During my recent visit to Portland, Oregon, I spent the bulk of my free time at Rakuyo-en, the bonsai garden of Andrew Robson.
Andrew started Rakuyo to focus on deciduous bonsai. Although I’d seen photos of the garden before visiting, nothing prepared me for the scale and scope of the collection.
For starters, many of Andrew’s trees are big. Here’s a photo of a large corylopsis.
And here’s a photo of Andrew’s father Jeffrey standing next to a giant European beech for scale.
Jeffrey tending to a large European beech
Spring, for those who haven’t visited Portland, is a time of unbridled growth. As such, most of the trees in the garden were dense masses of new foliage awaiting their first pruning of the season.
Andrew’s workshop, which looks out onto the garden, features a large tokonoma that’s perfect for setting up seasonal displays.
The garden also features a selection of conifers at different stages of development.
Rocky Mountain juniper ready for its first styling
Japanese black pine
An attractive backdrop of greenery surrounds Rakuyo-en on three sides making the garden feel even bigger than it already is. The layout, however, creates intimate spaces where visitors can focus on deciduous or coniferous trees, accents, or shohin.
Spring foliage at Rakuyo-en
Small chojubai in an antique Chinese container
I also found that there were lots of species not often seen in North American bonsai gardens. One of my favorites was katsura. The specimen below was grown by longtime Portland bonsai enthusiast Anne Spencer.
It won’t be too soon before my next visit to Rakuyo-en as I’m looking forward to seeing the garden in different seasons so I can fully appreciate all that the trees have to offer.
Learn more about Andrew and his garden at rakuyobonsai.com.
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