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When David Rizwan first saw a bonsai tree while searching online for plants to decorate his apartment, he thought there must be something “magical” about it. “It’s a common misconception that there’s something mysterious there,” Rizwan said of bonsai. “There is a general lack of knowledge in the public, and I was a part of […]

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Earlier this year, kusamono artist Young Choe was honored for 20 years of service to the Arboretum’s National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Choe has created and cared for the Museum’s kusamono – potted arrangements of wild grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays displayed next to bonsai – over many years. Yet, Choe’s kusamono […]

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Hoichi Kurisu has a very compelling reason to be drawn to nature: it saved his life. Kurisu was living in Hiroshima, Japan, when the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Luckily, a mountain separated his family’s home from the bombing site. “That mountain saved our lives,” he says. He was six years old at the […]

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Tony Green, the 2017 First Curator’s Apprentice, has worked in bonsai for years, but says he is always learning about new species, techniques, and teaching styles. As he begins his time at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, he is learning how to navigate not only a new city, but a new selection of bonsai […]

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A series of events led Joe Gutierrez to bonsai. The first may have been when his family moved from the Philippines to the U.S. by way of Osaka, Japan. That is where Gutierrez, then 15, saw an older man working on a miniature tree. Or perhaps it was the love of plants he inherited from […]

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Many people think of bonsai as a marriage between science and art, but few people understand that partnership better than Michael James. The Museum Specialist joined the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in 2002, first as a volunteer, then as a staff member. He brought with him not just a love of bonsai, but a […]

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A small juniper started Boon Manakitivipart on his bonsai journey. That tree – a present for his 28th birthday – has had a huge impact on his life. From there he joined the Bonsai Society of San Francisco, where he took his first beginner class in the spring of 1989. Anxious to learn as much […]

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Owen Reich first visited the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the U.S. National Arboretum in 2007. “What impressed me most was the quality and age of the trees,” he recalls. “None of the collections I had seen up to that point were as prestigious or as powerful.” A resident of Nashville who teaches bonsai creation, […]

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A photographer who specializes in portraits that are published in such high-profile news outlets as Time, Wired and The Washington Post, Stephen Voss is using that talent to create portraits of bonsai. His new book, In Training, features beautiful images of trees from the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum collection. Self-published by Voss, the book was designed by […]

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Originally from Arlington Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., Danny Coffey became interested in bonsai in his early 20’s. In the spring of 2007, he visited the U.S. National Arboretum with friends and was surprised to discover the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. “It was my first time seeing bonsai of that age and quality,” […]

3 comments / 2 votes

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