Current Exhibit

“Going Native”

A bonsai exhibition at the Clark Bonsai Collection

in Shinzen Friendship Gardens, June 2-Sept. 30

Despite the image that “Going Native” conjures of someone who, by choice or circumstance, has left the trappings of modern society behind to live a simpler and perhaps more idyllic life in a primitive culture, the implications of the term for bonsai has a much deeper meaning.  The use of “native” plant species as the medium, or source material, for the art of bonsai is based in deep antiquity.  Indeed the very origins of the art of bonsai are inextricably linked to the most ancient method of obtaining bonsai stock – collecting native trees from the wild.

How plant material used for bonsai is obtained is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the art.  There are some who believe bonsai is a species of plant that, upon maturity, takes on the visual aspects of a miniature tree. This of course is untrue. Most folks realize that a wide variety of tree species can be used to create bonsai, but wonder, how is the basic plant material  obtained? The answer is that bonsai are propagated in the same ways that other plants are with one defining exception, the finest material for bonsai is collected from the wild.  Obtaining naturally dwarfed trees from sea cliffs and mountain crags and maintaining them in containers is how the art of bonsai originated. This ancient practice continues to this day as bonsai artists venture into the mountains, rolling hills, coastal forests and swamps to dig, protect, preserve and domesticate native trees for use as bonsai.

Referred to as Yamadori – a term that in Japanese means “from the mountains”- trees collected from the wild offer superior attributes as source material for bonsai as they display the effects of mother nature’s hand.  Wind driven sand or ice crystals polish sun-bleached dead wood to a silvery sheen. Long years of battling the elements and eking out an existence in poor soil and harsh weather keeps their growth stunted and gnarled with a character that surpasses anything that can be contrived by the hand of man.

Join us the Clark Bonsai Collection in Shinzen Gardens, Woodward Park, Fresno and marvel at desert Junipers over a thousand years old or an ancient Live Oak known as the Del Monte ogre.  Gaze in wonder at a Pygmy Cypress that displays the very image of a coastal monarch yet is only 30 inches tall.   See the rarest of the rare, a Monterey Pine bonsai. These and other wonders of the art of bonsai will be on display from June 2 through September 30.

“Going Native”


GSBF Clark Bonsai Collection

P.O. Box 5382

Fresno, CA 93755

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© 2014 Clark Bonsai Collection. All Rights Reserved. Registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization