Bonsai and Penjing

    at Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Open Memorial Day though October
10:00 AM – 4:30 PM Tuesday-Sunday
10:00 AM – 8:00 PM Wednesday

Bonsai and penjing enjoy a rich history and tradition in Chinese and Japanese cultures and their popularity continues to grow internationally. With their unique qualities of art, design, horticulture, and meditative gardening, bonsai and penjing each year draw thousands of new devotees around the world.
Photo of a bonsai tree rhgere are two main trunks twisting in different directions. The leaves are small and green. The tree is in a shallow taupe-colord pot. The tree is against a dark tunnel background and lit from the front.
Matthaei Botanical Gardens houses a permanent, dedicated bonsai and penjing garden. The garden is located behind the conservatory with an entrance from the perennial garden. The bonsai and penjing garden is free and open to the public and showcases much more of the collection than was previously possible.
Use the links to the left to learn more about our bonsai and penjing garden and our collection, or to explore the history, significance, and care of bonsai.

The current collection of bonsai and penjing at Matthaei Botanical Gardens numbers over 75. The collection began in 1977 with a gift of core specimens from the estate of Dr. Maurice Seevers, a former director of the University of Michigan Department of Pharmacology and an ardent bonsai lover.

Part of the collection now includes Satsuki bonsai azalea from donor and Michigan alumnus Dr. Melvyn Goldstein. For the past several years, Dr. Goldstein has generously shared his collection of Satsuki for a special display each June. These azaleas, prized in Japan, are a specialty of Goldstein’s. Eventually He plans to donate his complete collection of bonsai to Matthaei-Nichols. Pictured on this page is one of Goldstein’s Satsuki azalea.

Bonsai tree