Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bonsai & Penjing Museum, National Arboretum, DC

The Bonsai tree is an art-form which originated in China centuries ago. Japan grew this art and spread all across the world. I was first exposed to it when my Maiin (Odiya word for Mami, maternal Uncle's wife) who is an avid gardener had a Lemon Bonsai tree with tiny Lemon's growing on them. How delightful! Down the years, my mom also had a beautiful Banyan Bonsai tree.I should look in my past India trip pics and find a pic of my Aunt's Orange Bonsai.

During the weekend of July 21st, the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum @ Washington, D.C. had a "Bonsai Basics with Tropicals" class scheduled for the entire day. Prior to this event, I was not aware of this place - so it was quite a discovery for me. I have definitely added it to places to visit when friends and family are visiting us next, particularly my dad who most enjoys this type of places.

My friend Raji at work informed me of the class and since she had already enrolled for the same, I also went ahead and signed up. Our morning ride to DC was an adventure enough - what with the day starting off with my alarm cheating on me! I overslept but managed to meet her and also reach there just in time! Before I show you the wonderful exhibits they have, let me first show you the Ficus which I worked on and am now responsible to look after.

The class gives a good introduction to Bonsai basics and their care. Thanks to our instructor Jim for making the class so interesting with anecdotes from his experiences of over 20 years. We were each given a Ficus, a tropical tree to work on and apply all the different concepts such as tree design, pruning, wiring, root adjustment and re-potting. It was quite an experience and I look forward to learning more and growing these skills. Feel like I have a pet now which needs daily care and maintenance - for some strange reason have never felt this for the other plants I have owned in the past and present! Strange!

I so missed not having my SLR with me that day to capture these beauties. Enjoy the lovely exhibits from the museum - hope to someday have these types of trees in my collection and created by me. Long long way to go.. but proud that atleast I have made a start! :)

Different arrangements of multiple Bonsai trees are such an eye-pleased sight. They made me feel so peaceful. Needs such clarity and care in designing and executing the trims to result in an end-product such as these. Just wow.

They have divided the entire exhibition area into three separate areas and have plentiful of exhibits in each - Japanese Pavilion, Chinese Pavilion and International Pavilion. You should keep aside atleast an hour to view each of the exhibits and enjoy them in display.

Apart from the Bonsai Garden, there are quite a few other parks within the Arboretum such as the Herb Garden. It seems like a place to spend the entire day walking around and being with nature. Look forward to spending a day there in serenity...

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