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Tiny Trees Receive Big Recognition at Arboretum

Bonsai RS

The North Carolina Arboretum, a 434-acre public garden located within the Pisgah National Forest, will host its annual Carolina Bonsai Expo on Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11, 2015 in the Arboretum’s Baker Exhibit Center and Education Center buildings. This nationally-known event features juried exhibits by bonsai enthusiasts hailing from a seven-state region, including five clubs from North Carolina. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase live bonsai plants and supplies at the Expo’s bonsai marketplace, participate in bonsai workshops, watch free demonstrations, and attend an ikebana exhibit provided by the Asheville Chapter of Ikebana International. In its 20th year, the Carolina Bonsai Expo is the premier annual bonsai event of the Southeast and the most popular plant show hosted by the Arboretum.

“For anyone in the Southeast region who has even a passing interest in bonsai, the Carolina Bonsai Expo is a must-attend event,” explains Arthur Joura, bonsai curator at The North Carolina Arboretum. “In the past, we’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from attendees and also Arboretum visitors who were not initially aware of the event, but found all of the show happenings fascinating and exciting. This event is suited for everyone!”

Each year, the Carolina Bonsai Expo highlights the talents of special guest artists who have earned a reputation for educational excellence. This year’s guest artist will be Walter Pall of Munich, Germany. Pall is one of the leading figures in Western bonsai art, and travels the world instructing students, headlining conventions and expanding the horizons of bonsai. He is highly experienced in both Naturalistic Style and Modern Style bonsai and is the first three-time guest artist in Carolina Bonsai Expo history.

“Bonsai is not a duplication of nature; it is an artistic interpretation of nature, which is a big difference,” said Walter Pall, guest artist of the Carolina Bonsai Expo. “Bonsai is done in gardens but it goes beyond regular gardening methodologies. Essentially, a bonsai artist becomes a sculptor of living plants, which is an extremely difficult yet rewarding experience.”

The Arboretum’s Carolina Bonsai Expo offers programs for both the bonsai community and general public. Some events require pre-registration and fees. The Expo’s free educational programs are open on Saturday, October 10 from 11:00 a.m. – Noon and on Sunday, October 11 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. inside the Education Center. For a full list of program offerings and times, please visit The Carolina Bonsai Expo is free for Arboretum Society members or with the standard parking fee ($12 per personal vehicle.)

In addition to the Expo’s 20th anniversary, this year, the Arboretum also celebrates the 10 year anniversary of its Bonsai Exhibition Garden. Established in October 2005, the Bonsai Exhibition Garden is a world-renowned garden that draws inspiration from the traditional roots of Japanese gardens, but takes the form of a contemporary, Southern Appalachian influenced American garden. The garden hosts up to 50 bonsai specimen at a time and includes traditional Asian bonsai subjects such as Japanese maple and Chinese elm, tropical plants such as willow-leaf fig and powderpuff, and American species such as bald cypress and limber pine. Of particular importance are the Garden’s plants native to the Blue Ridge region, such as American hornbeam and eastern white pine, which enable the Arboretum to bring the thousand-year tradition of bonsai home to the mountains of Western North Carolina. During the colder, winter months, many of the bonsai plants are kept inside the Arboretum’s production greenhouse and returned to the outdoor garden on World Bonsai Day, an annual event celebrated on the second Saturday of May.

“The Bonsai Exhibition Garden is the full realization of the Arboretum’s unique approach to bonsai,” continues Joura. “People who are unfamiliar with how bonsai is presented elsewhere might not be aware of how differently it is done at the Arboretum. Visitors will not find this anywhere else but in Asheville.”

For more information on the Arboretum’s garden exhibits and plant shows, please visit

About The North Carolina Arboretum

Each year more than 500,000 visitors experience the Arboretum’s gardens, trails, exhibits, shows and expos, educational programs, demonstrations and lectures. The Arboretum’s ability to meet its mission and enrich the visitor experience is made possible by a community of supporters—from members, volunteers and staff to state and local funds, tribute gifts, grants, and community partners.

The central mission of The North Carolina Arboretum, an affiliate institution of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system and located within the Pisgah National Forest, is to cultivate connections between people and plants. Shows and events are free for Arboretum Society members or with the standard parking fee ($12 per personal motor vehicle). Special events and after-hours activities may require additional fees. For more information, please call (828) 665-2492 or visit

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