August 2016: Bonsai

An example of a Bonsai tree


At The Morton Arboretum we recognize the benefits of being close to nature, whether you are able to walk among towering trees in your neighborhood, or you tend to a small container of cherry tomatoes on a windowsill in your apartment. The centuries-old art of Bonsai, the cultivation of miniature trees through pruning and sculpting, sprang from nature—in areas of high elevation or poor soil quality, stunted specimens of larger species survived for decades, never reaching full height. Through careful planning and patient attention, a Bonsai should achieve proportions identical to those of its full-sized counterpart. These stately trees provide an opportunity for anyone to carve out their own natural haven, even if it extends only as far as their coffee table.

At the Arboretum

Come to the Arboretum on the weekend of August 6 and 7, 2016 to experience the Destination Asia Festival! Enjoy live music, dancing, and demonstrations of martial arts and Sumo. Participate in Aviana Aerial Yoga or learn origami and indulge in Asian inspired cuisine at the Ginkgo Restaurant.

The Destination Asia Festival

During the Destination Asia Festival, join the Prairie State Bonsai Society for an exhibition of Bonsai.

The Art of Bonsai

You can try your hand at cultivating Bonsai yourself by participating in any of the workshops below:
Bring Your Own Tree Workshop

Shohin Sea Hibiscus

Shimpaku Juniper

Conifers: Spruce and Pine

Tiger Bark Ficus

(Please note that these workshops require registration and a fee.)


“A good Bonsai is one that successfully conveys the image of a mature tree, but which on inspection, proves to be a physical abbreviation and an artistic expression of the species in nature. The magnetic charm of the classical Bonsai is achieved through the use of techniques that are effected for both horticultural and aesthetic reasons. The trained or experienced Bonsai designer will, when seeing a Bonsai, immediately recognize the various steps involved in its creation and, equally, when envisaging a new design, will quite unconsciously select the relevant techniques.” Peter D. Adams, The Art of Bonsai, page 7

Library Resources

Kamuti: A New Way in Bonsai by Willi E. Bollmann

Bonsai: Miniature Potted Trees by Kyuzo Murata

Bonsai for Americans: A Practical Guide to the Creation and Care of Miniature Potted Trees by George Frederick Hull

Miniatures and Bonsai by Philip Perl

Bonsai and Stone Appreciation Magazine

Bonsai: Journal of the American Bonsai Society