Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection returns May 7-12 for Buds and Blooms festival

For everyone who has been waiting for another chance to see the bonsai collection at Weyerhaeuser, this is it.

The garden will open up once again for this year's Buds and Blooms festival.

The Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, which has been closed for more than a year, will open briefly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 7-12 at the Weyerhaeuser campus in Federal Way.

"This is why the collection exists, this is what bonsai is about," bonsai curator David De Groot said. "It's all about being seen. We're definitely pleased as can be to have these trees back in front of the public."

Even though the collection closed to the public in April 2009, the bonsai trees have still been cared for. De Groot still has staff seven days a week, although a much smaller staff now. They have been taking care of the trees just as intensely as before.

"Even though people haven't seen us, we've been working hard, working diligently to get them ready, to keep them beautiful," De Groot said.

The bonsai trees have been kept elsewhere while the garden has been closed, so volunteers have been helping De Groot get everything back into place for May 7.

"We still get e-mails," De Groot said. "We know that people miss it. No one could be as anxious as we are to get it back on display.

The plan is for the collection to someday be reopened for the public, De Groot said. However, that will be dependent on the economy. The garden's initial closure stems from a need to reduce general and administrative expenses, according to Weyerhaeuser.

"Residential construction needs to come back online before we can set a tentative date," De Groot said.

Buds and Blooms

During the two-day festival, the collection will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and staff have lots of events planned.

At the top of each hour, there will be staff-led tours or the collection. At all times, there will be skilled and experienced volunteers working on the the trees. Volunteers will be available to answer any questions visitors might have about bonsai.

There will also be lectures, one each morning and afternoon. On Saturday, the morning lecture will be all about birds and bees you need for a backyard sanctuary, with a speaker from Wildbirds Unlimited. In the afternoon, the topic is natural yard care techniques, with a presentation by E.J. Hook, a landscaper from Woodland Park Zoo.

On Sunday, the topics will be a bonsai lecture by De Groot at 11 a.m. Then at 2 p.m., it will be "Salad Bowl," a lecture on edible container gardening.

There will also be bonsai vendors at the collection as well as the Kiwanis with their food cart.

Learn more

For directions and information, visit

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