James J. Smith’s Bonsai Gallery at Heathcote Gardens

Heathcote Botanical Gardens is located in the Treasure Coast section of Florida.

The James J. Smith Bonsia Gallery is located there.  This is the largest collection of tropical bonsai in the United States.


I marveled at the craftsmanship and time it must have taken to create such specimen. I took a photo of the information on Bonsai. Click on it to enlarge it, if you are interested in reading it.

Here are just a few of the dozens of tiny trees.

Crepe Myrtle (2002)
Black Olive (1992)
Water Jasmine/ Wrightia religiosa (1990)
Water Jasmine in bloom
Bougainvillea (1989)

I especially loved the trees in bloom. They were like magical , trees from a fairyland.

Dwarf Jade/ Portulaca afra (1961)

This Surinam Cherry even had fruit on it.  It was my favorite.

Surinam Cherry/ Eugenia uniflora
Surinam Cherry fruit
Surinam Cherry branch

I wish I were tiny and cute.


16 thoughts on “James J. Smith’s Bonsai Gallery at Heathcote Gardens

  1. Very cool, what a fun post! Coincidentally my daughter Anjali just bought a little bonsai gingko tree to try her hand at this craft. There were a few more established bonsai trees at our nursery that looked sooo cool – one was an oak tree I think that was 300 – the miniature trunk was 4 inches wide! I am guessing that must be at least 30 years old!


  2. I think it’s cool how bonsai look ancient but miniaturized. I guess I didn’t realize they could bloom and develop fruit, so that’s neat. On the down side, I keep being reminded of foot-binding. But I guess the little trees don’t suffer…


      1. Your line of thinking reminds me of the poem Identity by Julia Noboa Polanco. It starts with ” Let them be as flowers, always watered, fed, guarded, admired, but harnessed to a pot of dirt.”
        It ends with, “I’d rather be a tall ugly weed.”
        I think women especially feel “trained” by some expectations put on them.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to admit that while I admire the skill needed to bonsai a tree, I feel it looks like torture! I had to smile at the ‘black’ olive. All olives are black when they’re ripe!

    Liked by 1 person

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