Mark Fields – Indiana – USA
Name: Mark Fields
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Availability: By appointment
Willingness to Travel: Will travel with certain restrictions. Have passport.
Programs Offered: Novice through advanced techniques. Nice to have a group who know something about bonsai.
Teaching Level: Advanced
Specialty: Grove plantings, trident maple, Chinese elm, Japanese beech, etc.
Languages Spoken: English
Best way to Contact: maf71459 [at] gmail [dot] com
Bio: My passion for bonsai began at about age 9. I was born in 1959 and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. My dad was a landscape contractor, as I am today. He used to purchase and dig nursery stock from a nursery, Line’s Nursery, down the street from where we lived. Occasionally, I would go with him and was wandering around the nursery one day and found little mugho pines, which the nursery owner had lined out and was training in the ground. I asked the owner, Mr. Line, what he was doing with them and he said that he was training them as bonsai. I began asking him more about them and visited him more often. One day he loaned me two books he owned from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, “Handbook on Bonsai: Special Techniques” and “Handbook on Dwarfed Potted Trees, The Bonsai of Japan” and told me that I would learn more if I read them. He showed me how to start and grow plants from cuttings, how to prune properly and other skills I would practice as I grew older
My dad used to bring home shrubs in the back of his truck which were removed from a job and discarded. When I saw an interesting looking trunk or shape I would remove it from the truck and pot it up. Most would die within days, some would survive for at least that years growing season. It was great practice and I learned a lot.
When I married and moved out of my house into a double in 1979 I moved my bonsai there. The neighbor next door noticed that I was a bonsai enthusiast and told me his father-in-law used to do bonsai. He introduced me to his wife and she told me her dad was Walter Line and used to own a nursery. I told her that he was the one that got me started in bonsai and that he had loaned me his two Brooklyn Botanic Garden handbooks more than a decade before. She told me to wait a minute and went into the house. A few minutes later she brought out those very same books and gave them to me. They are now a part of my book collection and I still use them as a reference to this day.
About that same time I discovered a bonsai nursery on the southeast side of Indy called Mendel Gardens. There I began a relationship with the owner, Max Mendel. He sold starter trees, supplies, offered free advice and critiqued my trees when I brought them in. I spent many weekends wandering around his nursery and he taught me much of what I know about bonsai today. I called him the father of bonsai in Indiana. He introduced me to the Indianapolis Bonsai Club, which I joined. I have been a member of that organization since 1979 and am presently the president. Max passed away in the mid 1990’s and I bought a few of his trees and his personal set of Masakuni tools which I treasure.
I worked for a major pharmaceutical company here in Indy for almost 30 years and recently retired and am now a stay at home dad. owned and operated my own landscape business, Fields Landscape Concepts, LLC, which I founded in 1983 and recently closed. I have sold bonsai, pre-bonsai and supplies to club members and fellow enthusiasts since the 80’s and have recently started doing demo’s lectures and workshops specializing in trident maples, Japanese maples, zelkova’s and Chinese elms. I am married, for the second time, with 2 grown children from my first marriage and a granddaughter. My wife Allison delivered twins, a boy and a girl, in November 2007.
With the twins coming along, I was looking for something to do at home rather than being gone every evening landscaping. With some prompting from my wife and IBC club members I decided to start this website and open a new business, named “Bonsai by Fields, LLC”, where I will offer advice, grow, sell and ship bonsai, pre-bonsai and supplies.
More about this Artist: I traveled to Laarne, Belgium in April of 2009 to study with European bonsai master, Danny Use for 2 weeks. I have studied with many masters and artists over the past 41 years. Everyone from John Naka to Bjorn Bjorholm.