Botanist Dan Robinson has been working with and collecting bonsai trees for more than 60 years, but some of his trees have been around for nearly 20 times that long.
Robinson has become a go-to expert on bonsai trees; he even developed new methods of caring for and shaping them. He travels, giving lectures and workshops on the trees. His personal collection, at Elandan Gardens in Washington state, features of over 200 bonsai trees arranged among ponds, waterfalls, and rock sculptures. It has become a major draw for horticulture lovers.
His trees have been gathered over the course of his life from all kinds of environments, from mountains and marshes to areas ravaged by logging to old nurseries. The ages are determined by counting the rings on clippings of the roots or branches through microscopes.
Japanese Maples and giant rhododendrons help fill out the rest of Elandan Gardens, which also has a gallery and a stunning view of the Sinclair Inlet on the Puget Sound.
Know Before You Go
Visiting in the spring and summer is good for seeing the trees in bloom, but their foliage makes an autumn visit striking as well. One of the most interesting things about bonsai trees is their usually gnarly underlying structure, which is most visible in the winter.