Saturday, October 11, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday, October 12, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The North Carolina Arboretum will host the 19th annual Carolina Bonsai Expo Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12, 2014. Featuring juried exhibits by bonsai enthusiasts from a six-state region, a renowned bonsai marketplace, workshops, free demonstrations, and an ikebana exhibit provided by the Asheville Chapter of Ikebana International, the Expo is the premier annual bonsai event of the Southeast and the most popular plant show hosted by the Arboretum.

The Expo is also a perfect occasion to explore the Arboretum’s Bonsai Exhibition Garden, which offers a world-class display that innovatively establishes bonsai in the context of the Southern Appalachians. Deciduous bonsai specimens on display in the garden often feature brilliant autumn color during this time of year.

The Carolina Bonsai Expo is free for Arboretum Society members or with the standard parking fee ($12 per personal vehicle).

Participating Bonsai Clubs  

North Carolina

Blue Ridge Bonsai Club, Asheville
Bonsai Society of the Carolinas, Charlotte
Cape Fear Bonsai Society, Wilmington
Piedmont NC Bonsai Association, Winston Salem
Triangle Bonsai Society, Raleigh

South Carolina

Black Creek Study Group, Columbia


Knoxville Bonsai Society, Knoxville
Mid-Appalachian Bonsai Kai, Johnson City
Nashville Bonsai Society, Nashville


Hinoki Bonsai Club, Roanoke
Mountain Empire Bonsai Society, Wytheville
Tidewater Bonsai Club, Suffolk
Virginia Bonsai Society, Norfolk


Atlanta Bonsai Society, Atlanta


Susquehanna Bonsai Club, Harrisburg  

Bonsai Marketplace Vendors

Adams Bonsai, Lynchburg, VA
Bonsai Learning Center, Charlotte, NC
Meco Bonsai, Lancaster, PA
Meehan’s Miniatures, Rohrersville, MD
Mike Brawley Bonsai, Charlotte, NC
Nature's Way Nursery, Harrisburg, PA
Osiga Company, Ellicott City, MD
Tall Pines Bonsai, Columbia, SC
Turnbull Creek Bonsai, Burns, TN
Wild Things Bonsai Studio, Hartville, OH

Guest Artist

The 2014 Carolina Bonsai Expo guest artist is David DeGroot, of Federal Way, WA

Ask any person knowledgeable about bonsai in the US to name the top 3 public bonsai collections in the country, and the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection in Federal Way, WA will almost certainly be on the list. David DeGroot has been the curator of that collection since its inception, more than 25 year ago. He is an award-winning designer and author, who has been studying and practicing bonsai since 1972. He has studied bonsai in Japan with Yasuo Mitsuya, satsuki azaleas with Tatemori Gondo and Hayata Nakayama, and display with Uhaku Sudo. His educational journal articles have been published throughout the U.S. and in eight other countries, and his first book Basic Bonsai Design is now in its 7th printing. His new book Principles of Bonsai Design will be published this year. David is an engaging teacher and an entertaining speaker who travels widely to lecture, and has presented programs across the U.S. and in Brazil, Canada, China, England, South Africa, and Venezuela. He is active with several bonsai organizations in the Puget Sound area, and has served 2 terms on the board of directors of the American Bonsai Society. His understanding of the design principles that make bonsai an art form is matched only by his expertise in the horticultural aspect of it. David was the Expo guest artist in 1999 and we are proud to have him return!


Free Educational Programs

(All programs listed take place in the classrooms on the 1st floor of the Education Center)


Saturday, October 11th:


11:00 AM to 12:00 PM – “Expressions of Autumn”, ikebana demonstration by Sibbie Wilson, Certified Second Degree Master of the Ohara School of Ikebana. The Ohara School was founded in 1895 in Japan and is considered by many to be the first "modern" school of ikebana. Sibbie has studied with some of the leading authorities of the Ohara School and has been a member of the North American Ohara Teachers Association since its founding in 2002. She started teaching on a regular basis in 2000 and holds classes at her home in Otto and in Highland, North Carolina. She has been a Member at Large of Ikebana International since 1996 and is currently a member of the Asheville Chapter. Sibbie Wilson was the ikebana guest artist in 2009 and the Arboretum is proud to welcome her back.

Sunday, October 12th:


11:00 AM to Noon - (To be announced)



1:00 to 2:00 PM – “The Great Bonsai Debate”, discussion session with Arthur Joura, NC Arboretum Bonsai Curator, and Owen Reich, bonsai professional and proprietor of “Bonsai Unearthed”.

A subject of ongoing concern in the American bonsai community is the twofold question, “What is the state of bonsai art in the US and what might the future hold?” Owen Reich has studied bonsai in Japan, serving for 2 years as an apprentice at the Kouka-en nursery, and now makes his living traveling all over the US as a bonsai professional. He has been totally immersed in the world of high-level bonsai in Japan and has also had the opportunity to observe firsthand what is happening in American bonsai, so his opinion is well informed. Arthur Joura has been the bonsai curator at the NC Arboretum for the past 21 years, guiding the development of what has become one of the premier public bonsai collections in the country. The Arboretum’s reputation as a place where bonsai is presented differently springs from Arthur’s alternative ideas about what might be done in the art of growing miniature trees and landscapes.

Owen’s and Arthur’s conceptions of American bonsai, while sharing some similarities, differ widely on some very significant points. In this unique program, those differences will be articulated and examined, challenged and defended. Owen and Arthur approach the topic, and each other, with thoughtfulness and respect, so those hoping for a heated public brawl will likely be disappointed. But for people who care about bonsai and wonder about its future, this discussion should provide much food for thought. Audience members will have the opportunity to make their voices heard in a Q&A session in the latter part of the program.








This page is under construction. No information regarding public programs, including workshops, is currently available. Please check back in the weeks ahead for updated information, which will be released to the general public via this web site.