The Kaikou School of Bonsai


The Kaikou School of Bonsai classes are taught on site at New England Bonsai Gardens by World Renown Bonsai Expert John Romano. Mr Romano has won multiple awards for his exquisite work and has been published in Bonsai Today, international Bonsai, ABS Bonsai and BCI Bonsai Magazine.

The Kaikou School focuses on bonsai study and practice, and all facets of bonsai horticulture and artistic creation will be explored. Each class will focus entirely on a specific task or concept essential to creating beautiful and healthy Bonsai, including proper reporting technique, design, wiring, pruning and more.

Seats for The Kaikou School of Bonsai are extremely limited and there’s currently a wait list to get into the program. For specific Questions about enrollment, schedule or curriculum, please contact John Romano at



Class 1 (Spring):

Repotting is covered completely as well as proper soil to use, watering, aftercare, fertilizing, etc.

Class 2 (Late Spring/Early Summer):

Bonsai styling — what am I trying to achieve? A demonstration of air—layering or other technique and printing techniques for various species

Class 3 (Summer):

Learning how to properly wire. The whole class will be focused on this technique

Class 4 (Fall):

Winter prep and pruning. Also, growing black pine bonsai

2021 CLASS SCHEDULE (Dates are still being finalized

  • April       TBD
  • June       TBD
  • Aug        TBD
  • Oct         TBD



Class 1:

Special projects Students will be encouraged to initiate a special project — start a root over rock. air layer, forests planting, planting on rock or slab, etc.

Class 2:

Continue development of our trees with emphasis on refinement, etc. Usually our field trip class.

Class 3:

Preparing a tree for display — exploring the art of display

Class 4:

Graduation! An inspiring bonsai video and lunch will accompany our graduation celebration. We often share celebration with the meeting of the Kaikou Bonsai Study group — a club started by Kaikou grads that’s a great follow up to your school experience and allows you to continue

2021 CLASS SCHEDULE (Dates are still being finalized)

  • March                           TBD
  • May                              TBD
  • Aug                              TBD
  • Dec - Graduation        TBD


What’s Expected of Kaikou Students

  • An open mind and desire to advance your knowledge and joy of bonsai
  • A commitment to the full 2 years of classes. If you miss a class, there is often a makeup available or homework to complete (one missed class is allowed to complete graduation).

What Students Can Expect of The Kaikou School

Kaikou is a Japanese word that literally means ‘unexpected encounter’ or ‘crossing paths’ in this case we will hopefully have our eyes open to the beauty or bonsai as an art and horticulture form. This is the ‘encounter of wonderment’ with bonsai and each other.

Mr. Romano will give you his full attention within the group setting and help you develop skills and knowledge.

Besides the in-class teaching, you will receive handouts to study, view videos and get guidance in your work.

In select classes special techniques will be demonstrated (air layering, grafting, starting at root over rock, etc.) Also select classes will focus on one particular variety of tree.

Soil and aluminum wire are included in the class when needed Tools are available, but we encourage you to start your own basic tool kit We can help you choose the proper tools to use.

We recommend working on your own trees, so you can observe the progress over the two years we have a large selection and can help you choose material to purchase it need be.


Artist and Professionals who have taught and visited

Artists and Professionals who have taught and visited The Kaikou School of Bonsai

  • Nick Lenz
  • Kenji Miyayta
  • Hitoshi
  • Chase
  • Kathy
  • Walter Pall
  • Warco
  • Mario Komsta
  • Mistuo Matsuda
  • Marion
  • Yuji
  • Walter Pall
  • Jim Barrett
  • Colin Lewis

About John Romano

My first experience with plants was at 4 years old, helping my Italian Grandfather plant seeds and later pruning apple, pear and lag trees in the garden.

This was my first ‘crossing path’ with trees. In 1975 I started to ‘play’ with bonsai it was more like creating a morgue for trees!

After this first foray in futility, I stumbled upon some good books and finally found New England Bonsai Gardens (then in south Natick) and my passion was rooted. I’ve had many teachers over the years, in single courses and workshops, as well as more extensive learning relationships with Kenyi Miyata at New England Bonsai Gardens and a short study period at Taisho en in Shizuoka, Japan with shohin bonsai master, Nobuichi Urushibata. I have been teaching bonsai classes and private students at New England Bonsai Gardens since 2000.

I have written various articles in major bonsai magazines, including :

  • Bonsai Today, international Bonsai, ABS Bonsai, BCI Bonsai Magazine
  • Currently writing a regular column for International Bonsai Magazine on shohin bonsai called ‘A Little Magic with Shohin Bonsai’
  • 3 trees exhibited in the Native American Bonsai Exhibition at the ABS Bonsai Symposium in Sarasota NY in 2006 (all published in the commemorative album)


  • 1997 Third Place finish in New England Bonsai Garden Member Show
  • 2000 JAL world Bonsai Contest (1 of 100 trees selected)
  • 2002 1st place at Royal Bonsai Garden Show (selected by Nick Lenz)
  • 2003 Best in Show and Special Award at Tower Hill Bonsai Exhibition
  • 2004 JAL World Bonsai Contest (1 of 100 trees selected)
  • 2005 Chase Rosade Excellence in Bonsai Award at international Bonsai Symposium
  • 2005 Best Shohin Bonsai in North America / Best Shohin Bonsai Overall;
  • North America vs Europe Bonsai Photo contest
  • 2008, 2010,2014, 2016 Trees displayed in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th us National Bonsai Exhibition and 2017 1st US National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition