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.

Hurry Spring

tulips from the grocery

     We have had some really cold weather the last two weeks and lots of grey, cloudy days.  And now we are facing a snowstorm.  I bought these potted tulips at the grocery to help me think spring.  Despite all this winter weather, signs of spring are ocurring.

     In the last two weeks I have heard birdsong almost daily.  The sun feels a litlle stronger, the days are getting longer.  It's hard to believe that daylight savings time starts this weekend.  The trees are budding.  And some things are emerging in the yard.  The tulip bulbs I planted in the back yard are pushing through the soil.  But the daffodils in the side front garden are still hiding.  The rose bushes have tiny buds forming.

tulips in back yard

buds on rose bush
twelve feet deep

     We finally have had our plumbing problems found and fixed.  It has been an awful last two weeks at the house, with intermittent stays at a hotel because we had no water.  There were two problem pipes.  Fixing the first involved jackhammering the cement slab under the family room floor to get to and repair that pipe.  Dust everywhere, and we couldn't use the room for several days.  The repair of the second problem involved a six-foot-deep hole on one side of the front yard, and a twelve-foot-deep hole on the other side of the front yard. 

looking into the twelve foot deep trench
      There were two backhoes here, huge piles of dirt, and it took five days to complete it all.  What a circus it was.  The new ceiling and floor in the basement that was flooded were finally finished today.  I feel that we can finally start living normally in the house as repairs are finall getting done.  Except for the dryer.  It is still not working properly.

     We are all fairly exhausted from all this, and we have decided we are going to Florida next week to recoup, visit relatives, get some sun and see some spring training games.