Bonsai making

It’s official – I have too many hobbies.



I’ve mildly wanted to have a bonsai tree for a long time now, since visiting a bonsai display in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens five or six years ago. Until just recently it’s been a fairly passive wish, not enough to make me do something about it – and I had the idea that all bonsai had to be hundreds of years old, and hugely expensive.

Just a few weeks ago something prompted me to research this further. This turned up the fact that though bonsai trees are beyond my price range, making my own might not be. Of course, as a baby bonsai, it doesn’t have the thick trunk and solidness of a more mature one, but I have high hopes that as it grows, it will increase in beauty. I still have work to do in the near future – while I pruned it severely to reach this shape, I left a few branches I wasn’t sure about, so I can consider what I want to do with more time. I’m also going to wire a few of the branches into a better shape (you wire them into a pleasing shape, then leave them there until they solidify). So this is only the beginning form of my tree.

However, I’m pretty happy with this tree. It was very frustrating trying to find a pot I liked, but this pot is ok for this semi-cascade styled tree. And I really enjoyed potting and styling the tree at first. You start by finding a tree with a well-shaped trunk, then remove branches and foliage until the shape is evident. This has to be a slow and careful process – anything you do, you can’t undo!


IMG_1809 IMG_1810


The problem with this is I now want more… since I decided to make my own, I researched it much more thoroughly than I would have to just buy one, and now want to try make other styles of bonsai!


The first exciting new development to look out for in my tree is flowering. I wasn’t really trying to buy a flowering tree, but the tree with the nicest trunk I could find was this one. It’s a NZ native, a rata, and will have red flowers fairly soon – the buds are already showing red. (Side note – the latin name, Metrosideros carminea, translates to red iron-heart, which I think is a fantastic name.)


2 thoughts on “Bonsai making

  1. Fantastic! I’ve always been intrigued by bonsai gardening too. There was a monastery I used to go to with my mom sometimes, to walk in the gardens. The monks raised all sorts of amazing bonsai trees and made the pots they planted them in and sold them both to support themselves. We loved them but they were too expensive for us, though we did buy some of their little pots. Your experiment is making me think now… maybe I should do some research too! Thanks for posting this!

    • Oh, that’s fantastic! One of my problems is that it’s really hard to find a suitable bonsai pot where I live – I wish there was somewhere like the monastery nearby.
      It’s been a fun experience, but of course only time will tell how successful it is…

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