Garden Tour: Bobby Curttright
This is the first in a series of posts about the gardens of my former apprentices. First up, Bobby Curttright, with me from 2013-2016. His bonsai garden is on the eastern edge of Portland, not far from the snow-capped Cascade Range.
Enjoy the photo essay!
The first thing that hits you about Bobby’s garden is the unique sensory experience. Objects are chosen for their integral beauty: wood, metal, ceramic. The workshop is lined with slabs of stained Douglas fir, the bark still attached. Everything is carefully curated and placed. Trees are primary, but their presentation is a strong second.
A Limber Pine in an antique pot surrounded by many smaller items. Including a hut with a living roof.
I’ve never seen so many Gyozan pots in one place. Bobby’s selection tends toward Gyozan’s eclectic, art pottery range.
The wildness of this Shore Pine falls in line with the earthy, grunge pot aesthetic.
Even the greenhouse is unique.
Touring Bobby’s garden is a constant surprise. You turn a corner and find a quirky burl shelf and other odd and interesting objects populating a wall. (Note the tiny Gyozan pot.)
Lily of the Valley plus hemlock.
Bobby plus hose.
An orchid after flowering.
In a sheltered garden spot reside a few massive Mountain Hemlocks collected by the great Anton Nijhuis, flanked by some gorgeous Rhododendrons. In this side yard Bobby’s young son Asher tried to get me involved in several sideline projects, which I avoided by expressing enthusiasm about a chocolate banana pop.
Explaining his business, Bobby says: “I want to add as many display type spaces for trees as possible. I would like to have spaces where people can bring their trees to set displays and photograph, and bring their own display items or use/buy items I have found. That could be done individually or in group sessions. I’m offering one-on-one teaching, tree styling, tree sales, display item sales, and limited regional travel for private work.”
Bobby says their ultimate plan is to have a Bonsai Air B&B.
If you’re on Instagram you’re likely familiar with Bobby’s frequent posts: @cascadiabonsai
And Bobby can be reached at email@example.com