Collaboration Results in Southwest Florida's Only Public, Pemanent Bonsai

Officials of both Selby Gardens and Sho Fu Bonsai Society of Sarasota welcomed guests to Southwest Florida’s only public, permanent exhibit of bonsai during the 4th Annual Asian Cultural Festival. Planning and collaboration on the project have been ongoing for over a year. Funds were raised by Sho Fu Bonsai Society of Sarasota for both the exhibit and the bonsai trees, while Selby Gardens provided the venue in the Gardens just outside the Tropical Display House. Sho Fu has accumulated an inventory of eleven trees and two forests for the small but impressive exhibit through a combination of donations from members and from noted area bonsai artists. The artists include Alan Carver, Clif Pottberg, Hal Mahoney, Erik Wigert, Mary Madison, Ernie Fernandez and Dorothy Schmitz. Some of the trees have been in training for more than twenty years. Erik Wigert, president of Sho Fu Bonsai Society of Sarasota and curator of the permanent exhibit, said, “This is a wonderful example of collaboration at its best. We get to exhibit specimen bonsai in a world class botanical garden. I would like to recognize Sho Fu members John and Cindy Petterson who first made the connection with Selby Gardens in planning for the first Asian Cultural Festival four years ago, and who, along with another Sho Fu member, Mike Knowlton, worked with Selby officials Jessica Ventimiglia and Mike McLaughlin to make this happen.” You will want to plan a visit to the Gardens to better understand and enjoy this ancient Asian living art form. Also, members of the public are welcome to attend monthly meetings of the Sho Fu Bonsai Society of Sarasota. Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Great Room by the Bay.