Bonsai specimen from the U.S. National
In Its 75th
Anniversary Year, Arboretum Hosts International Bonsai Symposium
By Alfredo Flores
May 17, 2002
Experts from around the world converged
on Washington, D.C., today to attend a three-day
Scholarly Symposium on Bonsai and Viewing Stones at the
U.S. National Arboretum, now
celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Bonsai is the art of growing dwarfed, ornamentally shaped trees or shrubs in
small, shallow pots or trays. It evolved from the Chinese tradition known as
The symposium is a collaborative effort to gather and exchange in-depth
information about the development of the art and science of bonsai, suiseki
(viewing stones) and related natural art forms. Arboretum Director Thomas S.
Elias, the National Bonsai Foundation,
and the Potomac Bonsai
Association conceived the idea of hosting the event and attracted
world-renowned experts from Japan, China and the United States.
Bonsai styling and gardening is not static, but is continuously evolving,
according to Elias, who serves as the historian for Bonsai Magazine, the
official journal of Bonsai Clubs
International. This symposium will show how the art form has evolved in its
2,000- to 3,000-year history.
The symposium will feature presentations by Hideo Marushima, Japans
leading authority on both bonsai and suiseki; Arishige Matsuura, chairman of
the Nippon Suiseki
Association and one of the worlds leading authorities on suiseki;
William Valvanis, founder of the
Arboretum in Rochester, N.Y., and publisher and editor of
Bonsai Magazine; and other leading experts.
The opening day of the symposium features the dedication of the Kato Stroll
Garden, which forms the entryway to the
Bonsai and Penjing Museum located on the arboretums grounds. The Kato
family of Japan includes five generations of master bonsai growers. Saburo
Kato, president of the Nippon Bonsai Association, will accept the honor on
behalf of his family.
The museum, the worlds first of its kind, showcases more than 150
bonsai, including some given to the museum by the Japanese Imperial Family,
along with bonsai presented to Presidents Clinton, Reagan and Nixon. Last year
marked the 25th anniversary of the arboretums bonsai museum, which is
currently undergoing a $1.3 million facelift.
The arboretum is operated by the Agricultural Research Service, the chief
scientific research agency in the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.