Monday, July 6, 2015

Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection

It's been awhile since I've posted anything about my bonsai collection. This is mainly because I've been neglecting the plants and they really need a lot of work.  While we were in Washington last week on vacation we saw a road sign pointing to the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection. Since it was pretty close to Seatac Airport we had time to visit before our flight last Wednesday. What a wonderful place.

They currently have about 50 bonsai on display and every one is beautiful. It almost makes me discouraged considering the state of my own plants but I think I'm going to use this experience to inspire me to take better care of them.  Here are just a few.

To give you some perspective, none of the pots in the following photos are more that about 2-3 inches high, some are no more than an inch.

If this interests you at all, you can find the museum on the web here.

Staghorn Sumac
This tree started growing in 1976 and has been a bonsai since 1986. This is an unusual bonsai in that in that neither does it look like a natural tree, nor does it follow traditional bonsai forms.

Coast Redwood
Started in 1957 and made into a bonsai in 1967. In the wild, a coast redwood can grow to be almost 400 feet tall. This guy is about 2.5 feet tall.

Japanese Beech
Started in 1953 and made into a bonsai in 1957. These trees grow on the slopes of Mt. Fuji and generally don't make good bonsai subjects because they grow very slowly.

Trident Maple
Started in 1945 and made into a bonsai in 1950, this is called the "root-over-rock' style. The plant is started in a deep pot to get long roots, then it is dug up, the roots washed and draped over a suitable rock and wired on. I have one such style in my collection that I developed myself. It is my favorite bonsai.

Japanese Maple
It's hard to believe but there are 59 separate trees in this pot, all propagated from the same plant. The 10 largest were from cuttings in 1970. The rest were grown from seeds starting in 1980. Click to enlarge and you'll see multiple trunks in the leaves.

Chinese Elm
This is from 1985. It is meant to mimic a rocky shore line. This is actually the Chinese version of bonsai, called penjing.

Tucker Oak
Some of these plants came from nursery stock, but many were collected from the wild. This tree, which started growing in 1840, was made into a bonsai in 1940. It was already a dwarf due to the harsh conditions where it was growing. Most of the trunk is dead, there is just a thin layer of living wood (on the left side) which supports the crown.

Chinese hackberry
 This is another example of "found" material. The original tree had sprouted in the artist's yard and eventually got tall enough that it started damaging his roof. He cut it down but found interest in the 4 inch stump he left behind. 50 years later and you have this.

Dwarf Schefflera
My first bonsai, a gift from my wife and daughter over 10 years ago is a shefflera. You may know it as an umbrella tree. Mine is getting kind of leggy and sparse of leaves but so is this one and it's in a museum! This bonsai is 35 years old.


Fuji said...

These are absolutely gorgeous! Didn't realize you collected these. I've owned a few in my lifetime... but none have survived :(

capewood said...

e first bonsai I planted myself is in my banner. Unfortunately, it's dead.