Armando with his wife, Haina

Armando with his wife, Haina

ARMANDO DAL COL. Bonsai enthusiasts in Italy recognized him as one of the founding fathers of Italian bonsai. He was among the first generation, who seriously uses Italian and European native species. He has given the Japanese name for his garden: “Sei Wa Bonsai-en” (Bonsai Garden of Serenity).

In January of 1998, he moved permanently to Tarzo from Belluno, the Garden is now called “Museum Bonsai Garden of the Serenity” as it was in its aspirations. Tarzo, his hometown, is located on top of a hill and is surrounded by enchanting valley Revine Lakes and the beautiful vineyards of Prosecco Doc, and is located in Marca Trevigiana and precisely in the west between Vittorio Veneto and Conegliano.

From true pioneer, started his passion for miniature trees in the spring of 1963 off after having transferred from Longarone to Belluno starting with a peach fruit. His approach with the Bonsai was probably due to his DNA for his romantic character, a boy, in fact, liked to admire the trees flowered in the spring, extending an arm and saw the tree projected on the palm of his hand. And it was thus that the idea was born to create a miniature tree that could live in a bowl.

Armando with Hatsuji Kato (right) and John Y Naka

Armando with Hatsuji Kato (right) and John Y Naka

He has drawn his knowledge of the nature that surrounds him, Nature, in fact, was his true Master. At unaware of the existence of Bonsai learned that, coincidentally, three years later, reading an article about the first Euroflora 1966, held in Genoa every five years. Then he had a friend representative of books that cooperating with the Edagricole Bologna, and so had the opportunity to have previewing mythical and unique booklet titled “Bonsai Practical For Beginners” written by Japanese master Kenji Murata, translated on English by Gabriella Ciaffi and published in 1968 by ‘Edagricole.

With load of enthusiasm however, Armando went to the nursery of the Forestry Belluno talking to the manager, who was fascinated by simple explanations loaded with adrenaline, and the manager give him 200-300 plants of different species intended for forestation. And –after 45 years– many of those “insignificant” plants have become splendid Bonsai. [For Armando Bonsai collections, just clik  http://bursabonsai.com/armando-dal-col-collections/]

These essential news gave new impetus to the passion of Armando. His first exhibition of Bonsai and Suiseki had it in 1975, in Belluno, his adopted city, having a lot of curiosity among visitors involving other people. After a few years with a group of friends-students founded in January of 1984 BONSAI CLUB BELLUNO, the first club of Triveneto which he acting as a President until December 1997.

Armando received a visit by elementary school students in his bonsai garden.

Armando received a visit by elementary school students in his bonsai garden.

Armando mostly known in the world of bonsai because has received numerous awards and the first gold medals to major bonsai exhibitions. In 1982, the Nippon Bonsai Association (NBA) devotes a page on the official magazine of Japan “BONSAI SHUNJU” to the creation of his famous beech “Patriarch”, the bonsai destined to become famous all over the world. This beech “Patriarch” catapulted the name of Armando Dal Col as one of the best bonsai artists in the world, is considered as one of the representatives of the most prestigious Bonsai West (Europe).

Then in his travels, Armando met many different characters of bonsai master, visiting their collections and gardens, got busy attending seminars, giving workshop and demos in various countries, visited China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, ect. In 1992, in China, he has been given a name Chinese art as a sign of honor: “Lu Jing-Li Yishujia”. It’s part of the team and Bonsai Italia (UBI) Corps of Instructors. [For Armando short biography, just click http://bursabonsai.com/armando-dal-col/]

In Japan, after a break of some years, the Nippon Bonsai Association has taken over the WBFF World Bonsai Photo Contest” and since 2000 every year his bonsai and his wife (Haina) bonsai enter between one of finalists. In 2004 and 2006 his Pinus Mugo winer of WBFF World Bonsai Contest, and Glicine (owned by his wife, Haina) have received special recognition Oorata Mention of Merit –seized 4th and 5th place. In 2003 Armando received the “GOLD PLATE UBI” dell’Unione Bonsaisti Italians for contribution to the development of Bonsai in Italy in his 40 years of experience with Bonsai.

