Posted at 5:44 AM, Feb 06, 2023
and last updated 6:58 AM, Feb 06, 2023

Thunderstruck Bonsai just got the call from the botany big leagues.

“Yep, we’re going to Disney,” said Larry Naeder, the bonsai master of Pinellas Park.

His spectacular bonsai’d ficus plant — yes, a ficus — will be featured at the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival this spring.

“It’s a common misconception that bonsai is a species of tree, when in fact it’s an art, a verb, the process of creating the illusion of a small tree,” said this Coast Guard veteran who craved a calm, serene second career.

Getting the nod from the Mouse House is a credit to Naeder and partner Courtney’s rising talents in the bonsai world.

They train — to trim, to cut, to style, to create — with some of the best bonsai masters in the world.

Thunderstruck Bonsai took off during the pandemic, when people were home, looking for hobbies, looking for relief.

“Interest in the ‘Cobra Kai’ show on Netflix totally blew us up, too,” Larry laughs.

But you won’t have to drive to Disney to appreciate the beauty and talent of Thunderstruck Bonsai.

Although visiting their nursery is by appointment only, Naeder and Courtney are now pairing up with bars and restaurants all over the Tampa Bay area for “Bonsai & Brews,” interactive events that blend botany and beer.

“You come in, you get your choice of a tree and a pot, you learn how to style it and trim it, and you get to keep that tree for years to come,” said Naeder about the family-friendly events.

For more on Thunderstruck Bonsai, including a full list of upcoming Bonsai & Brews events, click here.

Article Courtesy of ABC Action News.


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