicornioides — Drunkard’s dream
Eleocharis montavideus — Dwarf rush
Armeria maritima ‘Rubrifolia’ — Sea pink
Trifolium sp. — Clover
Sedum sp. — Sedum


Armeria 'Little Penny' — Miniature sea thrift
Equisetum scirpoides — Dwarf horsetail


Hosta variegate — 'Cat's Eye' Dwarf hosta
Ophiopogon chingii — Twisted mondo grass


Panicum sp. — Dwarf switch grass


Thalictrum kiusianum — Dwarf meadow rue
 

Ledebouria cooperi — Cooper's squill
 

Carex pennsylvanica — Pennsylvania sedge
Lobelia cardinalis — Cardinal flower
Sedum sp. — Sedum
 

Gaultheria procumbens — Wintergreen
Pleioblastus distichus 'Mini' — Jade mountain bamboo
 

Carex bergrenii — Caramel carpet sedge
Campanula punctata — Bellflower
Astilbe chinensis var. pumila — Dwarf astilbe
 

Miscanthus sinensis — Japanese silver grass
Thalictrum kiusianum — Dwarf meadow rue
Dianthus deltoides — 'Zing Rose' Carnation
 

Monarda sp. — Horsemint
 

Erodium manescavii — Storksbill
 

Eleocharis montavideus — Dwarf rush
 

Imperata cylindrica — Japanese blood grass
Hosta sp. — Dwarf hosta
Pinellia ternate — Pinellia
 

Pelargonium 'Vancouver Centennial' — Geranium
 

Pteris cretica 'Albolineata' — Variegated Cretan Brake Fern
Selaginella sp. — Club moss
Dryopteris sp. — Fern
 

Astilbe japonica 'Queen of Holland' — Astilbe
Cynodon daetylon — Bermuda grass
 

Juncus effusus — Twisted rush
Juncus sp. — Rush
Equisetum scirpoides — Dwarf horsetail
Scutellaria sp. — Skullcap
 

Equisetum scirpoides — Dwarf horsetail
 

Houttuynia cordata — Water chameleon
Equisetum hyemale — Horsetail
Selaginella rupestre — Spike moss
 

Carex pennsylvanica — Oak sedge
Lobelia cardinalis — Cardinal flower
Sedum sp. — Sedum
 

Phragmites australis 'Aurea' — Golden Reed
Villarsia sp. — Erect marsh flower
 

Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah' — Switch grass
Penstemon sp. — Beard's tongue
Aegopodium podagraria — Bishop's weed
 

Panicum sp. — Dwarf switch grass
 

Juncus sp. — Rush
Viola sp. — Violet   
Lamiaceae sp. — Mint
 

Equisetum scirpoides — Dwarf horsetail
Hosta sp. — Dwarf hosta
Juncus sp. — Rush
 

Monarda sp. — Horsemint
 

Juncus effusus — Twisted rush
Juncus sp. — Rush
Equisetum scirpoides — Dwarf horsetail
Scutellaria sp. — Skullcap
 

Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah' — Switch grass
Penstemon sp. — Beard's tongue
Aegopodium podagraria — Bishop's weed
 

Cyperus alternifolius — Dwarf papyrus
Equisetum sonpoides — Dwarf horsetail
Carex 'Little Midge' — Dwarf sedge
 

Salvia 'Rhea' — Salvia
Schizachyrium scoparium — Blue stem
Carex glauca — Blue sedge
 

Schizachyrium scoparium 'Blaze' — Blue stem
Selaginella sp. — Club moss
 

Pennisetum alopecuroides — Fountain grass
 

Panicum virgatum 'North Wind' — Switch grass
Baptisia australis — Blue false indigo
Lespedeza — Bush clover
Salvia sp. — Salvia
 

Vicia villosa — Winter vetch
   
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© 2006, National Bonsai Foundation
Supporting the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the U.S. National Arboretum - contact2007@bonsai-nbf.org