The Chinese are believed to be the first to cultivate naturally dwarfed trees, called Penjing. These potted landscapes are now popularly referred to as bonsai thanks to the association with Japanese culture.
It’s an art form that caught the eye of Brooklyn, New York native Paul Graviano back in 1964.
“I went to a plant store in the neighborhood and on the counter the owner had a Juniper, a bonsai,” Graviano explained. “When I saw this bonsai, it was something I had to have.”
Bonsai: A state of mindNew York native Paul Graviano makes miniature masterpieces to create a peaceful state of mind.
His chance encounter sparked infatuation. His hobby soon turned into a business and he created Bonsai of Brooklyn. But Graviano acquired more than money from his venture. Creating his miniature masterpieces brought him to a state of mind that allowed him to endure under difficult circumstances. But it wasn’t until he defeated lung cancer that he truly learned it was, indeed, the little things in life that matter the most.
“I’m just so lucky, so blessed in so many different ways,” Graviano said. “I have the best wife that anyone has ever had, I’ve got a wife that no man deserves, but I got her.”
Full Frame visited Graviano and his bonsai trees in Brooklyn to learn how some of life’s most important lessons can come in small – and unexpected – ways.