For Those That Have Visited Eisei-en Gardens

Apex37

Shohin
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So we're looking at planning a trip out east this year, which will be a first for me. I've never had the chance to hike the Appalachian's and we got time off for Memorial Day week and thought it would be nice to change it up this time. Looking at hiking GSMNP and Shenandoah. Obviously lots of places of interest for bonsai in the area. I had considered possibly stopping by and visiting Eisei-en Garden. I realize now there's a booking fee and you have to schedule a specific time to visit, which is fine, just might be difficult to plan out having to drive 12+ hours.

For those who have visited Eisei-en how was your experience? Is it worth it for someone just wanting to visit? I don't have plans to buy anything...if I can help it (mostly because I'll probably be broke from the trip).

Another consideration was just foregoing there all together and checking out the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville and seeing their bonsai collection there.
 

Wood

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I started Bjorn's intensives this January, so I've visited his garden once. He has gorgeous, massive trees that are worth a lot of study. I've added a lot of photos in this thread. It certainly is a gorgeous collection and you won't be disappointed with the quality.

There are three distinct areas in his garden. All of the highly refined trees are in the first area as you walk into the garden, and it has about 30-40 trees. The majority of my photos are from that area. The other two are filled with developing trees and rough pre-bonsai.

What stood out to me in person is the level of refinement to Bjorn's trees. Everything in the first area is in stunningly good condition, and meticulously kept. Seeing the difference between his trees and nice trees you'd see at your typical club meeting is eye opening.

Almost everything in the garden is available for sale, as long as it isn't a client's tree. In January, he said that he was purposefully keeping garden slightly less stocked. I'd expect that to have changed by this point and that he should have more material available for sale.

The NC Arboretum probably has a larger collection to see, and the dedicated displays will be nicer, but I don't know about shopping opportunities around there. Eisei-en, Music City Bonsai, Kusa Farms, and @Owen Reich are all in the Nashville area
 

rockm

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If you're going to the Shenandoah National Park, you're closer to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in D.C. than you are to the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville...just sayin...
 

Apex37

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If you're going to the Shenandoah National Park, you're closer to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in D.C. than you are to the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville...just sayin...
Hmm hadn't thought of that. Just adds more miles the opposite direction for the drive home is the only thing. I'll have to think on this!
 

Apex37

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If you're going to the Shenandoah National Park, you're closer to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in D.C. than you are to the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville...just sayin...
Man I forget how far up Shenandoah really is!
 

Wood

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It's only about two hours from SNP to NBPM, and a phenomenal collection there
 

rockm

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Hmm hadn't thought of that. Just adds more miles the opposite direction for the drive home is the only thing. I'll have to think on this!
FWIW, if you've never been to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum it's worth the extra miles. If you are a bonsai fanatic and you're within 100 miles of it, you will regret not seeing it...It's also free AND would involve a beautiful drive up the Skyline Drive from Waynesboro to Front Royal (which can take a while--want to get there faster? I-81 to I-66.)
 

Apex37

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I started Bjorn's intensives this January, so I've visited his garden once. He has gorgeous, massive trees that are worth a lot of study. I've added a lot of photos in this thread. It certainly is a gorgeous collection and you won't be disappointed with the quality.

There are three distinct areas in his garden. All of the highly refined trees are in the first area as you walk into the garden, and it has about 30-40 trees. The majority of my photos are from that area. The other two are filled with developing trees and rough pre-bonsai.

What stood out to me in person is the level of refinement to Bjorn's trees. Everything in the first area is in stunningly good condition, and meticulously kept. Seeing the difference between his trees and nice trees you'd see at your typical club meeting is eye opening.

Almost everything in the garden is available for sale, as long as it isn't a client's tree. In January, he said that he was purposefully keeping garden slightly less stocked. I'd expect that to have changed by this point and that he should have more material available for sale.

The NC Arboretum probably has a larger collection to see, and the dedicated displays will be nicer, but I don't know about shopping opportunities around there. Eisei-en, Music City Bonsai, Kusa Farms, and @Owen Reich are all in the Nashville area
Thanks so much Wood for your insight!
Bjorn, like many others, was one of the artists that really inspired me looking at his work and what his eye can see.
There's so many amazing artists here in the states and I want to visit all of their respective gardens just to have that experience.
We only get one big vacation a year, so this would be the first time getting to visit a famous bonsai garden or visiting a bonsai exhibit of any sort really other than club stuff.
 

rockm

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"There's so many amazing artists here in the states and I want to visit all of their respective gardens just to have that experience."

