Elandan Gardens is a beautiful and unique six acre natural oasis featuring the bonsai artistry of Dan Robinson. The garden opened in 1993 in Bremerton, Washington which is a short distance from Seattle. This is an excellent location to appreciate the art of bonsai pioneer Dan Robinson who introduced power tools to the bonsai world. Dan’s bonsai are truly unique, and clearly show the respect he has for old, ancient trees surviving the elements of nature. Dead tree trunks, an and snags are prominently displayed with the bonsai as well as interesting stones. He enjoys explaining how and when he collected his world class bonsai revealing secrets of nature one might miss when casually seeing the trees. Most of his bonsai include signs which explain the history and other interesting facts about the trees.
Elandan Gardens was built on reclaimed land, which was formerly a landfill on the Kitsap Peninsula on the water. Many of the bonsai are displayed with a lovely waterfront view which make for a great background when photographing. Every turn throughout the garden surprises visitors with beautiful bonsai, stone displays, old interesting dead tree trunks and stone sculptures.
In addition to the living museum of ancient bonsai, Elandan Garden includes a gift shop operated by Dan’s wife Diane. There is an amazing collection of unique and antique clothing, jewelry, art, containers and other whimsical surprises she has collected from Asia, Europe and North America. Every turn in the gift shop reveals treasures to view, appreciate and purchase.
Dan’s son William is a famous sculptor who works with stones, many which are large size masterworks. His art is part of private and public collections throughout North America. They are prominently displayed throughout the meandering paths of Elandan Gardens, often serving as stands for the bonsai. Others are carefully positioned in appropriate locations, like a sea animal jumping out of the large pond. Some large size bonsai which naturally grow in or near water like Bald cypress and Buttonwood are actually planted near the pond shoreline.
In addition to mature interesting trees with character, Dan likes stones and incorporates them both as container for his trees and also as display elements. Stones are prominently featured throughout Elandan Gardens from around the world where Dan has traveled to collect trees. His unique landscape artistry shines everywhere in the garden.
A visit to Elandan Gardens is well worthwhile to those who enjoy seeing and appreciating natural bonsai, all displayed in distinctive displays. Nature and age is apparent everywhere one looks. But, if you expect to see classical bonsai, you might be disappointed. All bonsai do not need to be shaped in the classic form. Dan’s bonsai clearly reflect and explain his respect of old and ancient trees and how he displays them among sculptures and stones. Beautiful and ancient trees, such as displayed by Dan, reflect the essence and inspiration that established bonsai art.
Age is truly appreciated at Elandan Gardens as can be seen as lichen grows on stones and the trunks of the bonsai. I thoroughly enjoyed my private tour of Elandan Gardens by Dan Robinson and have a better appreciation and understanding of ancient trees which display character.
3050 W. State Hwy 16
Bremerton, WA 98312