About Lew Buller

About the Author:

Lew Buller

San Diego, California

Lew Buller

Lew Buller and his favourite Cypress.
Photo by Eitan, the Apprentice, 8 June, 2014

Lew Buller discovered bonsai and the San Diego Bonsai Club at the age of 59. He took lessons from Ernie Kuo, Ted Matson, Pat Brodie and Kathy Shaner at the San Diego Wild Animal Park Bonsai Pavilion. He also spent time with Frank Goya and Warren Hill (He spent a week at the National Arboretum doing whatever Warren asked), attended state-wide conventions and national conventions, and traveled to New Hope, PA to spend a day with Chase Rosade.

With a Ph. D. in Accountancy, Finance, and Economics and 15 years experience teaching at different universities, created a strong foundation for his bonsai practice and his quest for knowledge that began with a chance encounter when he was a G.I in the US Army.

Stationed in Japan at the end of the Korean War, I saw my first bonsai and decided then and there that someday I would try my hand. The opportunity came when I moved to California. After five years as a Controller for a billion-dollar mortgage lending company, I retired early when the company was sold, did a few odd jobs, and wandered about aimlessly until I found the San Diego Bonsai Club. California was and is a hotbed of bonsai masters and students—where else would I get such an opportunity—and the weather makes it possible to grow over a long season.”


Lew up a tree
“I only quit climbing trees in my 70s when my doctor absolutely
forbid me from climbing trees after seeing the photo
with me standing at the top of a stepladder.” Lew Buller

Lew has embraced bonsai and bonsai education with a passion. He even worked part time with an arborist for 14 years to learn as much as possible about trees. What he learned in bonsai through his travels around the US and the many bonsai masters he has met and worked with, he has had the discipline and skills to document his experiences and insights for the benefit of his readers and fellow students. Lew has contributed over 50 articles to national bonsai magazines, and coauthored with Phan Van Lit, Mountains in the Sea: The Vietnamese Miniature Landscape Art of Hon Non Bo, 2001. In 2005 Lew wrote, Saikei and Art: Miniature Landscapes.
In 2010 Mr. I C. Su, President of Bonsai Clubs International, awarded Lew Buller the Meritorious Service Award.

From 2008 to 2012, Lew served on the editorial staff of BCI Bonsai & Stone Appreciation Magazine, contributing many articles and helping with copy editing and proof reading.

Lew’s Lessons presented here are Lew’s generous contribution to the BCI website as he continues to educate and inform with his own style that is based on real life experiences and what he has learned from his many teachers. Whether you are new to bonsai or have been at it for a while, explore Lew’s lessons to see what you can learn from this ardent and passionate student of bonsai.