I’m not talking about muscular body builders or curvy swimsuit models. Sculpture Saturday this week pertains to the ancient art of bonsai — producing miniature plants and trees that mimic the shape of full-size ones.

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Established in 2005, the Bonsai Exhibition Garden at the North Carolina Arboretum near Asheville, NC features a large outdoor display of up to 50 bonsai specimens at a time. The exhibition includes traditional Asian bonsai subjects such as Japanese maple and Chinese elm, American species such as bald cypress and limber pine, and plants native to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina such as American hornbeam and eastern white pine.

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Japanese Maple (center)

Interpretive signage throughout the garden conveys information about the art and history of bonsai and the Arboretum’s creative approach to it.

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A common misconception is that the plants used for bonsai are genetically ‘dwarfed’ plants. Bonsai trees are normal plants that are trained to maintain a miniature size and desired shape using techniques like pruning, pinching and wiring.

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If you are in the Asheville area, you should check out the Arboretum. It is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. April – October and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. November – March except it is closed on Christmas. Admission is priced per vehicle ranging from $16 for personal vehicles up to $100 for buses.

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I enjoy looking a bonsai plants but have never attempted to grow one.Β  Have you dabbled in bonsai cultivation?