North Carolina Arboretum: 2 of 2, Bonsai Exhibition House

Bonsai, "Yoshimura Island," American Hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana

I've been to the Asheville area a couple of times over the past several years. I try to visit the North Carolina Arboretum each time I'm in the area, but I don't always get the chance. On this visit, I was struck by the new Bonsai Exhibition House, which is across the courtyard from the Visitor Education Center, the main building on the site. If you find yourself anywhere in the Asheville area, and have any interest in plants or gardens, this should be a stop during your visit.

The design and layout of the "House" is impressive. All of the specimens are displayed outdoors, at least at this time of year. In past years, they've been available for viewing in one of the greenhouses, which is located about a mile down the road from the Visitor Center.

It's really an outdoor garden demonstrating different classical Japanese and Chinese garden design principles, with explanatory signage along the way. There's a winding wheelchair-accessible path which can be accessed from either the upper entrance, near the Visitor Center, or the lower entrance.

Lower Entrance, Bonsai Exhibition House, NC ArboretumDSC_2500


There are also walls with lots and lots of shelves and nooks for displaying the bonsai. The poured, formed concrete is a minimalist neutral grey, which serves as a non-distracting backdrop for the bonsai, highlighting their textures, colors, and forms.


Finally, the individual specimens are exemplary and exquisite, covering every form, from snags, to broad, fully-leaved single specimens, to groves, and even complete forests in miniature. One even benefited from a visiting "dragon" while we were there.




The Flickr photo set


Kati said...

Absolutely fascinating. I have been to Ashville two or three times, always to see the Vanderbilt mansion. Now I have another great reason to visit the area!

Unknown said...

Oh wow... I feel like I really have to go see this in person. I especially love the color on the Virginia Sweetspire bonsai--not something I would have thought to bonsai, that's for sure!