James J. Smith Bonsai Gallery


     We just returned from a week in Florida to this snowy scene in our backyard last weekend.  We didn't expect this.  Isn't winter over?

     While in Florida we toured the James J. Smith Bonsai Gallery located in the Heathcote Botanical Gardens in the town of Ft. Pierce.  The James J. Smith Bonsai Gallery is the largest public tropical bonsai collection in the United States.  It features 100 bonsai trees on permanent display and special rotating exhibits by guest bonsai artists.

     James Smith started studying bonsai in 1950 by reading books.  When he moved to Vero Beach, Florida in 1956, he discovered tropical bonsai.  He studied under some of the most accomplished bonsai teachers in America.  He has written many articles for bonsai publications and pictures of his bonsai can be seen in books published around the world.  He started a nursery in 1979 and has been providing quality bonsai to customers ever since.  The following photos are from this special gallery.


weeping fig

dwarf jade

surinam cherry

Brazilian raintree

dwarf schefflera

ficus retusa


     As you can see, he is one of the leading artists in his field.  I was charmed by so many of his works during my quiet, contemplative visit to this gallery.  Next post will be about other places I visited in Florida, since not much is happening in my gardens yet.


  1. What beautiful bonsai, Lana; they're what we lesser practitioners aspire to. Looking at the weather you returned to, I'm surprised you didn't extend your stay in Florida.

    1. I wish we could have extended our stay in Florida. I don't aspire to practise bonsai gardening, but I do appreciate this unique form of gardening.

  2. It seems weird that so much plant can live in such a tiny pot, especially considering the big clunky roots systems of some of the small plants I grow! I'm glad you had a chance to get away to Florida. :o)

  3. I don't know how the root systems of these plants live in the small pots they are in either. I guess since the plants are small, so is the size of the root. I miss the warmth and sun of Florida.