Feature Gallery

Feature Gallery


The Bonsai of Robert Kempinski

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Bonsai are like potato chips, no one can have just one. Unfortunately I found this out too late. Now my yard in my home in Melbourne, Florida is full of potato chips, rather bonsai trees. It started innocently enough when I first spied bonsai trees in person in 1982 at the Seoul House in Korea. The small microcosms of nature planted a seed, but I was a US Army officer then and couldn't pursue the art. Years later after starting a family and working closely with the Japanese Space Agency, I got acquainted with Japanese language and culture. The seed finally sprouted via a Live Oak acorn found in my yard. Thirteen years later my first tree is still alive and in a bonsai pot although due for a major restyle to fix some errors made way back then. Many other trees have since joined the oak as I have seriously pursued the art. Neighbors frequently spy me working by flashlight in the dark on my trees as I spend my daylight hours as a Director of Engineering at the Cape Canaveral Space Center for Computer Sciences Corporation, a US Fortune 500 Company. The tranquil pruning and shaping of bonsai serves as a perfect antidote to the count down induced stress of launching rockets and satellites.

Living in central Florida, USA, my collection is a mix of tropical and temperate trees that can take the heat of our summers and very mild winters. I especially like Buttonwood, Japanese Black Pine and Willow Leaf Ficus trees. I've had the good fortune to travel extensively around the US and the world visiting bonsai gardens and exhibitions. Lately I have been traveling sharing my knowledge and approach to bonsai, which as you can tell from my opening is both light hearted but earnest.

Due to my career I have had lots of leadership experience and have applied that to various bonsai organizations. Presently I am the 1st Vice President of Bonsai Clubs International. It is my desire to apply professional business acumen to improve BCI operations and subsequently the value of BCI membership. In doing so BCI will be able to help promote and elevate the art of bonsai across the globe.

Bonsai and photographs by Robert Kempinski unless otherwise stated.

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

"Tsunami"
Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus)
26 inches high, Japanese pot

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Simpaku Juniper (Juniperus chinesis shimpaku/sargentii)
Itogawa foliage grafted on to J. San Jose trunk
7 inches high, pot by Robert Kempinski

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Willow leaf Ficus (Ficus nerifolia 'Wasabi')
8 inches wide, signed Japanese pot

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Firethorn (Pyracantha sp)
8 inches high, Chinese pot

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Firethorn (Pyracantha sp)
8 inches high, pot by Sara Rayner

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergi)
18 inches high, pot by Robert Kempinski

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

"Dragons Tail"
Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergi)
36 inches high, Japanese pot
Photo by Joseph Mullan

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)
20 inches high, Japanese pot

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus)
9 inches wide, pot by J. Baccus

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Golden Gate Ficus (Ficus microcarpa retusa 'Kinmen')
33 inches wide, Florida limestone slab

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distictum)
28 inches high, Japanese pot
Collected from Hollopaw Florida in 2001

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Golden Gate Ficus (Ficus microcarpa retusa 'Kinmen')
Shohin, Japanese volcano rock, Chinese pot

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Satsuki Azalea Wakbisu Sweet Lorrain (Guy Guidry's patented variety)
pot by Gus Miller

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis)
Shohin, Japanese pot

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica 'Pokomoke')
Shohin, pot by Horst Heinzreitler

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

Winged Elm (Ulmus alata)
Shohin, Hand signed Japanese pot
Grown from a seed for 12 years

Robert Kempinski's Bonsai Gallery

"Dante's Inferno"
Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus)
39 inches wide, Chinese pot
Winner of the World Bonsai Contest
Photo by Joseph Mullan

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