Bonsai in Brevard – July 2023

Companion Planting Demonstration – Adding Some Accents to your Bonsai display

On July 15, our club is honored to welcome Jeanne Cosenza (see bio below) to present a demonstration on Kusamono, Shitakusa and Kokedama composition. Jeanne will create 2 Kusamono/Shitakusa that will be raffled at the end of the program.

Accent or companion plantings are shown alongside our bonsai tree to complement the tree when exhibited. The Japanese words Kusamono, Shitakusa and Kokedama are often used to describe the specific types of accent plantings. They are placed near the bonsai and bring another element of nature to the display, adding visual interest or telling a story about the scenery being depicted with the display.

Jeanne Consenze Bio

Jeanne Cosenza has been passionately immersed in bonsai culture for more than seven years, she is the Bonsai Society of Florida (BSF) Districts 5 & 7 Trustee and co-chaired the 2022 BSF Convention Exhibit. She has participated in numerous workshops, and studied under the nation’s top Kusamono, Shitakusa and Kokedama instructors.
Four years ago, as a BSF Exhibit assistant, Jeanne’s reputation for making beautiful accents led to her being commissioned to make six Shitakusa displays for the exhibit. Her accent pieces drew such acclaim, it inspired BSF to create an award for the discipline and kickstarted her remarkable journey into the world of Kusamono.
When Young Choe, arguably the nation’s leading Kusamono authority, sought out someone to represent Florida for her special Kusamono exhibit at the 2021 U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition in New York, two names kept coming up: Martha Goff and Jeanne Cosenza.

All told, Jeanne made 10 Kusamono displays for New York, and when a handful of bonsai entries were forced to drop last-minute from the exhibit due to Covid-19, Bill Valavanis used many of Jeanne’s Kusamono to fill the void. Young was so enamored with one of the pieces that Jeanne gifted it to her, and Young promptly displayed it alongside Mary Madison’s famous buttonwood at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the U.S. Arboretum in Washington D.C.

In 2022, Jeanne won the Best Companion Award at the BSF Convention Exhibit, and has given numerous demonstrations on Shitakusa, Kusamono and Kokedama.


Kusamono (literally “grass thing”) and Shitakusa (literally “undergrass”) are potted collections of plants designed to be viewed either in accompaniment with bonsai or alone. They are arrangements of wild grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays selected to suggest a season or place. Kusamono refers to a Japanese botanical art that developed alongside bonsai. The name is composed of two Japanese characters– “grass” and “thing”—which together suggest humble, everyday plants.

Kokedama is a Japanese variant of bonsai that has become popular in recent years. It is a ball of soil, covered with moss, on which an ornamental plant grows. The idea has its origins in Nearai, Japan where it was used to display plants without pots.

Club Meetings

Our club holds meetings at the Melbourne Public Library on the third Saturday of each month at 1pm.

Please read about our club meetings and reasons why you should join a club.

The Bonsai Society of Brevard is one of the many clubs within the Bonsai Societies of Florida.