Monday, March 30, 2015

Australia's National Arboretum, part 2: Bonsai collection

As mentioned in yesterday's post on the National Arboretum, the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection (NBPC) was one of the main reasons we went there. I would never have the patience to grow a bonsai myself, but I appreciate them as an art form.

Until the opening of the arboretum, the NBPC was located in Commonwealth Park near the city centre. Although that was more easily accessible especially during the annual Floriade, the new premises work well, and it fits the theme of the arboretum.

A significant part of the collection is made up by native plants such as Banksias or, as in the above case, paperbarks.

Bonsai are Japanese miniature trees, but what are penjing? They are in a way the Chinese counterpart, but the Penjing tradition does not focus on single trees but instead entails the construction of miniature landscapes. They often consist of several species of plants, interestingly shaped rocks, and small houses, boats or figurines.

Above a very nice penjing with fruiting and flowering plants of different species. One is reminded of model train sets without the trains.

And finally an example with figurines, in this case of horses. In addition to the plants, the collection also features examples of fossil wood from the Jurassic. All in all well worth a visit.

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