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As a girl in a small Australian town bonsai was the most exotic thing I had ever seen. Our elderly neighbour introduced me to them; she grew several and displayed them on special shelves in her garden.

This traditional Japanese practice of growing miniature trees dates back over a thousand years.

The bonsai is a complex tree to grow requiring dedicated pruning of roots, branches and leaves. Branches are gently shaped using wires and clamps to give the tree an attractive form and mature appearance. Roots are also teased out and can be grown over rocks to create interest and the illusion of age.

There are traditional bonsai styles which describe the orientation of the trunk such as formal and informal upright as well as the slant and cascade styles. Other styles may describe the trunk or bark of the small trees.

What is the purpose of bonsai? They are planted and configured solely for contemplation, both during their creation and when viewing an established tree.

My local bonsai club held an exhibition today and here are some photos. I have included close up shots so you can see how detailed these bonsai are and marvel at the contortions of their trunks and roots.

Please enjoy, and as you view the bonsai I hope you relax and contemplate.




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Temporary Gardens



GS 3

Can you believe these fabulous gardens are constructed in a few days? They are my favourite ‘Show Gardens’ from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, which I visited yesterday.

Temporary gardens, but created with months of design and planning. The show finished today and removal has probably already started as the designers begin to dream of next year.

My favourite was the garden in the top two photos.

I feel welcome in this garden and I want to step in and wander around. The placement of rock and wooden planks leads the eye around the garden, suggesting a pathway for my stroll.

Plantings are in relaxed drifts and I particularly liked the incorporation of the pre-existing tree. It instils shady relaxation. The pagoda is constructed using rustic wood but it is perfectly at home with the funky white furniture which brightens and modernizes the garden.

I received a handy brochure listing all the plants used in this garden. Even better, separate beds displayed these plants with identifying labels.

My second favourite is the garden in the photo underneath.

At first glance this appears formal but the highly trimmed box balls sit within velvety soft informal plantings. This gives the garden harmony, even with its prominent symmetrical design and sharp structures. Informal and formal live happily together.

Water was the star. It flowed from pipes along two parallel channels on either side of the central path, as well as spilling from two infinity pools. A charming enigma was created, movement and stillness. The stream in the channels created movement yet the flat surfaces of the infinity pools appeared to stand still yet we could hear and see the fall of water over their edges.

With so much water moving it can be difficult to create a tranquil sound. Don’t forget not all running water makes a peaceful sound and one must get this absolutely right, we don’t want the unsettling sound of a cataract. The designers were magically successful, the sound was quiet and relaxing.

Talking of running water, I did see something new; a bonsai with a water-fall. Take a look at the middle left in the image below, water flows out of a tiny cave in the bonsai cliff face to a pool at the base.


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