I have had a Kunzea ambigua for many years… say fourteen. It has gone through several dramatic style changes, a few pots and I finally kinda felt I was on the right course but it just wasn’t quite right. Okay, it got second at the Royal Easter Show but there was still something that I wasn’t seeing.

I attended the 2019 AABC National Bonsai Convention which was ALL on natives and the demonstrators worked with kunzea. Not this sub branch but similar and it suddenly
came to me what I was doing wrong as I listened to the styling information and watched them work.

The foliage pads are growing out of shape but there was a contorted trunk ending in two neat pads of foliage… it just didn’t jell. Watching and listening to the demonstrators I suddenly saw where I was wrong. The feel of the roots and the trunk, up to the foliage is of hardship and struggle but the foliage pads aren’t speaking the same language- the foliage pads are talking of plenty of resources… water, food, sun. Two different scripts.

I have done the initial restyling and, keeping in mind that I am taking fully vertical branches and making them horizontal, there’s a magic happening. The tree is not there yet and could hardly be expected to be. But the guidelines are set and a season’s growth and development and refinement will see a wonderful change. Suddenly the foliage and the trunk as repeating the same message of hardship and struggle. The now extended foliage has strengthened the trunk by repeating what it is saying… fighting for survival.