Gathering About Bonsai – Western Australia

I’m delighted to be working with the Bonsai Society of Western Australia this September. I’m returning to the area after my visit last year were I was truly inspired by the Aussie native species and I’m honoured to be able to help promote bonsai in Bunbury and the surrounding area.

All the details of the weekend are shown below. If you are in WA and are interested, please jump onboard and book your spot and come and enjoy the craic 🙂

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Wellington Dam

Our last night of camping was at Wellington Dam, the shore of which was littered with the skeletal remains of trees long dead. The deadwood here was truly ancient and worthy of a few photos. The next morning we went to the Preston River, the outflow from the Dam, to a place called the Honeymoon Pool. My brother-in-law Keith and I were the only two game enough to go in for a swim. The water was super cold having come out from the very base of the deep dam. After a few minutes it was quite pleasant though and a refreshing experience after a long walk around the Dam itself.

Itook some video with my phone as well as the usual barrage of photos.

Climbing to New Heights

As part of my tour south of Perth last November we did some camping in areas known for large Karri Trees aka Eucalyptus Diversicolour. These are beautiful trees with peeling bark and soaring apexes . They are also survivors as they cope with bush fires frequently over their life span.

I have added some photos in a Gallery showing our trip through the area over the first couple of days camping. First night was a free camp at a stunning pool called Greenbushes. I think this was my favourite spot of all 10 days camping.

We then moved onto Pemberton (via Beedelup Falls), a logging town and home of one of the two Bush Fire lookout trees I climbed. The first one was called the Gloucester Tree 53 metres tall. These are trees that have rebar spikes hammered into them in a spiral to the top were a platform gives you a commanding view of the surrounding bush. They used to have Rangers at the top of these watching for fires. Helicopters have now taken over this role. I visited the museum in Pemberton and took a few snaps of the old photos of the tree being prepped for climbing and a few of the bigger ones being logged. It’s a scary climb and one my knees will never forget! But worth it to see out over the bush. I thought one was enough but my Aussie family thought other wise. The took me to the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree 75 m (246 ft) and I climbed that as well. Even taller and a scarier climb to boot. It’s a real pity that the biggest of them have been logged. Australia as a whole have logged the biggest and the best and we have lost some stunning trees. They say that Mountain Ash on the Eastern coast were taller even than the Coastal Redwoods in California, but the tallest ones up to 143 metres were felled. you can read more info about the Karri on the photos themselves.

Tingle Trees

Western Australia has a 6000 hectare area which has the only Tingle trees in the world. Also know as Eucalyptus Jacksonii, this species is one of the tallest species in the world and in many ways reminded me of the Coastal Redwoods in California. These shallow rooted, buttressing trees have also managed to survive the bush fires and in many cases have hollow trunks so common in Redwoods.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Valley of the Giants near Walpole and taking the tree top walk there. I also visited the ancient Tingle tree and other surrounding Red Tingles with amazing character. 2017 really was a year of tree inspiration for me.

Here’s a few video clips that help capture the size of these trees and a gallery of photos for the Red Tingles.

The Pinnacles

I was lucky enough to get a trip up to the Pinnacles with family during my visit. It was on my must see list.

These limestone formations can be found in Namburg National Park and are a pretty awesome sight. Not only that, they have lots of small trees as companions, many of which would be perfect yamadori if only they were collectable. Of course, as a national park they are protected and rightly so. I have no clue as to most of the species and I’d love someone to identify them if they know. The one with yellow flowers was special.

Here is a gallery of my rock and tree pics. The only drawback was the bloody flies!!! Nets were a must or they’d drive you mental. I’m told it’s just the time of the year. Bad timing on my part. I also added a few photos from Hangover Bay, The Stromatolites near Cervantes, and from the National Park in Yanchep, These were either nearby or my way back to Perth. Worth a visit for the wildlife.

 

Perth Bonsai Tour – Dianne Boekhout

Last stop on my one day tour was with Dianne. As the chairman of my local club I can only guess at the work involved in being President of the Bonsai Society of WA  and President of the Association of Australian Bonsai clubs Two job titles held by Dianne.

CJ joined us for a look around Dianne’s growing bonsai collection. Again, there were many natives at various stages on view and to my delight, some accents 🙂 If only I had taken a few notes, or posted sooner, I might have remembered the names of the natives I was so impressed with. It was great to spend time in her garden just chatting all things bonsai with her and CJ. I could have sat there all day. Great to bounce ideas around and discuss clubs.

It was only a day, but I could get used to bonsai in Perth very quickly. Great weather, good company and heaps of natives to experiment with. The relaxed way of the Aussie appeals to me. Something to think on..

Dianne, that you, I hope to see you and the rest of the members again soon and perhaps be able to spend a little more time getting my hands dirty instead of pointing a camera.

 

Perth Bonsai Tour – CJ Leo

After visiting John on my first stop, John and Nigel took me over to CJ’s home to see a superb collection of bonsai crammed into his garden. CJ has been creating bonsai for a long time and this showed in the hundreds of trees he was working on. I was most impressed by his use of native Australian species. I suspect that many of his trees will feature in 2021, and rightly so. Great detail in the images he’s created and nice to see plenty of shohin.

In such a full garden it’s hard to get a good clean shot of the trees. The strong sunshine also blows out any details. A pity I couldn’t do justice to CJ’s trees. He also grows the best blueberries I ever tasted. Is there no end to his talents? 🙂

CJ thank you for your great welcome and a nice lunch to boot.

Perth Bonsai Tour – John Di Vincenzo

After hooking up with some members of the Bonsai Society of Western Australia at a workshop, I was kindly invited to visit the collections of a few members. First up was John Di Vincenzo. Joining me at John’s garden was Nigel Atkinson, another club member who I met at the workshop.

We had a great time viewing John’s extensive collection. I was especially interested in the true native species of which John had many. Australia has strict rules about collecting yamadori but I was amazed to see some great Melaleuca that looked as if they were ancient. John was able to show me photos of these trees from previous years and the humble beginnings they had. The potential for this species to make quality bonsai is high. I only wish I could name the other species for you but I’m afraid I was too busy looking at the trees to worry about the names. You’ll also see Ficus, Olives etc which lend themselves well to this climate. Import restrictions mean that imported bonsai are pretty much non-existent in Western Australia. This means that everything you see are locally developed trees which makes it more interesting to explore the benches.

A massive thank you to Nigel for organising the tour and or course to John for his hospitality.

 

Western Australia Coastal Images

Some of the most stunning scenery in this part of the world was along the coast. Stunning sunsets, blue seas, exciting wildlife, and of course trees, or more accurately, shrubs.

The following gallery shows some of the stunted trees surviving along the rocky coastal areas, many skeletal images after bush fires have had their way over the years. The beaches and rock formations are worth a mention. Some stunning white beaches, with rarely a human in sight and a wide range of rock types that must surely make Australia a suiseki paradise in the making.

The following pics are taken at places such as Elephant Rocks, Cape Leeuwin, Gnaraup Beach, Discovery bay, Windy Harbour and Torndirrup.