The Ptriarch (Armando Collection)

The Ptriarch (Armando Collection)

And here’s an BursaBonsai.com interview with Armando Dal Col ….

As one of the pioneers of Italian bonsai, in your observation, such as whether the trend bonsai in Italy right now?
Nowadays the Italian Bonsai has evolved considerably thanks to the choice of the starting materials. In fact, the more attention in the modeling of a plant are the workings of jin and shari modeling the stumps of cut branches to reduce the size of the tree , finishing within a scalene triangle very close and compact the green areas of branching.

Please tell us about situation the world of bonsai in Italy at 30 or 40 years ago….
Going to browse older images photographed bonsai exhibitions of those years, we are a bit’ disappointed observing the evolution of Bonsai current, since most were simple and seedlings started to become Bonsai .

Currently many emerging young master from Italy, among them like Mauro Stemberger and Stefano Frisoni … what their differences with your era?
The first thing is definitely the choice of materials. How far are those years when I left also from seed! And to think that my first seedlings were born in 1960. The youth of today are lucky compared to those who timidly approached the Bonsai 30/40 years ago, since there are many exhibitions in the country, a lot of information both in print and on the Internet, but also thanks to the demonstrations of the great masters of Japan and other nationality. I remember when my friend Mauro Stemberger from fourteen year old boy was the first time to visit my bonsai garden, still remembers the famous Beech Patriarch and the Dragon dance. Compared to Stefano Frisoni, very meticulous and precise in setting its Bonsai to make them well-defined stages, Mauro he likes more “play” with her plants, paying more attention to the materials from the massive trunks and moved .

According to your observations, such as whether the trend bonsai in the world today?
The works presented by the great contemporary artist Masahiko Kimura have influenced many artists around the world, including Japan. Nowadays, however, you notice Bonsai rather standardized in form, and also seem to have been almost all of the major trauma caused mostly by “hypothetical lightning strikes” to reduce its size. But alas, where are the proportions of branches compared to the size of the trunk?

You have a unique or funny stories during your career in the world of bonsai? Can you share with us?
I believe that each of us being in contact with nature has been particularly drawn to a tree for his imposing appearance, or for its ability to survive. Being able to create a miniature of the same tree, riplasmandolo tailored with our emotions is an achievement of unspeakable beauty. Bonsai is this, you get to understand nature in its totality, loving and taking care of a part of it. So not only technical in the way of interpreting the phenomena that shape the plants, telling their story and that of the adversities that have passed through time and won. In fact, the Bonsai is art, philosophy, love of nature interpreted , felt more than sight.

You and your wife are a unique couple, both are bonsai artist, both have won awards. How did you get to meet Haina which are Filipinos?
On the occasion of my trip to the Philippines invited by the master Metilla Serapion, who eager to introduce some fans and collectors of Bonsai area of Metro Manila, invited me to share my experiences with them.
I met my wife Haina on an island in the Philippines where in living memory have been the first European to set foot; particularly struck me the dignity of her and hers family while being an absolute poverty . After a month after our meeting, we were married on Valentine’s Day in Manila in 1987. Once in Italy, Haina was struck from my collection of Bonsai, and gradually fell in love following me in the daily care, learning the various techniques used by me. In addition to life companion and disciple, Haina has a great enthusiasm and a deep love for nature , trying to interpret it without distorting it!
And now my thoughts as a tribute to Nature : It ‘ nice to feel the wind that is sweetened by the flowers of green pastures. And as leaves, I let myself be lulled by the wind, from my sgusciandomi be material, to go on a date in the blue. ::::

Armando Bonsai Garden

Armando Bonsai Garden

“FEED ME, SEYMOUR!” [fertilizer]


  1. Mimo Gerome says:

    Sempre saluto per i nostri anziani, Armando Dal Col

  2. Gianluigi Art Bonsai says:

    For us, Armando is a great-master. His hundreds of tree species collection often be a reference for us, rare and many.

  3. Rosaline Perrini says:

    fornisce la vasta e infinita ispirazione

  4. Lloyd Morvant says:

    This is really interesting, you’re a very skilled writer. I look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!


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