The bonsai collection and events in Canberra these days

The days in Canberra at the Bonsai Reshaped 2024 are busy. Next week a members video from the Arboretum will be posted, but until then a few more posts from the event.

Yesterday the big evening with the demo on stage was done, and the audience seemed to like our performances with trees and talks.

The National Arboretum Canberra is situated in a fantastic landscape which is very inspiring. Autumn starts here now and slowly some trees colour up.

The permanent bonsai exhibition.

At the Arboretum a very fine bonsai collection is built up with bonsai from around Australia. This includes several native trees. Many trees are donated and/or on loan from individual bonsai artists from Australia. The conditions are that the Arboretum takes care of the trees and their maintenance, but very little can be changed during the months or years the trees are here on loan. Therefore the visual and aesthetic parts of bonsai have to be restricted to seasonal care.

Many of the trees are larger and medium-large trees, but some Shohin bonsai also begin seeking in.

Blauws Juniper forest on display.

The workshops

During the four-day events, I have two classes a day in three days. Shohin bonsai is a thing here and all workshops are fully booked which makes me very happy. The enthusiasm is big and both the beginner classes and the intermedia students are very eager to learn.

At the beginner classes material is part of the workshops, where the more trained in the next three of our workshops bring in trees for advice and styling.

Beginners workshop.

Demo night

The late demo “After Dark” was held in the large building housing the Arboretum bonsai collection just aside from that. An audience of 116 people watched Marija Hajdik working on some large native material and a Powwer Point show about collecting trees in nature and aftercare.

I had two trees where I demonstrated and talked about care and design.

After the demo.

The bonsai collection care

The two people in charge of taking care of and maintaining the collection of bonsai are Leigh Taafe and Samual Thompson.

Leigh was caught by bonsai when watching the Karate Kid movie, at the age of 13. Later he opened his own bonsai business but now, as the Curator of the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, Leigh manages over 120 trees including the permanent collection and trees on loan. Plus all the classes and events around this.

Left, Samual Thomposn and right Leigh Taafe during the event.

I met Sam for the first time in China at an event some years ago, and we instantly had a good connection because of Sam’s good sense of humour and friendliness. Nice to catch up these days in Canberra.

Sam Thompson carries out the daily care at the Arboretum.

Sam started doing bonsai at the age of 15, and that was followed by a bonsai professional as Assistant Curator of the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia (NBPCA) in Canberra.

Sam studied in Japan under Japanese bonsai Master, Kunio Kobayashi and now has a high level of bonsai aesthetics and knowledge.


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