Look for our website, coming late summer 2013!
What is the Portland Bonsai Village?
The Village is a group of bonsai professionals in the Portland, Oregon area who would like to share our backyards, our bonsai art, our teaching, and our love of community with you. Please look for our offerings such as our Tours and Passports in the upcoming Village website. Thanks for your patience! We’re very excited to invite you here to take classes with us, buy trees, or simply be inspired by the nearly 10 destinations—everything from world-class bonsai to locally made, spectacular wooden stands and pots—and we’ll make that easy for you if you sign up for a Tour. Bring your friends and make it an event!
To see some fun stories about the Village, take a look at these posts about it:
Who is a Villager?
Quite a few of us, actually, and more are coming… so far there are Michael Hagedorn and Austin Heitzman on the Portland Tours; Ryan Neil, Randy Knight, and Jan Rentenaar on the North Tours; Telperion Farms and Wee Tree on the South Tours; and a few times a year we’ll be offering Far North Tours to the Pacific Rim Collection and Dan Robinson. Matt Reel is expected back in early 2014 and is planning on coming to Portland be a Villager, after nearly 7 1/2 years as an apprentice in Japan. We’ve significant depth of experience to offer here, and we’re all doing very different things! We’ve pot-grown trees, yamadori, field-grown trees, pots, stands—and then pure inspiration from some public collections including a world renowned garden, the Portland Japanese Garden. We’re also offering an Alternative Tree Tour for the tree huggers amongst us, and that will be an easy meandering trip through the older Portland neighborhoods where we’ve located some particularly significant and old estate trees that are simply gorgeous and well-worth visiting.
Our tour guide will be the talented (and hilarious) Greg Brenden. We’ll have more about him on our website-
What Was The Inspiration For The Village?
In the 1920′s the likely very surprised villagers of Omiya, Japan came to find a couple dozen bonsai masters relocating there. This was following the massive Kanto earthquake in 1923 that leveled Tokyo. The real reason they came, however, was for the soil. Good beds of akadama were nearby, and living there relieved the difficulty of shipment. Potters used to live near good clay beds for the same reason. In any event, with so many bonsai professionals in one place Japan now had a ‘home’ for bonsai. Anyone interested in the art knew that they could find a tree or a professional service in Omiya Bonsai Village. While there was likely some competition, it helped all of them because such a large flow of customers to their town. Eventually they created a map so that visitors would know where all the nurseries were, and could walk from one to another. Although many of the nurseries are now closed, there are still a half dozen and they still have a map that you can use to locate them. Many of the most famous nurseries from mid-century are still there, the Kato nursery, the Takeyama nursery, the nursery where Hamano taught Masahiko Kimura and Shinji Suzuki is still there, now a bonsai school. Ryan and Michael are essentially recreating the situation that nurtured their teachers (Kimura and Suzuki, respectively) in forming a new Village in the United States.
And so Omiya Bonsai Village was the inspiration for Portland Bonsai Village. In Omiya you can walk from nursery to nursery, but in Portland you will need wheels, so we’ve designed the Tours so you don’t have to worry about where you’re going. We’ll take you there.