The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
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Bonsai & Penjing Collection

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Copyright Carlos Diaz

Care of our collection

Our collection consists of 72 specimens: 57 cold-hardy specimens and 15 indoor tropical and sub-tropical specimens. The cold-hardy plants are placed in an over-wintering cold frame the first week in November. The pots are buried and the cold frames covered with a top that allows snow and rain yet no direct sun to the trees below. In the first week of April they are moved from the cold frame to an outdoor ground holding area at which time a flurry of root pruning and re-potting occurs for designated specimens. By mid-April the trees are placed on benches in a shade house. During the growing season, these plants are refined through pruning and wiring and are regularly fertilized with organic and water soluble inorganic fertilizers. The indoor trees and landscapes are maintained and refined throughout the year in one of our greenhouses. Maintenance and fertilizer for the indoor collection is dependent on the amount of individual tree growth through the year.

We have a dedicated and talented group of volunteers, led by a staff member and a bonsai volunteer steward, who meet each week to maintain our collection and set up the Conservatory display area. Our bonsai steward visits regularly through the week. Without their efforts this collection could not exist or be maintained at such a high standard. We at Matthaei-Nichols are very grateful to all the members of the Ann Arbor Bonsai Society for this volunteer resource and for their continuing support for the expansion of our collection.


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