Northwest Bonsai Style–Perennial Bookworm

Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees: The Life and Works of Dan Robinson—Bonsai Pioneer.  Will Hiltz, 2010.  Nara Press, 292 pages, 10.5” x 9.5”, $49.95 (hardcover).

This is the story of local bonsai expert and landscaper, Dan Robinson.  Dan has an unorthodox approach to bonsai that for years gained him only disparagement in traditional bonsai circles.  Only recently, almost two decades after the establishment of Elandan Gardens, is his approach recognized as having been before its time.  (If you’ve not been to Elandan Gardens in Bremerton, WA, this is a fine season to go.  The bonsai will be touting their fall color soon.)  Gorgeous photographs reveal Dan’s keen ability to capture the essence of an ancient tree; a skill honed from both formal forestry training and a lifetime of wild collecting.  The book articulates four principles that guide him in sculpting natural looking trees that appear to be touched only by father time. His is a truly American bonsai style born of and influenced by the forestlands of the Pacific Northwest.

More information on Elandan Gardens www.elandangardens.com

© Colleen Miko, 2011

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About Colleen Miko

Colleen Miko is a certified professional horticulturist with 20 years experience in landscape design who has designed award winning gardens for the NW Flower & Garden Show as well as HGTV’s “Landscaper’s Challenge”. Colleen is a freelance garden writer and speaker who regularly writes "The Perennial Bookworm" where she reviews garden and natural science books, as well as a regular contributor to "WestSound Home & Garden Magazine" on a variety of horticulture topics.
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