Portland’s Version of Omiya Bonsai Village…

Something I’m very excited about these days is the beginning of a fledgling professional bonsai community here in Portland, Oregon, which is just stretching its wings. In addition to myself we have Ryan Neil who came back from Japan in 2010 and has already made a spectacular start with headlining at the Noelanders event in Belgium, has taught in Italy, and—I’m happy to report—has settled in the Portland area. When we were apprentices in Japan we joked one night on the phone about creating an Omiya village in Portland, after our terms of indentured servitude were finished. I think after talking we both pondered that a bit, and found it to be not such a dumb idea.

And it appears to be happening: Matt Reel will also be joining us in a year or so, following his almost 5 years now with Shinji Suzuki. We will have several bonsai artists in one city who’ve done significant time in Japan under a couple of its finest masters, Masahiko Kimura and Shinji Suzuki, working together to create a viable professional community and outreach. We hope you’ll stay tuned for the events we will have in the near future! It’s going to be an exciting future here in Portland… and we hope you’ll come visit, and return—

Below are some photos of our ‘traveling’ version of the Portland Bonsai Village… I think Ryan and I figured out that the next three years has us headlining at a convention together at least once a year. Next one: PNBA in Seattle this September!

Left to Right: Peter Warren (our English bloke), Ryan Neil, and Michael Hagedorn at GSBF 2010.

GSBF 2010: Ryan Neil demonstrating on a Rocky Mountain juniper; Michael Hagedorn assisted by Peter Tea on an Ezo spruce.

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  1. Albert Ward says:

    pure genius! I love it. Iam very eager to relocate from sunny california now..

    • Al Polito says:

      @Albert, as a fellow Albert and former Californian, I can tell you you’ll enjoy doing bonsai here. We have a much tastier array of species to work with and our Japanese maples don’t get singed leaf tips.

  2. Al Polito says:

    And what would an Omiya be without its suppliers? The outlying areas around Portland (home to the nation’s nursery growing industry) have some outstanding suppliers of bonsai stock and pots: Oregon Bonsai (Randy Knight), who offers some of the finest collected material available in the world; Telperion Farms, which grows great black pines, quince, larch and other species; and Wee Tree Farm down in Philomath. And we have smaller suppliers like Apex Bonsai and Daybreak Gardens close by too.

    We’re really fortunate here!

  3. Jeremiah Lee says:

    Hmmm… possiblity of some type of joint school for Bonsai, learning from you, Ryan and Matt? Sounds like a plan! I’m very happy to see the PBV(Portland Bonsai Village) take shape in future years. Also very exciting to see several young American’s start their apprenticship!

  4. Dale Brock says:

    What is going on in Portland is wonderful! The US has needed some revival in the bonsai world. I hope the new injection of highly trained bonsaist, along with the established bonsaist, can reach out and enc becauseourage new interest. I think bonsai struggles because the horticulture aspect is challenging and people new to bonsai get frustrated because we have a lot of poor Information and technique out there. Here is the real challenge; you guys to bring out good information and technique to US bonsai to stop all the poor practices that have been thrown into common practice.

  5. Ed Trout says:

    This is a monumental step IMHO towards where we should be heading in American bonsai. Keep up the great work guys & keep “paying it forward”!

    Ed Trout

  1. […] his apprenticeship Ryan returned to Oregon to form his own studio, Bonsai Mirai, and co-found the Portland Bonsai Village. Ryan’s knowledge of Bonsai is in no way limited, but if you want to study with Ryan you want […]

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