Bonsai and Glass at the Portland Japanese Garden

Last week we set up the bonsai display at the Portland Japanese Garden. While we putting up that display, another display caught our attention.

Enjoy the photo essay!


Our install team after loading the truck. Thanks Masaki, Erich, and Carmen!


Bringing big bonsai up steps using the easiest method: lots of hands…with assistance from the Portland Japanese Garden team.


Our display features several trees from the Seattle area. This is one of my favorite David DeGroot trees, a Coast Redwood nurse log / bridge imagination.


Dan Robinson supplied us with this old Korean Hornbeam. Though I had only a short time at Dan’s place, Elandan Gardens, I was amazed at the unusual trees he’d collected over the years. He gave me a quick tour of them before I had to scoot.


This old Japanese White Pine came from the Pacific Bonsai Museum. Mr. Mitsuya donated it to the Museum and we’re delighted to have it on display this year at the Japanese Garden.


This is one of mine, a twin-trunk Engelmann Spruce.


Another one of mine, a Japanese Maple ‘Beni-Kawa’ with particularly red bark this year. When it gets more sun it appears to be redder.


And a Chinese Wisteria that has grown its whole life in a pot. Pot-grown bonsai tend to have easy, natural tapers.


Big old Mountain Hemlock. This is actually a rooted branch of a really ancient tree. Quirky thing, with a penjing feel to it.


Against this wall we have kusamono. This spring set include, right to left: large-leaved lupine, lady fern and violet, vetch and aster (still little nubs), and Douglas iris, a Northwest native.


Large-leaved Lupine. Not sure it will flower this year but the leaves are spectacular.


And then one of the gardeners insisted we see the glass exhibition in the pavilion. I’d seen online images of it and admit that initially I thought them kitschy, but I had a very different experience in person. The plants were in glass, complete with bubbles as if they were caught in sheets of ice. Skeletal, luminous and haunting.




And we hit this Cherry right at peak in the winter garden.

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  1. Andy Moerlein says:

    WOW!! Great series of images. The group effort. The nurse bridge!!! the glass. The displays.


  2. Louis says:

    Saw it last week 🙂 Really nice exhibition

  3. Ayla H Baha says:

    Hi Michael, great photo essay! I love the elegance and color of the Japanese Maple ‘Beni-Kawa’ and probably my favorite, if you could have such a thing with such an amazing collection. Interesting about the Chinese Wisteria grown its whole life in a pot. How long did it take for it to look like this? Very cool ‘Big old Mountain Hemlock’! Who created both of these? The glass exhibition and blooming cherry tree look fantastic! Thank you for sharing it with us. 

  4. Candace says:

    How long will the exhibition be up?
    Fabulous trees!

  5. Grant R says:

    I enjoyed this alternate form of inspiration – “the photo blog” – and look forward to the next one! You have some real unique trees and diversity in the display. Kudos!

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