Hate to keep harping on it, but this is the very reason to go to the NBPM. John Naka, Yuji Yoshimura, Ben Oki, Nick Lenz, Mary Madison, Vaughn Banting, Dan Robinson, Bill Valavanis, Quingquan Zhao and literally almost a hundred other bonsai artists' work is on display there. Included are Japanese bonsai artists dating back 400 years, some gift trees from the Imperial collection in Japan, etc. No where else on the planet will you see that kind of thing.
 

Cofga

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Heck if you drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway from the GSMNP the parkway is within 1/2 mile of the arboretum entrance. I f you write Arthur Joura in advance you might even be able to talk him into seeing the hoop house where much of the collection is kept when not on display.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I would highly recommend visiting Elsie-en. Meticulously maintained, beautiful and large trees. It’s better every time I go, always something new.
 

Apex37

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"There's so many amazing artists here in the states and I want to visit all of their respective gardens just to have that experience."

Hate to keep harping on it, but this is the very reason to go to the NBPM. John Naka, Yuji Yoshimura, Ben Oki, Nick Lenz, Mary Madison, Vaughn Banting, Dan Robinson, Bill Valavanis, Quingquan Zhao and literally almost a hundred other bonsai artists' work is on display there. Included are Japanese bonsai artists dating back 400 years, some gift trees from the Imperial collection in Japan, etc. No where else on the planet will you see that kind of thing.
Rock I'm gonna try to talk to the better half into it. She's not too keen once I told her how far the drive is to Shenandoah, so might've been wishful thinking going up there.

Either way, it's on my must see list. I've only been to DC once, back in school many many years ago. I'd love the chance and go back and enjoy the museums and history as an adult.
 

rockm

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Rock I'm gonna try to talk to the better half into it. She's not too keen once I told her how far the drive is to Shenandoah, so might've been wishful thinking going up there.

Either way, it's on my must see list. I've only been to DC once, back in school many many years ago. I'd love the chance and go back and enjoy the museums and history as an adult.
I hear ya on the drive. DC and the Shenandoah Valley. FWIW, things have changed dramatically (DRAMATICALLY) in the last 10-15 years in D.C. What was once "no go" territory there is now renewed and vibrant with new development and activities, including new museums, etc. The Drive up through Va. is one of the most historic (And scenic) in the U.S. if you follow along the front range of the Blue Ridge.
Don't know if you all are hikers/campers, but there are some pretty spectacular areas to do that along the way too.

I've driven from Tyler, Texas to my house in N. Va. in two days, more than a few times. Typically stopped in Chattanooga (or Dollywood if you're on vacay) which is about halfway.
 

Apex37

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I hear ya on the drive. DC and the Shenandoah Valley. FWIW, things have changed dramatically (DRAMATICALLY) in the last 10-15 years in D.C. What was once "no go" territory there is now renewed and vibrant with new development and activities, including new museums, etc. The Drive up through Va. is one of the most historic (And scenic) in the U.S. if you follow along the front range of the Blue Ridge.
Don't know if you all are hikers/campers, but there are some pretty spectacular areas to do that along the way too.

I've driven from Tyler, Texas to my house in N. Va. in two days, more than a few times. Typically stopped in Chattanooga (or Dollywood if you're on vacay) which is about halfway.
Yeah definitely love to hike! We plan a hiking trip out to Colorado just about every year and figured it was time to do something new. We wanna bring the dog, so may not be able to do GSMNP and Shenandoah after doing more research. May just look at state parks in Tennessee/NC. We've talked about moving out to this area as a possibility so it'll be nice to scope it out some.
 

rockm

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FWIW--this is part of my old stomping ground when I was in high school. And no, you don't really need a 4x4 to get to it. I used a '69 Dodge Dart. Beautiful area on the western side of the Shenandoah Valley. Many more places hiking accessible like this too and you can bring your dog- no one cares. 😁

 

Apex37

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FWIW--this is part of my old stomping ground when I was in high school. And no, you don't really need a 4x4 to get to it. I used a '69 Dodge Dart. Beautiful area on the western side of the Shenandoah Valley. Many more places hiking accessible like this too and you can bring your dog- no one cares. 😁

Hey thanks for sharing!! I'll have to look into it.
 
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