A native of Memphis, Joe began his bonsai career at age eleven, eventually working part time at Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery. In 1987 Joe took an opportunity to study for four years with Makoto Hashimoto at the Kanuma Nature and Bonsai Park in Kanuma, Japan, specializing in azaleas and azalea bonsai where he became an acknowledged expert on this species.
In 1990 Joe returned to Brussel’s where he helped them become one of the largest importers of bonsai into North America. In 1996 he relocated to Boring, Oregon, headquarters of Iseli Nursery. There he established the Matsunami-en Division which imported and developed high quality bonsai. Currently, Joe manages one of Iseli’s commercial plant divisions, conducts bonsai workshops in the Portland, Oregon region, and maintains a high quality personal bonsai collection.
For his Friday afternoon workshop, Joe has hand-selected a number of Satsuki Azalea ‘Kegon’ from Brussels.