Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Chinatown is beautiful. One side is open to the public with no admission fee. It’s a calming oasis right in Vancouver. The other side which holds tours is open to garden members and the general public for a fee. If you haven’t seen either side of the garden yet, go, go!

The garden hosted a tour, demo and workshop on Saturday September 16th. Mr. Pin Lee was the penjing master on hand. He and another host took us on a quick tour around the garden. We saw penjing on display and heard some history of the ancient Chinese art form. Pin Lee was a delight to listen to. His warm energy was great to be around and his enthusiasm for penjing was as contagious as his smile.




Bonsai Mirai’s Ryan Neil has been doing a lot for Bonsai in North America. Most of us are no stranger to his work. Mirai Live is an online learning tool which streams live bonsai videos weekly. The archive is accessible for subscribers to watch again and again to hone their skills. Thus far, two of the archive videos are free for viewing. The Beech Forest and Spring Fundamentals videos are incredible. Watching them myself has quickly expanded my own knowledge which made subscribing to Mirai Live an easy decision. Check it out for yourself.




Mirai Live is worth a look see. The video of this Beech Forest is well done. It’s especially informative for anyone planning their own forest planting. I myself am developing a group of Styrax(Japanese Snowbell) which I just re-potted. My trees require more time for root ball development and better branch structure, but are on their way. Anyway, check out Bonsai Mirai’s free video in the link below. If you’re also interested in a great book to pick up; Forest, Rock Planting & Ezo Spruce Bonsai by Saburo Kato is available from multiple sources.





Below is a list of book recommendations which are certainly worth picking up for yourself. These titles are both inspiring and informative. Some are easier to come by than others, but all are great additions to any bonsai lovers library.

Bonsai Techniques 1, John Naka. – This book has been long out of print, but is still considered one of the best titles out there. John Naka did a lot for bonsai in North America. If you can find a copy of this book, expect to pay over $100. They have been spotted on ABE books online.

Principles Of Bonsai Design, David De Groot. – Arguably the most relevant book available today. This is a must have for anyone getting serious about bonsai. It covers the design of bonsai in great detail. If I could only keep one book in my library, it would be this one. Much of the understanding I have on bonsai development has come from this book.

Forest, Rock Planting & Ezo Spruce Bonsai, Saburo Kato. – Master Saburo Kato created many bonsai masterpieces including some famous Ezo Spruce bonsai and beautiful forest plantings. The book touches on his story, features some wonderful images of bonsai and goes in to detail on creating a variety of forest plantings.

Literati Style Penjing(Chinese Bonsai Masterworks), Zhao Qingquan. – This is a newer book. The size and quality of the images make it very enjoyable as a coffee table book. It is however, much more than that. Featuring dozens of literati trees by a variety of artists and progression articles showing the evolution and how-to for many of Qingquan’s bonsai/penjing. This book is a favourite of mine which has fueled my appreciation for literati and bunjin style.

Trees In Canada, John Laird Farrar. – Published in part by the Canadian Forestry Service, this updated 500 page book is something of a field guide. This book features all of the trees which grow in Canada. Each species/sub-species page features photos of the tree and it’s features, diagrams and info on every detail including Leaves, Buds, Twigs, Seed Cones, Seeds, Seedlings, Bark, Wood, Size and Form, Habitat, Notes and Recognition Guide. Also a visual map of where the tree naturally occurs in North America. Crazy right? It’s like the tree bible. I got my copy from Lee Valley.


Bonsai Empire(bonsaiempire.com) provides information, useful links to bonsai resources and clubs, and best of all, beautifully shot bonsai videos like this one on youtube. See the website and the youtube channel for much more. Bonsai Empire is just one of the excellent links listed on the resources page here on eastvanbonsai.com


The fourth European Bonsai San Show took place on October 15th and 16th this year. Below is a link to some excellent highlights from the event in Saulieu, Burgundy, France. This article and the images are from bonsai artist Harry Harrington.