Carolina Bonsai Expo Returns to Arboretum Oct 13-14
Story by Lena Brodsky
“Happiness is to hold flowers in both hands,” proclaims a Japanese proverb. The simplicity of this statement echoes the minimalist nature of the Japanese practices of ikebana and bonsai cultivation. Both of these revered traditions will be on display October 13–14 at the North Carolina Arboretum for its 17th annual Carolina Bonsai expo. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The event will include exhibits from bonsai enthusiasts, workshops, an ikebana demonstration, and an ikebana exhibit from the Asheville chapter of Ikebana International. The expo is free (visitors will only be charged the usual parking fee at the Arboretum, which is eight dollars per vehicle, unless they have memberships).
“This is the largest plant exhibition at the Arboretum,” says Terri Todd, the local Ikebana chapter’s liaison to the Arboretum. Terri views the exhibition as a wonderful avenue for public exposure of the art form.
The Carolina Bonsai expo at the Arboretum features two different forms of Japanese horticultural art. Practitioners of bonsai and ikebana both utilize materials found in nature to create art, and share the idea that in their pieces nothing is left to chance. Instead, they meticulously manipulate the materials (the flowers or the tree) to reach the desired effect. The major difference between the two is that bonsai is the cultivation of live trees, while ikebana is the arrangement of cut flowers and other fauna.
There will be workshops and demonstrations of the techniques of bonsai and ikebana. The event also highlights the Bonsai Exhibition Garden, a permanent fixture at the Arboretum, that features bonsai in the context of the Southern Appalachians.
Following the Bonsai Garden’s sentiment of melding a Japanese art form with the Appalachian setting, the Ikebana Exhibit, in the upstairs library of the Education Center, showcases plant materials found primarily on local farms, gardens, and nurseries.
Emiko Suzuki, a teacher in the Ikenobo School, the original school of ikebana, will give a demonstration at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 14. Emiko’s presentation will include the wildlife of western North Carolina, with a focus on local lichens.
Visit ncarboretum.org to find out more about the Carolina Bonsai Expo.