Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

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Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  Thomo on Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:05 pm

Hi There,

I am in Melbourne, Australia and finding my way in Bonsai. I would like to learn a bit about what the experiences others from Melbourne or Australia have had in Bonsai. What plants work well, what don't. Is there anything specific about our weather to note? What about finding quality tree stock, advice or pots? Many of the common trees in literature are northern hemisphere natives. Who are the local gurus?

For myself:
I have found figs to be tough and hard to kill.

Acer Palmatums on the other hand are easy to kill. Lucky I have so many sprouting in my yard each year that I can collect as seedlings. Survival of the fittest in my garden! The acers also get attacked by bugs eating the new shoots before they unfurl. I think they are thrips and confidor helps out there. Hot summer winds burn the tips of the leaves and can strip the entire tree sometimes. I have them under 70% shadecloth once it starts to heat up over 30 degrees regularly. Same with trident maples.

I have a couple of Junipers which seem to be able to handle the heat once established but also don't thicken up very quickly. I have also had some luck with Chinese elms although they seem susceptible to caterpillars and mites.

I am experimenting with what I think is a Melaleuca. It sprouted in my garden also and has thickened up substantially. Last year I dug around it to prepare the root zone to be lifted and pruned it. Next winter I plant to pull it up.

There are a couple of nursuries I have visited in Hawthorn and Reservoir. Both are interesting,the Hawthorn one is much better presented.

I haven't dragged myself along to any clubs yet but I believe there is at least one in Melbourne.

So that is my take on it all, I would love to hear from others in either Melbourne or even just Australia. With 2500 signed up members on this site,there has to be others out there!

Cheers, Thomo

Thomo
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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  fiona on Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:17 pm

Hi Thomo.

I take it the set-up you have discovered in Hawthorn is Lindsay Farr. If not try looking HERE. You can't really get much better than him - his videos are great and very helpful.

Craig W is not far from you either - why not drop him a PM?

I visited my brother- and sister-in-law in Melbourne in 2005 and I know there are a few clubs in the area. They were quite difficult to find out about back then but hopefully things may be different now.

Good luck. One day I'll be back over and I promise I'll come and see your collection. Wink

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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:01 pm

43 Australians recently took a Bonsai Tour of China, there must be a few in the Melbourne, Australia area.

BTW, the club I belong to meets in Melbourne, Florida, USA.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  JimLewis on Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:54 pm

I don't find a "Melbourne" club, but there is a list of clubs from Australia at the link below. It lists their hometowns, and I don't know Australian geography enough to know which may be reasonably close to Melbourne.


http://www.aabcltd.org/clubs.htm

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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  Thomo on Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:16 am

Thanks for the replies.

Yes the one in Hawthorn is Lindsay Farr.

I still haven't decided I want to join a club, but might in the future. There is Northwest and Vic bonsai that are close enough to me.

Thomo
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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  JimLewis on Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:01 pm

Hands-on help (as from a club) is 1000% better than long distance help (as from a computer). Even if you're not a "joiner" -- JOIN A CLUB. That's how to learn. After you've picked their brains you can leave if you haven't found that being with like-minded folks is your cup of tea.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  fiona on Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:22 pm

With a major benefit being that you get to see trees in 3-D rather than the often misleading two dimensional images you see in books and even to an extent in photos on here.

If you don't like the idea of a club, then your original mention of finding a "guru" is a good one. As Jim so rightly says, there's only so much you can learn from a book - hand-on wins erm... hands down every time.

G'luck.

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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  craigw on Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:24 pm

Hi Thomo, Melbourne is well served with bonsai clubs. Here is a link to my local club which will give you info on all the clubs around the city http://www.yarravalleybonsai.org.au/
Craigw

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Trees down under

Post  RKatzin on Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:28 pm

Hi Thomo, greetings from Oregon,US. You mention in your post only trees not native to your area, when in fact there's many great trees right there in your back yard. I have a small collection, just started last year, so the collection is small as well as the trees, of trees from down under. Whether or not they'll make good bonsai I've yet to discover, but they fit the criterion I was looking for, small leaves, interesting growth habit, good life span, stuff like that. I have a Box-leaved Wattle (Acacia buxifolia), a Blackwood Acacia (Acacia melanoxylon), not to sure about the Blackwood, but it was available so I got one, and a Dwarf Sophora (Sophora prostrata Little Baby) with the tiniest of compound leaf and a real twisty growth. These were tube starts and are now situated in garden plots to get them up and going. I also have a Celery Pine (Phyllocladus alpinus) which is a very interesting leafless conifer from NZ and Tas. Not sure at all what to do with it, but it was interesting enough to catch my attention. For now I'll just let 'er develop. Anyway, if you're the ruddy outdoor type ( I have a general opinion that all Australians are the ruddy outdoor types, is that true?) go take a look outback and see what's growing. As far as clubs go, if there's one near you definitely take advantage. I'm in a void between Portland/Seattle and San Francisco, commonly referred to as 'the sticks', but, hey, that's where the trees are.

RKatzin
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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  craigw on Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:41 pm

Hi Rkatzin, sorry to disillusion you but most Australians are very urban the vast majority of our population live in a very few cities.
Your selection of our native trees is interesting. The blackwood is indigenous to my area where they grow into large trees, the timber is much used for making furniture, as bonsai you would need to grow them pretty big to accommodate the foliage size. Acacia have a reputation for being short lived trees but I have some that have been in bonsai pots for close to 30 years.
Sophora prostrata is a New Zealand native locally known as kowhai, I have one in my garden and love its divaricating habit.
Celery top pine is a Tasmanian native which grows in cool moist conditions, most parts of Australia are too warm for this species.
Good luck with your southern hemisphere trees
Craigw

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aus

Post  guy ward on Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:45 pm

Have you found ausbonsai.com --a forum similar to IBC

guy ward
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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  Thomo on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:42 am

I have found Ausbonsai and might spend some time there as well. Am I allowed to mention that on here?

I am nearly convinced to join up to a club. Kew is probably my closest.

Thanks for the advice, this certainly has got people talking! Any more comments are welcome.

Thomo
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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

Post  RichLewis on Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:01 pm

Thomo wrote:I have found Ausbonsai and might spend some time there as well. Am I allowed to mention that on here?

I am nearly convinced to join up to a club. Kew is probably my closest.

Thanks for the advice, this certainly has got people talking! Any more comments are welcome.

I visit Ausbonsai from time to time, they have some good articles geared specifically towards native Australian trees and collecting etc in Australia. See you there at some point

cheers

RichLewis
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Bonsai in Melbourne

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:21 am

Thomo wrote:Hot summer winds burn the tips of the leaves and can strip the entire tree sometimes.
Here too. Can you find something called Pro-TeKt? If it is not available, ask at a chemical supply company for potassium silicate. It helps build up more resistant leaves by providing extra silica.
Iris

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Re: Bonsai in Melbourne, Australia

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