Saturday, October 8, 2016

Cultural Bridge

While visiting the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington D.C. last week, I discovered that the U.S. National Arboretum was planning on building a Chinese garden. This garden is a joint venture between the United States and Chinese governments designed to promote friendship and celebrate the histories and traditions of each country. The garden will be a gift from the people of China. 

Here is a link to the National China Garden Foundation website.

Construction has yet to begin, as the project is just entering the public comment phase as I write this blog entry. My understanding is that it will take about three years to complete the garden. 

The garden will consist of 22 classical Chinese structure sitting on 12 acres of the U.S. National Arboretum. To get an idea of what the finished project will look like, and see pictures of some of the proposed structures, check out the following interactive web site:

I am looking forward to the garden's eventual completion. When combined with the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, it will make the U.S. National Arboretum a must visit site for anyone interested in the gardening arts of East Asia.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Bonsai & Penjing

Over the last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington D.C. on the grounds of the U.S. National Arboretum.

The collection began in 1976 with a donation of plants from the Nippon Bonsai Association to the United States, with the collection growing to 150 plants. 

Some of these plants date back several decades and some several centuries. 

Japanese White Pine
Started: 1873

Japanese White Pine
Started: 1625

Yes, the tree above was started in 1625. At almost 400 years old it was an amazing site to see.

I was expecting to see some wonderful bonsai when I first decided to visit, but I was surprised at the degree to which the museum offered so much more. I also was not well informed about the Chinese art of Penjing and was able to expand my own understanding of this art as a result of my visit.

The Chinese pavilion was very nice and had some great specimens.

I also loved the way they incorporated flower imagery into the window screens.

There was also a large collection of North American plants.

I also admired a potted Japanese Dwarf Male that was near the entry way. It gave me hope that I might be able to do something interesting with the Maple I recently located near my Moon Window.

The Museum, which is open daily from 10:00 - 4:00 is free, and well worth the visit.