Michael James, Museum Specialist. Photo by Mike Collela.
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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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Danny Coffey
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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,” [...]

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How many people have the opportunity to help repot the most famous bonsai in the world? Chris Baker had the opportunity to work on John Naka’s famous “Goshin” and many other trees when he volunteered and, later, interned at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, under the guidance of curator Jack Sustic. That extraordinary training [...]

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Aarin Packard, curator of the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Seattle.
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During his eight years as Assistant Curator of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, Aarin Packard had the opportunity not only to care for trees in the national collection, but to learn what it takes to manage a public bonsai collection. Those skills have served him well in his new position as Curator of Seattle’s [...]

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Garden through the gate
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The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt By Joe Byrd Director, The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) in Oakland, California, is one of the largest and finest collections of bonsai on the West Coast. Approximately 90 bonsai and suisuki viewing stones are on display at any given time. Bonsai lovers come [...]

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For nearly 90 years, Jess Thompson has been drawn to trees. Her favorite childhood memories are of tea parties among the roots of the washed beech trees in the small village in Scotland where she lived on the River Clyde. In her 20s, she took bonsai classes at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Today, Thompson finds joy in the [...]

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Ted Tsukiyama, who recently celebrated his 95th birthday, has long been a leader of the national and international bonsai community. During World War II, he served in the Military Intelligence Service, assigned to the U.S. 10th Army Air Force in India and Burma. He was the first person of Japanese ancestry to graduate from Yale [...]

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