“one of Washington's key attractions for plant lovers”
The miniature masterpieces that we call bonsai and penjing are the pinnacle of gardening skill, and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum has one of the largest collections of these timeless trees in North America. The Japanese art of bonsai, and its precursor, the Chinese art of penjing, are rooted in the traditions of Asian culture. The placement of branches, styling, and the pot all convey deep symbolism and reverence for nature. The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum began when Japanese bonsai enthusiasts in the Nippon Bonsai Association donated 53 bonsai and 6 viewing stones to the people of the United States to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976. The collection has grown steadily with the addition of pieces from American bonsai masters and penjing from China. Today, 3 pavilions house about 150 plants. The International Pavilion is a focal point that celebrates the related art forms of viewing stones and ikebana, a Japanese style of flower arranging. Throughout the year, you may also find exhibits featuring the work of local bonsai enthusiasts and pieces from the permanent collection with special seasonal interest in the Special Exhibits Wing of the International Pavilion.
I stumbled on this place a few years back, and was awed by what I saw there. I never thought bonsai was anything more than tiny trees, but the plants on exhibit here were surprising, even awesome. (And don't miss the old capital columns, elsewhere on the Arboretum grounds.)
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National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
- Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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