A Day at Hozy’s

The other day, I paid a visit to a Phoenix Bonsai Society veteran, Joan McCarter, or more commonly known simply as Hozy. She’s been with the Phoenix Bonsai Society since its inception and has provided mentoring services to club members for decades. She lives in Tempe where she started a business selling bonsai pots to club members and others. Her backyard is truly a spectacle, with hundreds of trees and pots, it’s taken years of collecting and growing to achieve its grandeur.

When you walk into her backyard, you are welcomed by a large desert rose and side pond with two fat goldfish. Various desert species line the pond’s edge, some in decorative pots other in bonsai pots. If there is one thing you should know about Hozy is that she only grows desert trees and she has mastered the art.


A small view of Hozy’s immense collection. The koi pond is the large structure in the back

As you continue walking through her garden, you make your way to her koi pond. This large pond is filled with over a dozen large koi and each is friendlier than the last. She tossed some food into the water and I marveled at how close they came to the waters surface. You could just reach out and pet their slimy heads. As I was watching them swim elegantly through the cool water, I wanted to just jump in there with them to save myself from the 115 degree weather. Her cats enjoy watching the fish but know better than to stick their paws in for a catch.

And now onto some trees…


This Portulacaria was one of the best I’ve seen. Not surprising for a desert grower such as Hozy. It was collected and worked on by bonsai master Dennis Makashima when he visited Phoenix for a club function. Observe the thick trunk and eloquently alternating branches. The nebari on this specimen is interesting as well as its roots knot over each other.


One of my most favorite tree species; Texas Ebony. This was hands down Hozy’s best tree. It was a legacy tree from a deceased member of the club and has been growing strong for over 20 years. The oval pot compliments its round canopy. Although the tree does flower, Hozy chose an unglazed pot that contrasts well with the ever green foliage. Truly a remarkable specimen.


And of course her Bougainvilleas!



Bougainvilleas are the prettiest bonsai, in my opinion, one can grow easily in Arizona. Their leaves are adapted for dry, sunny climates, while their roots store plenty of water during long spells of drought. And plus, they are super easy to grow! Definitely a tree for beginners.

So there you have it folks! My day with Hozy was educational, eye opening, and overall fun. If you are ever in the Phoenix area, I encourage you to stop by. Hozy is great and will get you started with a good tree. Or stop by if you’re looking for that special pot. She has hundreds to choose from.


1 thought on “A Day at Hozy’s

  1. Nick your blog was so well written I felt that we spent the day together in Hozy’s backyard. Next you will have to write about spending a day with Cindy Read in San Diego.


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