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NVBS Bonsai Pavilion
at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Welcome to the Meadowlark-Northern Virginia Bonsai Society Pavilion. The trees you see in the Pavilion are all Bonsai. The term Bonsai means quite literally, “a tree in a pot.”  The art form under the name “Penjing” or “Penzai” began in China approximately 2400 years ago. It then progressed to Japan where it was given the name Bonsai.  The Chinese form emulates landscapes, whereas the Japanese concentrates on the tree.


Bonsai honors nature by imitating it.  These trees are not dwarfs or miniatures. They are all regular trees.  How do we keep regular trees, which in nature would be very tall, in a pot? How is it that Bonsai trees can actually live hundreds of years? How is it that young trees trained as Bonsai look old? What is Bonsai soil? These questions and more can be answered by a Docent, a member of the Northern Virginia Bonsai Society (NVBS), available at the Pavilion on most Saturdays & Sundays through the growing season.

Most of the trees in the Pavilion are owned by members of NVBS. In early Spring the Pavilion features Conifers, Evergreens, and other cold-hardy species. In June these trees are joined by more deciduous and tropical species. Then in Fall, the Conifers rejoin the deciduous, while the tropicals return to their homes. Finally in November all of the trees belonging to NVBS members go home for winter, where except for tropicals they stay outside, protected only from the wind.

The trees in the Pavilion are checked by NVBS volunteers daily to see if they need water and monitor them for any illness.


Bonsai the art form requires patience, and is not an art form to be followed alone.  There are many techniques including grafting, wiring, repotting, pruning, de-candling, root over rock, etc.  It takes instruction, assistance and time to be able to “see the tree in the tree.”  Societies like NVBS provide this support to those who wish to learn about and practice of Bonsai.

If you wish to learn more about NVBS and the art of Bonsai please feel free to ask your Docent, or find more information on the NVBS website, Thank you for visiting The Bonsai Pavilion.

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