Bonsai make great friends.
Bonsai have big personalities in small packages. Their characters burst out of their small containers, beaming with pride. They respond to gentle care with exuberant growth. They are always here for you offering calm, patient beauty.
Now, more than ever, our bonsai need friends to see them, to hear their stories, and be there for them, too. The collection is here for you to enjoy, and so, they live for your attention and affection.
Find your friend.
Step 1: See the 2022 Befriendable bonsai pictured below. Click on “See More” for tree details, or “Let’s Be Friends” to go to the donation form.
Step 2: The donation form will give options to choose the bonsai you want to befriend (for yourself or as a gift for someone else). You may make your Befriend-a-Bonsai-donation one-time or monthly; whatever works for your budget!
Each Befriend-a-Bonsai level comes with special perks to keep you connected with your bonsai throughout the year. Donations of every amount are needed and appreciated. Thank you for your support!
Fagus crenata ‘Fuji’
Original Artist: Kazuhir Ohashi
A Bonsai Since: 1958
I am an old and wise Japanese Beech bonsai. While I am a deciduous tree, I don’t drop my leaves in autumn but rather I hold on tight to my beautiful rust-brown foliage until spring to protect my new leaf buds. I have smooth, white bark, a perfect tapering trunk, intricate branching, and an impeccable design that, all together, makes me one of the finest Japanese Beech bonsai in North America.
Original Artist: Toichi Domoto
A Bonsai Since: at least 1913
I was a big bonsai even on the day they brought me to San Francisco to show me off at the 1915 Panama Pacific Expo. But when my adopted family, the Domotos, were forced to leave me on my own during WWII, I tried to bust out of my container to find them. I reached down into the ground and grew even bigger. Now, I will forever know that boundless feeling.
Chinese Juniper Forest
Juniperus chinensis var. sargentii
Original Artist: T. Kawamoto
A Bonsai Since: 1972
I have many friends and have room in my heart for more. I’m a bonsai for the people. Sure, some people have the time and money to develop venerable old trees as bonsai, but I celebrate those who piece together something great from many common parts. With less at stake, there is more room for experimentation and self-expression, which I applaud. Life is about the creative journey, am I right?
Japanese Black Pine
Original Artist: Juzaburo Furuzawa
A Bonsai Since: 1945
I was a seed sent through the mail to Japanese American Mr. Furuzawa when he was unfairly incarcerated in a dusty camp during WWII just because he looked like the enemy. Mr Furuzawa planted me in a tin can and patiently watered and watched over me as I grew into a seedling. When he was released three years later, he carried me back to his home and cared for me as we both grew old together. As a seed, I symbolized strength, resilience, and longevity, and as a bonsai, I still do.
Original Artist: John Naka
A Bonsai Since: 1957
I am a Creeping Juniper bonsai. I’ve been in training since 1957 when ‘Father-of-American-Bonsai” John Naka created me from a Juniper plant that he bought in a nursery. He made me into a “raft” style bonsai by laying me on my side and training my ‘literati’ style branches upward. My branches are trained to look like individual, windswept trunks as if a tree growing in the constant breeze of a coastal environment. I’m planted into pockets in a Mexican volcanic “Wonder Rock” which makes me a “rock planting” and I’m covered with mosses and cute ferns.
Gifts & Perks
You’ll receive a special thank you and updates “from” your tree, recognition in our annual report, and our ongoing appreciation!
Gifts & Perks
All Budding Friends perks plus a one-year “Fan” level membership, an invite to a members-only appreciation reception and Curator-led tour, plus a high-quality sticker featuring your tree!
Gifts & Perks
All Budding Friends & Best Buds perks plus an invitation to Re-pot and Reconnect, a private event at the museum in the spring of 2023, and a special, hand-made, limited-edition, bonsai art screenprint.