Harold (Hal) Sasaki was born and raised in Kona on the island of Hawaii. His interest in bonsai began at age 18 and for the past 65 years Mr. Sasaki has taught not only the science behind the living art, but the heart and spirit of bonsai. “You must understand the horticulture before you can focus on the art,” says Harold. “I’m still learning the art of bonsai. Then we go beyond the art to the heart of bonsai.”
He left Hawaii to attend college in Northern California where he studied vocational forestry, later studying recreational forestry at Colorado State University. Although he would leave forestry to work as a stockbroker, bonsai continued to be a passion.
In 1977, Harold started teaching bonsai classes at the Denver Botanical Garden where he continues to be their lead instructor. Since 1980, Harold has conducted workshops and demonstrations across the United States and Canada. He is a frequent lecturer/demonstrator at national, regional, and international conventions and seminars. He is a Master in collecting, training, and creating bonsai. Sasaki believes he got some of his horticultural skills from his father Taketo Sasaki, who gardened and grew tropical bonsai until he was 100 years old. He was recently featured in 5280 Magazine for not only his accomplishments but as a teacher and mentor of not only world-class bonsai masters, but also beginners and seasoned bonsaists.
Harold is a past President of the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society (RMBS), Honorary Lifetime Member and served on the RMBS Advisory Board since 1976. He served on the Board of Directors for the American Bonsai Society for six years.
In 1985, he decided to expand his hobby into a full-time business when he opened Colorado Bonsai Ltd. in his backyard. What began as a one-greenhouse enterprise is now a wholesale nursery (small but mighty) with thousands of plants onsite. He holds a U.S. patent on his bonsai training ladder and continues to improvise new techniques in the evolving art of bonsai.
His mission in life is to “demystify” the art of bonsai so more people can experience the enjoyment that comes from successfully growing this fascinating living art form. He is passionate about connecting with nature, deeply respecting and nurturing life, and experiencing the calmness and peace that come with this meditative form of art and beauty. He supports the beauty that lies in the eyes of the beholder. He holds “being in the flow”, seeing each plant, each person as unique as core values. He believes that we receive what we put into ourselves, our environment, and into each other. Love, honor, and respect one another.