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Bonsai Trees Draw Fans to Washington

Fay Sharer took part in a workshop on pruning and training bonsai, working on a California pine.
Petra Mayer, NPR
Fay Sharer took part in a workshop on pruning and training bonsai, working on a California pine.
The Goshin Bonsai was begun in 1953 by John Naka; he is the center of an exhibit at the Washington Arboretum.
/ Petra Mayer, NPR
/
Petra Mayer, NPR
The Goshin Bonsai was begun in 1953 by John Naka; he is the center of an exhibit at the Washington Arboretum.

The fifth World Bonsai Convention is taking place this weekend at the Washington Hilton, and convention organizers say it's the biggest bonsai event ever. Enthusiasts are gathering to display the plants they have pruned, bound and trained into twisted, complex forms.

The event included both showcases and workshops, as the practitioners of a very patient art exchanged secrets and tips. Bonsai creators say a good plant can take a lifetime -- or several. One famous bonsai at the National Arboretum was first potted in 1626.

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Petra Mayer (she/her) is an editor (and the resident nerd) at NPR Books, focusing on fiction, and particularly genre fiction. She brings to the job passion, speed-reading skills, and a truly impressive collection of Doctor Who doodads. You can also hear her on the air and on the occasional episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour.