Pacific Bonsai Museum’s ‘Little Champions’ Exhibit to Be Featured at Amazon Spheres

Pacific Bonsai Museum’s ‘Little Champions’ Exhibit to Be Featured at Amazon Spheres

The bonsai exhibition will be visible from August 30 to October 7.

Trees from the Pacific Bonsai Museum will soon be on display at Amazon’s Seattle Spheres.

From Tuesday, August 30 through Friday, October 7, visitors can see Washington’s champion tree species up close without encroaching on fragile ecosystems at the “Little Champions: Bonsai from the Evergreen State” exhibit. “Champion trees” is a term used to describe large trees of a given species.

“The purpose of bonsai is to observe, interpret and compress the age and size of trees and present them as a representation of nature in miniature,” said Aarin Packard, curator of the Pacific Bonsai Museum, who organized the exhibition. “Art makes them accessible on a human scale and allows people to see their greatness from a vantage point otherwise impossible.”

Five native Washington conifer bonsai trees from the collection of the Pacific Bonsai Museum will also be on display at the Spheres. The five bonsai on display on the fourth floor of the Sky Deck and the third floor of the Seattle Spheres are:

  • Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla); estimated year of germination from seed 1930; in bonsai training since 1965; originally created by bonsai James and Marsha Nakahara.
  • Subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa); age, time of formation and original artist unknown.
  • Shore pine (Pinus contorta var. contorta), estimated year of seed germination 1740 to 1760; originally created by bonsai artist Jack Sullivan.
  • Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii); estimated year of seed germination 1890 to 1900; in bonsai training since 1978; originally created by bonsai artist Ron Yasenchak.
  • Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), estimated year of germination from seed 1955; in bonsai training since 1964; originally created by bonsai artist George Schenk.

In addition to bonsai trees, several small kusamono (commonly translated from Japanese as “bad thing”) ferns and grasses representing the understory of a particular champion’s environment will be on display.

Kusamono is an allied art of bonsai where various small plants are displayed as if they have been picked up in their natural assemblages and planted in a shallow ceramic container, according to the Pacific Bonsai Museum. Shown together, bonsai and kusamono “suggest a distillation of a larger landscape in miniature.”

By bringing this exhibit to Amazon employees, their families and guests, and general visitors on public Saturdays, the Pacific Bonsai Museum aims to inspire appreciation for ancient but fragile champions, young and old, and their supporting ecosystems.

Pacific Bonsai Museum volunteer guides will attend public Saturdays to answer questions, share ideas and spark conversations about little champions.

Little Champions is the Pacific Bonsai Museum’s second temporary exhibit housed in the Seattle Spheres. Four bonsai trees were displayed on the upper level of the structure from February 3 to March 17, 2019. The Pacific Bonsai Museum was the first outside organization invited to host a temporary exhibit in the Spheres, according to the museum.

“We appreciate the quality and botanical diversity of the Pacific Bonsai Museum collection and wanted to help support their mission of connecting people to nature by giving them the opportunity to display pieces from their collection in front of new audiences,” said Justin Schroeder, Amazon’s Spheres real. domain and facilities manager. “It is also valuable for our employees to introduce dynamism into the collection and give them the opportunity to experience bonsai in this unique setting.”

Each plant inside the spheres has been chosen from the Amazon Plant Collection and is maintained by members of Amazon Horticulture. The Spheres are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., accessible to all Amazon employees and up to six guests. Amazon’s Seattle Spheres are located at 2111 7th Ave. in Seattle.

The public is invited to visit every first and third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. with reservation confirmation. To book tickets, visit

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