Around 2008 I visited the Penjing and Bonsai Museum at the National Arboretum in DC — it’s hard to put in words how understated this collection is. There’s a lot to see there but if you’re looking for a quiet day in a beautiful pavilion away from the crowds of the mall and zoo, and you’re interested in seeing some of the oldest and most significant bonsai on the east coast, you’ve got to pay it a visit. I went on a quiet day and could walk around to take pictures on the same DSLR we ended up starting our cannabonzai shoots with. It’s hard to put into words how valuable this collection is.
Their oldest bonsai in the collection sprouted in 1625, just 5 years after the Pilgrims disembarked from the Mayflower. The relatively recent discovery that it survived a nuclear blast in WWII is shocking, but the Yamaki family hopes its brief history through war is dwarfed by its impact and importance in times of peace. Standing in front of something so meaningful and knowing it was cared for through multiple generations, to be in its presence, is something I won’t forget. And that’s just one of the many priceless bonsai that have joined the collection since.
Nothing beats a visit in person but below is a collection of some photos I took of the collection –