The North Carolina Arboretum reopens Bonsai Exhibit for the season at Sixth Annual World Bonsai Day on May 14


Tiny trees will be make a big impact this weekend as The North Carolina Arboretum, a 434-acre public garden located just south of Asheville, celebrates World Bonsai Day on Saturday, May 14, 2016. World Bonsai Day is an international event dedicated to furthering bonsai awareness and appreciation worldwide. Initiated by the World Bonsai Friendship Federation (WBFF) in honor of Mr. Saburo Kato, the world bonsai patron and founder of WBFF, World Bonsai Day is recognized annually on the second Saturday of May.

In addition to the event, the Arboretum will reopen its full bonsai display to the public for the first time in 2016; the display is located in the Arboretum’s newly renovated Bonsai Exhibition Garden. “Because plants in containers, including bonsai, are more vulnerable to freeze damage, the Arboretum’s bonsai are removed from display in the garden through the winter months and stored in an unheated shelter,” explained Arthur Joura, the award-winning bonsai curator at The North Carolina Arboretum. “World Bonsai Day is a fitting time for celebrating the return of the full bonsai display to the garden, and we are glad to once again be sharing these miniature marvels with our visitors.”

During the World Bonsai Day event, Joura will host a live demonstration from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. inside the Bonsai Exhibition Garden. The program will focus on the reintroduction of the Arboretum’s famous “Aunt Martha’s Magic Garden,” a dwarf hinoki false cypress tray landscape planting that is designed to represent a miniature cultivated garden. The widely-popular display, initially constructed in 2008, recently went through five years of rehabilitation due to a health problem with the primary tree in the arrangement. Space is limited and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Established in October 2005, The North Carolina Arboretum’s Bonsai Exhibition Garden is a world-renowned garden that hosts up to 50 bonsai specimens at a time. The garden draws inspiration from the traditional roots of Japanese gardens, but takes the form of a contemporary, Southern Appalachian influenced American garden. The Arboretum’s bonsai collection is uniquely diverse. Represented are traditional Asian bonsai subjects such as Japanese maple and Chinese elm, tropical plants such as willow-leaf fig and bougainvillea, and American species such as bald cypress and limber pine. Of particular importance are the 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.

“Our Bonsai Exhibition Garden is an extension of the Arboretum’s overall founding mission to connect people with plants,” continued Joura. “All winter, our visitors miss being able to see our bonsai collection, so we look forward to Saturday being a beautiful spring day in a garden filled with little trees and happy people.”

The North Carolina Arboretum’s Bonsai Exhibition Garden is open Monday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information about the Arboretum’s hours and exhibits, please visit

About The North Carolina Arboretum


Each year more than 500,000 visitors experience the Arboretum’s gardens, trails, exhibits and plant shows, 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 supporting resources – 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, is to cultivate connections between people and plants. A standard $12 per vehicle parking fee is required for non-members. Special events and after-hours activities may require additional fees. For more information, please call (828) 665-2492 or visit

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist.

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