A bonsai exhibition of solely Australian native plants is always a pleasure. Seeing the species that grow around us is exciting, and the Canberra Bonsai Society’s show did not disappoint. This year’s theme, ‘The Australian landscape in the palm of your hand’ displayed 31 trees. Below are some, with their catalogue descriptions.

Alpine Baeckea
Baeckea gunniana
Tree age roughly 10 years
Styled since 2023
Pot origin Japan

This tree was started from a cutting taken off a locally growing plant. It likes to grow in wet boggy conditions.
Accent Kunzel ‘Badja Carpet’

Weeping bottlebrush
Melaleuca viminalis
Tree age 17 years
Styled since 2008
Pot by Samarkand Pottery, Australia

We have had some wild weather lately and this tree echoes trees bending in the wind but strongly rooted in the soil. Branches may snap and die but the tree endures and thrives. The pot echoes the barks rough texture. As a seedling, which came up in my mother’s garden, this tree has always been in a pot suffering benign neglect until the last few years. Its branching is mostly of its own choosing; wired into this windswept form, only in the last few years.

Sticky wattle
Acacia howittii
Tree age 20 years
Styled since 2021
Pot origin China

Bought from a nursery, this tree was in a forgotten corner where it was languishing. After purchase and repotting, it has flourished.

Grevillea juniperina ‘New Blood’
Tree age 8 years
Styled since 2019
Pot origin Japan

Generous flowering ground-cover shrub, attracts birds, bees and butterflies, suits Canberra climate. One of my favourite grevilleas for bonsai.

Slender Burgan
Kunzea phylicoides
Tree age 44 years
Styled since 1985
Pot by Milkwood Pottery

This tree was collected as a sapling in 1985. It has a great growth pattern for bonsai.
Accent Alpine water fern
Blechnum penna-marina subsp alpina

Round-leaved tea tree
Leptospermum rotundifolium
Tree age unknown
Styled since 2015
Pot by Pat Kennedy

Leptospermum rotundifolium, commonly known as round-leaved tea tree, is a species of flowering plant in the family Myrtacaae. It is endemic to New South Wales and naturalised in Victoria and Western Australia. It is an erect shrub, with more or less circular leaves, but with a small point on the tip and relatively large white or pink flowers.

Slender burgan
Kunzea phylicoides
Tree age unknown
Styled since 2015
Pot origin unknown

Kunzea phylicoides, commonly known as the slender burgan. It is a flowering plant in the myrtle family Myrtacaae and is endemic to south-eastern Australia. It is an erect shrub with drooping branches, fibrous or corky bark, bright green, narrow leaves and clusters of white flowers in spring.

Black gum
Eucalyptus aggregata
Tree age unknown
Styled since 2015
Pot origin unknown

Eucalyptus aggregata, commonly known as black gum, is a medium sized tree that is endemic to south-eastern Australia. It has rough, flaky bark (sometimes smooth on the branches), lance-shaped leaves, green to yellow flower buds in groups of seven, white flowers and a more or less cup shaped fruit. It is a component of grassy woodlands, often in low-lying or swampy areas, much of which has been cleared and is now under threat.