Bjorn Bjorholm with Shishigashira Maple

TINY TREES MAKE BIG IMPACT — The 23rd annual Carolina Bonsai Expo will be Oct. 13 – 14 at the NC Arboretum. Pictured is featured guest artist and leading bonsai expert and instructor, Bjorn Bjorholm, with the Shishigashira maple.

The North Carolina Arboretum will celebrate the unique art of bonsai at its 23rdannual Carolina Bonsai Expo, Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14.

Thousands of people are expected to attend this nationally known event, which features juried bonsai displays from 15 organizations around the Southeast, including five clubs from North Carolina. 

Arboretum members and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in bonsai workshops, watch free demonstrations and purchase bonsai plants and supplies. In addition, the Asheville Chapter of Ikebana International will host a special ikebana exhibition throughout the weekend, as well as an ikebana flower arranging demonstration Saturday, Oct. 13. As the premier annual bonsai event of the Southeast, the Carolina Bonsai Expo is one of the Arboretum’s most popular annual plant shows.

This year’s featured guest artist is leading bonsai expert and instructor Bjorn Bjorholm. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Bjorholm is one of the top up-and-coming bonsai professionals in the world. He began bonsai at the young age of 13 and attended his first Carolina Bonsai Expo at the Arboretum at age 15. He spent six years as an apprentice under Master Keiichi Fujikawa at Kouka-en bonsai nursery in Osaka, Japan, before receiving certification as a bonsai professional by the Nippon Bonsai Association. 

After Bjorholm’s tenure as an apprentice at Kouka-en, he spent three years as an artist-in-residence at the same location, making him the first and only foreign-born working bonsai professional in Japan. During his time in Japan, Bjorn’s works were featured in the Kokufu-ten, Sakufu-ten and Taikan-ten exhibitions, among many others. He is now the owner of Eisei-en Bonsai Garden in Nashville.

“We are excited to welcome Bjorn and have him as our featured artist for this year’s Carolina Bonsai Expo,” said Arthur Joura, bonsai curator at The North Carolina Arboretum. “In the early days of the Expo, a young Bjorn would come here as a visitor with his dad. It means so much to the Arboretum to have him return now as an internationally accomplished bonsai authority and share his talent and knowledge with our audience.” 

As part of the Expo, programs will be offered for both the bonsai community and general public. The “Main Event” guest artist program will be held the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 13 (registration is required). 

A free demonstration focused around tray landscape bonsai will be offered from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, The Bonsai Marketplace will be held throughout the weekend and will feature a variety of bonsai plants and supplies available for purchase.

For a full list of program offerings and times, please visit  Admission to the Carolina Bonsai Expo is free; standard parking fees for non-members apply.

“The Carolina Bonsai Expo has grown significantly over the past 23 years,” Joura said. “Just as Bjorn Bjorholm matured into one of the important figures in American bonsai, the Expo has become one of the country’s most important bonsai events.”

The North Carolina Arboretum, a 434-acre public garden just south of downtown Asheville, is home to one of the finest bonsai displays in the Southeast. Its outdoor Bonsai Exhibition Garden features up to 50 specimen at a time and is on display May through October. The collection draws inspiration from the traditional roots of bonsai, but takes the form of a contemporary, Southern Appalachian influenced American garden. During the winter months, the Arboretum exhibits a special tropical bonsai display in its Baker Exhibit Center Greenhouse, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

For information on the Arboretum’s garden exhibits and plant shows, visit www.ncarboretum.orgor call 665-2492. A standard $14 per vehicle parking fee is required for non-members. Special events and after-hours activities may require additional fees. 

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