The Morikami bonsai gardens at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, in Delray Beach, FL have been a work in progress since 1978. Through the ambitious efforts of Bonsai Societies of Florida members and volunteers, bonsai were donated, stands were built and the exhibit began to grow.
In 2010, Vladimir Foursa accepted the huge challenge of curator of the collection. Since that time, in addition to his ongoing trimming and shaping, the much needed soil changes were made, repottings are on schedule, and additional bonsai have been donated.
In our conversation, Vlad expressed his gratitude, not only to
local volunteers, but to visiting bonsai experts from around the
country for helping to make the collection what it is today.
The following article tells of the recently added walk in the exhibition area. It is by far one of the best additions yet.
"The Dr. Ron and Arlene Kessler Walk at the Morikami Bonsai gardens is denoted by threshold stones at both ends, this recently unveiled display invites you to experience this corner of Roji-en with a new perspective.
The experience begins as you catch a glimpse of a lantern leading you to the Yamato-Kan. Making the initial entry, you step over a threshold stone commemorating Dr. Ron and Arlene Kessler’s gift.
This gift is both monetary and in-kind; in addition to their endowment, the Kesslers have donated more than three dozen bonsai from their personal collection, kick-starting this renovation project.
The updated exhibition features backdrop material for the bonsai, bamboo accents, Japanese roof tile borders, state of the art irrigation, and a gathering area, encouraging visitors to stop and truly appreciate each bonsai to its fullest.
We are most excited about the addition of the gathering area; interpretive signage gives you a glimpse, step-by -step, into the art and technique of training and sculpting a bonsai.
Live examples on individual stands also provide excellent topics for conversation for docents, tour groups, and you, the visitor, alike.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony, held on Monday, January 7, 2013, also designated the Morikami Bonsai Gardens as a World Bonsai Friendship Federation (WBFF) Cooperation Center.
The WBFF was formed in 1989 in Japan by bonsai Masters Saburo Kato and John Naka to promote peace and goodwill throughout the world through the art of bonsai.
The World Bonsai Friendship Federation recently initiated a new program, identifying the best public bonsai exhibits around the world, designating them as “WBFF Cooperation Centers.” Morikami Board of Trustee Member and Chairman Emeritus of WBFF, Felix Laughlin, designated the Morikami Bonsai Exhibition as the 3rd WBFF Cooperation Center in the United States.
As bonsai master Saburo Kato said, “From bonsai we receive peace of mind, health, and life’s pursuit. We can also learn generosity, patience and even a philosophy about life.”
We hope to inspire, educate, and share our appreciation for this art with all who visit to experience the Morikami Bonsai Exhibitions – both now and far into the future – as we continue to develop this integral piece of *Roji-en."
* Roji-en: Garden of the Drops of Dew consists of six gardens, representing periods in the development of the Japanese garden.