2016 Potomac Bonsai Festival

Each year in May the Potomac Bonsai Association puts on a spring event at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington DC. 3 Days of bonsai fun in the Nations Capital.  A unique bonsai event that offers visitors plenty of bonsai experience as well as the chance to take in all of the wonderful sights throughout the National Arboretum.

This year’s event was scheduled to coincide with World Bonsai Day. An annual event that celebrates bonsai’s power to promote friendships, unity and peace, world wide, based on the beliefs of bonsai Master Saburo Kato.

Additionally we celebrated the release of ‘In Training’ a bonsai photo book by DC based photographer Stephen Voss.  Last year I wrote about the project and was very excited to see the final result.  A beautiful book worthy of a place in every collectors bonsai library.  Get one.

I’ve got some photos to share from the event.

View from the path leading up to the museum entrance.  That white pine is looking nice.


The entrance to the museum looks better with each passing year.  Check out the slant on that old black pine!  Also, several members of the DC Kimono Club spent time around the museum during the event.  Here, one of the members is greeting visitors as they enter the museum.  It really gave the place a nice Japanese feeling, the type of scene you’d expect to witness on tour in Kyoto.


Gate leading to the museum courtyard.  Packed house!


Entrance display, looking sharp as usual.


On the right, Kazumi Wilds, Illustrator of the children’s book ‘The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: A Little Bonsai with a Big Story’ by author Sandra Moore.


The famous Yamaki Pine.  Always in the spotlight.


More shots from the museum courtyard.




Kimono Club Members



2016 Bonsai Museum Intern, Aaron Hughes.  Keeping the trees happy.


In the Yoshimura Center, a few of the local enthusiasts hatching plans for the future of this dawn redwood.


Out on the lawn, members from several of the PBA clubs offer advice and assistance to new bonsai enthusiasts from the area.




The vendor tent was packed as usual.  I love to see real life, face to face bonsai commerce in action!






Stephen Voss was set up in the vending area autographing copies of ‘In Training’

Stephen Voss and myself, in the vendor tent.

Stephen Voss and myself, in the vendor tent.

Prints from ‘In Training’ on display In the Special Exhibits wing of the International Pavilion.





Also in the International Pavilion, a special World Bonsai Day display in honor of Saburo Kato.  His famous Ezo Spruce, brought to the United States as a gift to Bill Clinton, during his time as President, from Japan’s Prime Minister.






Beautiful Tree!

Additionally, I did a volunteer demo for World Bonsai Day.  This was my 4th consecutive year doing a demonstration for this event.  Even while living in Japan, I scheduled my visits home to coincide with World Bonsai Day at the museum.  This year, I decided to try something new by doing a ‘Teaching Demo’.  4 volunteers were selected from the audience who had zero previous experience with bonsai, gave them a quick lesson, and let them try their hand at bonsai.  Meanwhile, I answered questions from audience members, talked about some of the key points of bonsai basics and told a few bonsai stories.    Fun demo!


Alright folks, I’m all out of photos.  Before I wrap this one up, I’d like to send out a big round of applause to the Curator of the Museum, Jack Sustic and his crew, for all of the hard work that goes into preparing the museum for events like this and to keep it looking so incredible year round. Also to the NBF, the Arboretum staff and to the PBA and all of its members, for doing so much to make events like this happen.

Until next time… (sometime sooner than last time)