Arboretum celebrates Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection centennial

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Among the oldest surviving bonsai in America, the Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection is a beloved treasure of the Arnold Arboretum and Boston. The centennial of the collection’s 1913 arrival in America is being celebrated by a class and theme tours at the Arboretum, and a special exhibition at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Festivities begin Saturday, September 28, with a class offering an in-depth exploration of the collection led by Peter Del Tredici, who has curated the Bonsai Collection at the Arboretum for nearly 30 years. Del Tredici will speak about the history and significance of these unique dwarfed plants, give a detailed tour, and discuss the rigorous care regimen required to maintain their health and structure. The class will also feature a library display of a number artifacts related to the collection drawn from the Arnold Arboretum Archives. In October, a pair of free public tours provide historical and horticultural views of the collection; “Bonsai at the Arboretum” on October 19 at 2 p.m. with Rhoda Kubrick and “Bonsai Matching” on October 20 at 2 p.m. with Roberta Apfel.

Celebrations also include a special exhibition at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, October 2-14. Eight specimens drawn from the Larz Anderson Collection will be displayed and interpreted in the museum’s courtyard and Chinese Loggia. The exhibition highlights the beauty and history of these magnificent plants and celebrates their unique connection to Boston and American horticulture.