Koten Engei Symposium

  • Saturday, December 12, 2020 – 9:00 am12:00 pm

Japan has had a profound influence on Western horticulture for the past 200 years or more. Many of our most popular landscape plants—azaleas, peonies, flowering cherries, hydrangeas, and so many more—were introduced from the gardens of Japan. In addition to plants, specialized horticultural techniques such as bonsai (which was itself introduced from China as penjing) and more recently ikebana have become quite popular in the United States. But perhaps the most uniquely Japanese horticultural tradition, known as koten engei, has never gained the popularity of these other art forms.

Barry Yinger, a scholar of Japanese horticulture and friend of the JCRA, says translation of koten engei is all but impossible and can perhaps be summed up as "the cult of classical plant culture." Certain plants, usually Japanese natives, with a special focus on all sorts of mutations with minor variations in variegation patterns, growth habit, and other differences are selected and displayed in pots which are often specific for certain types of plants. Plants are selected and ranked for appearance and rarity with the weakest and hardest to grow often the most desired.

The JC Raulston Arboretum is installing what we think is the first koten engei collection on display in a North American public garden. Learn more about this Japanese horticulture tradition at the JC Raulston Arboretum's Koten Engei Symposium.

koten engei


"Introduction to Koten Engei"
Hiroshige Matsuoka

"A Japanese Tradition from a Western Viewpoint"
Mark Weathington, Director, JC Rauslton Arboretum

"Traditional Plants of Koten Engei"
Ozzie Johnson, Horticulturist, Plant Collector, and Garden Designer

"Growing and Displaying Neofinettia"

koten engei illustration/painting

$10.00 for members, $20.00 for nonmembers.
Advance registration is required. Online registration opens soon. Registration is limited and is considered complete when payment is received.
Program cancellations can be made up to two weeks before the program's start date. A 15% cancellation fee applies.
Online. Instructions will be provided by e-mail to all participants.
Please contact Chris Glenn at chris_glenn@ncsu.edu for more information about this symposium.