2022 Bonsai Collection Management and Curation Internship

September 23, 2022 Horticulture Department

When I moved from Michigan to Denver for this internship for bonsai curation, I was considering four potential career paths post-graduation. That number has doubled because of my experiences working in the Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion at Denver Botanic Gardens. The main project throughout the internship was photo-documenting the entire bonsai collection and updating the database entries associated with each tree. I also shaped, wired, repotted and styled a few trees and rearranged many of the trees in the pavilion itself. These experiences gave me a deeper understanding of design principles, the day-to-day workings of a botanic garden and allowed me to meet the amazing people who work and volunteer here at the Gardens. 

One of the highlights of the internship was the education we received in weekly field trips and garden exchange experiences. As an intern cohort, we explored different ecological zones of Colorado, learned about different plant families and identification in the wild and talked to various garden curators to learn about the design and maintenance of their gardens through seasonal changes. 

Through the summer, my curiosity grew regarding the work of other departments. My mentor, Bonsai Specialist Larry Jackel, encouraged me to arrange meetings with the directors and staff of different departments to learn from them about their jobs and responsibilities. These meetings were invaluable and helped me understand the bigger picture of what this garden does for the Denver community and the world. 

Between the projects in the Bonsai Pavilion, the educational opportunities throughout the summer and the wonderful leaders in different departments that I was able to meet with, I have grown as a horticulturist and as an individual. This experience helped me to recognize the options available to me after graduation are vastly more varied and interesting than I had previously thought. 

This article was contributed by Kelly Taylor, the 2022 Bonsai Curation Intern.


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