First Bonsai Book Public Event!

Aki matsuri 11 BB (card size)
Come to the first-ever Aki Matsuri at the U.S. National Arboretum on October 15 from 10 am to 5 pm. I will be there, signing books!
The theme is “Celebrating Japanese Plants and Culture at the U.S. National Arboretum” and there will be tours of the Japanese Woodland, Japanese Maple Collection,and the National Bonsai Collection. Cultural activities include kimono modeling, music, visiting the koi pool, a bonsai demonstration, plus hands-on children’s activities. Japanese food and drink will be available to buy. That evening, there will be an Otsukimi or Moon Viewing at the Arboretum, held in the meadow with Japanese food, drink, music and haiku-writing.
The U.S. National Arboretum is at 3501 New York Avenue, N.E. in Washington, D.C. Its website is www.usna.usda.gov.
See you there!

Back from Japan!

Delighted to discover bonsai growing in front of a house in Tokoname, Japan, where there are ancient kilns.

Delighted to discover bonsai growing in front of a house in Tokoname, Japan, where there are ancient kilns.


As you might imagine, I have wanted to visit Japan since I have learned so much more about it through writing my cherry blossom books and the new one about bonsai. I was last there in the 1980s when I was a buyer for the Smithsonian Institution’s catalogue. It was thrilling to find cherry blossom trees and their symbols everywhere–I could spot the trees, even though they were not in bloom–and a highlight was a visit to Omiya where there is a bonsai museum, which I highly recommend. By the way, my new book about the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum will be released on October 11!

Watch This Space!

There’s been a paucity of news on my website lately because I have been working on a new book to be published in 2016. Its particulars are still under wraps, but I can say now that it will be about trees . . . very special trees! Watch this space for more news.Courtyard with koi flags
And if you have a few minutes and love trees as much as I do, check out this video: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/11/23/the-silent-friends-trees-film/

French Festival at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

It might come as a surprise, but I do have other interests beyond cherry blossom trees: all things French and gardens anywhere. This year, I was lucky enough to be accepted for the Garden Docent Training Program at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. I was thrilled when my tour passed the test and I joined the ranks of Hillwood’s Garden Docents in May.

Hillwood’s moniker is “Where Fabulous Lives,” a fitting tribute to its benefactor, Marjorie Merriweather Post and an apt descriptor of the collections inside the mansion and of the gardens that surround it. If you choose to visit, I hope I’ll be lucky enough to be your Garden Docent!

The visitors' French hats were made by them as a special French Festival activity enjoyed by all ages on July 11, 2015.

The visitors’ French hats were made by them as a special French Festival activity enjoyed by all ages on July 11, 2015.

Working on a new book . . .

But it’s still under wraps so stay tuned. In the meantime, I found this note from Peterborough, NH where I was delighted to give a talk this past April: ” . . .she is the best speaker we ever had here. Full sentences, no notes.” Wow!

In Washington, DC, it is hot and humid today, so here’s a photo of one of my favorite places– the US National Arboretum– on a snowy day. Makes me feel cooler just to think about it. Hope it will do the same for you!

A Yoshino Cherry Tree at the US National Arboretum in the snow.

A Yoshino Cherry Tree at the US National Arboretum in the snow.

June already? Where did May go?

IMG_7062
Well, all I can tell you is that May for me disappeared into a whirlwind of travel, including a fabulous trip to Turkey where I saw Kwanzan cherry trees blooming in Istanbul, Konya and Ankara! I was incredulous, as you might be as you read this, but the photo is proof. It was taken on May 1 of this year in Istanbul. It was thrilling to find cherry blossoms there, on top of all the other wonderful experiences that await any visitor to Turkey. I highly recommend Turkey as a travel destination.
I also was in New York City briefly for BookExpo — stay tuned for further developments regarding my various publishing projects, currently still under wraps.
Next week there will be a planning meeting for the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Very excited about that since 2016 will also be the centennial celebration of the National Park Service! Watch this space for more information as it’s available.
Happy summer!

Scenes from the Tidal Basin at Peak Bloom 2015

This couple bought my first book in 2005.  Now they consider it a family heirloom and will be passing it along to their daughter and her children!

This couple bought my first book in 2005. Now they consider it a family heirloom and will be passing it along to their daughter and her children!

The crowds were amazing!  You can hardly see the Jefferson Memorial's steps.

The crowds were amazing! You can hardly see the Jefferson Memorial’s steps.

The skies were eye-popping blue on April 11.

The skies were eye-popping blue on April 11.

Wish I'd brought a picnic too!

Wish I’d brought a picnic too!

First sale of the day on April 12th -- this great book is still selling well, 10 years after it was new!

First sale of the day on April 12th — this great book is still selling well, 10 years after it was new!

The wind died down enough for people to use the paddle boats on April 12th.  Very fun!

The wind died down enough for people to use the paddle boats on April 12th. Very fun!

A scene repeated anywhere you looked around the Tidal Basin any day of the Peak Bloom weekend.

A scene repeated anywhere you looked around the Tidal Basin any day of the Peak Bloom weekend.