By Peter Mitchell
On a holiday in the Seattle area of the USA we visited Elandan Gardens, which is a public garden displaying a collection of bonsai trees.
The gardens were created by Daniel Robinson from a land fill site in 1991, he transformed the tip by importing 35,000 cubic feet of top soil and then landscaping it into 3.5 acres of mounds with rocks, ponds waterfalls and of course bonsai trees.
Dan is an internationally recognised as a leading bonsai artist renown for his carving skills. He tries to follow nature in his designs and carving, so that the finished tree looks like the real live trees but in miniature. His collection of more than 80 trees are mostly native trees either collected by Dan from many locations both in the USA and Canada or have been grown from seed, planted by himself, some are now over 40 years old. The oldest is thought to have started life as a sapling some 1200 years ago.
The site which totals 6 acres is situated on the shore of the Puget Sound near Bremerton which is across the sound of Seattle. In addition to the gardens there is a store which is run by Diane Robinson which has many interesting items from around the world, including Chinese antiques, a nursery for plants and bonsai trees, a picnic area, car park and an area where Dan stores rocks and tree snags for the other side of the business, landscaping. Dan has a reputation in the Seattle area as a landscape gardener who creates vistas using large rock formations set off by giant tree stumps some 20 feet high with a root spread of 8 feet in diameter.
Among the trees both in the gardens and around the car park are stone sculptures created by their son William. William is gaining a reputation as a stone sculptor in his own right with his work being displayed in galleries as far away as New York.
If you are in the area, it is well worth a visit to the gardens admission to the bonsai collection is $5.
The address is :
3050 West State Highway 16
WA 98312 USA
Telephone & Fax 360 373 8260