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The North Carolina Arboretum Bonsai Garden

During a spring visit to The North Carolina Arboretum we came across the Bonsai Garden.

The garden included bonsai specimens planted both in the ground and displayed in pots.

The plants were accented with various posters describing the art and beauty of bonsai.


Bonsai Exhibition Garden at
The North Carolina Arboretum...

Bonsai Exhibition Garden
  

Welcome to the Bonsai
  Exhibition Garden...

a place designed to enhance your
enjoyment of bonsai art. Our Bonsai
Garden distinctly blends the designs
of Asian tradition with the Southern
Appalachian environment to create
a unique experience.

When you enter here, become small...

Open your mind to the possibility
that the greatest mysteries of life
can be found in a single, tiny leaf.

  
maple bonsai
 

deciduous bonsai tree

 

 

From "basin"(pun) and "to plant" (tsaj) - Middle Chinese

Bonsai (pronounced 'bone-sigh')
first appeared in China over one thousand
years ago as an art of growing dwarfed, ornamentally shaped
trees or shrubs in small shallow containers. These early
specimens were shaped like animals, dragons, and birds,
far from the natural shapes common today.

Introduced to Japan around 1199 AD, this art form was
refined and became a symbol of prestige displayed indoors
 on special shelves for special occasions. With the end of
global isolation, Japan presented bonsai at the Paris
Exhibition in 1900, exposing the world to bonsai.

Soon demand for bonsai began to grow, especially in the US.
Capitalizing on this interest the Japanese opened nurseries
dedicated to the cultivation and export of the trees. Since the
late 20th century bonsai has evolved to reflect the variety of
countries, cultures and conditions in which it is now practiced.
Many of the bonsai you will see here are representative of
the native species and character of Southern Appalachia.

  

windswept bonsai evergreen

 

small bonsai tree

 
Japanese Maple bonsai - Acer palmatum
 

  

The Truth About Bonsai

There is an image of bonsai as a mystical,
magical practice belonging to an ancient
culture, requiring apprenticeship to a
master and knowledge of foreign terms.

Bonsai is actually an engaging, challenging,
intimate form of horticulture, that functions
as a form of creative expression.

Based on a one-on-one relationship
between a person and a plant, it requires
practice, persistence and patience.

Bonsai gardeners lovingly tend to their
subjects, and the plants respond with health
and beauty. The art of bonsai is a study in
vitality, produced by the thoughtful and
careful management of perpetual growth.

 

ROAN MOUNTAIN

 

long needled pine bonsai

 

tall bonsai

 

"The world of bonsai is miniature, but the natural world that it evokes is boundless." Arthur Joura, Bonsai Curator

 

bonsai grove of trees

 

squatty pine bonsai

 

Serviceberry bonsai

  

Living Art

  

Living Art

Perhaps due to bonsai's historic
origins, many people hold the
misconception that these trees are
elite Asian art objects. Bonsai are
actually ordinary plants cultivated in
a special way, grown in a container
or on a slab.

Some famous specimens are
hundreds of years old, but excellent
bonsai are also made from much
younger plants. A wide variety of
plant species from almost anywhere
in the world can be used for this
purpose.

Since bonsai are living plants
that are constantly changing and
growing, unlike a piece of sculpture,
a gardener may continually direct
the bonsai's shape, appearance
and growth rate.

 

ornamental rocks in a bonsai garden

 

stone
  
STONE

The extensive use of
native stone in the garden
evokes the experience of
a mountain environment,
in keeping with the
Arboretum's Southern
Appalachian setting.
Stone is also used to
suggest a "dry stream,"
running from the upper end
of the garden to a "pool" at
the lower end.
  

 

manmade dry stream bed

 

dry stream
  
DRY STREAM

This stream bed is intended to
be dry, the only time it carries
water is when it rains. With a dry
stream the water is suggested.
The water must be supplied by
your imagination.

The element of suggestion
and the accompanying need for
imagination are essential parts
of the bonsai experience. In the
bonsai view of nature, what is
not there can be as important
as what is.
  

 

bonsai and dry stream

 
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