Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bonsai Display

Rose Cottage, State Rose Garden, Newtown Park, Tor street (Entry $2.00)
I love those tiny trees - especially the ones that actually do sometimes grow like this in the real world.
These are usually plants of rocky creeks, naturally “bonsaied’ as a result of their seed having germinated in a tiny pocket of humus between rocks, and then being damaged and battered by floods, in between surviving the severe dry periods that our climate throws at them. Only the toughest persist, and nature turns them into pretty miniatures.
I have a friend who hates bonsai. She says it reminds her of Chinese women’s feet in the bad old days - images of pain.
I love them. They remind me of the sheer tenacity of nature (including the human race) in times of trouble - and of the existence of beauty despite adversity. You can’t keep a good Creation down!
(I was also, once, a little girl who loved dolls’ houses. Miniatures are appealing, regardless of all that metaphorical baggage!)
Of course I always look for the natives, and at today’s show I was attracted by this Callistemon. I think our own local native Callistemon viminalis, with its weeping branches, might make an even better bonsai then this one. I must get hold of a seedling and give it a try!

I also liked this fig, which I think is a Ficus obliqua. (It was labelled “small-leafed fig”.)
To me, the best bonsai plants are those where the artist has succeeded in allowing the plant to express the nature of its species, and I feel that the trunk, on this one, gets it. It’s going to be a great bonsai when it’s really old.
We do see more natives being used in bonsai these days, but I think that they’ve hardly been explored yet by bonsai growers - particularly the dry rainforest species, which seem to me to be a particularly suitable plant type for the purpose.
Perhaps next year....


Peter said...

With regards to the comment that your friend made with respect to the art of bonsai, i think your friend should really get better informed before making such uninformed statements. My bonsai are so healthy and well looked after they are essentially jumping out of their bark! Makes me wonder, does your friend cut her grass or is that too cruel to the poor grass.

Patricia Gardner said...

I suppose there is room for all tastes! She's a good friend, and expresses her opinion with some humour.
I wonder which Australian plants you are using, Peter? (I always enjoy photos, if you'd care to email me any.)