Club Meeting Tuesday 9th April

Our next Tuesday night club meeting will be on 9th April, at the Newlands Senior Citizens Centre, Murray Rd, Coburg, commencing at the usual time of 7:30pm.

The discussion and demonstration for this meeting will focus on establishment of forest or group plantings using Australian natives, and we want to encourage members to bring along, either established groups for display or review, or trees and tray (or similar) which they would like to have some assistance to set up as a group planting.

At our previous meeting on 12th March, we had a good members’ workshop night, along with a demonstration by Quentin of separation of an air-layered ficus, which he set up at a club meeting late last year.

Air layered tree ready for separation (the original base and root mass was really a bit ugly!


Cutting the old trunk below the new root system


Settling the new root system into a pot.


December Club Meeting – Tuesday 12th December

The Club’s final meeting for 2023, to wrap up the year and to prepare us for 2024.

What is it that helps show a tree at its best in an exhibition? We will have plenty of discussion, demonstration and advice in relation to works being carried out on trees in preparation for the Club’s exhibition to be held in March, to assist members who have bonsai that they may wish to put on display. Members are encouraged to bring one or two trees that they may be considering for display at the exhibition, to see what may be needed to be done over the next couple of months to exhibit them at their best.

And of course, there will be plenty of time on the night to socialize, celebrate, talk about bonsai, and to review what we have all done over the year.

Where? – Harry Atkinson Centre, Coburg Lake Reserve, Park St, Coburg, commencing at 7:30pm.

November Club Meeting – “Eucalypts: The Weird and the Wonderful”, with Dean Nicolle

The November Club meeting was a most fascinating night of Eucalypts.

The presenter on the night, Dr Dean Nicolle, took us on a photographic journey around much of Australia, looking at some of the diverse and fascinating range of eucalypts to be found across the country. From some of the Corymbia species in the north, through to Snow Gums of the south, there was just so much to explore of the occurrence of various species throughout Australia, and their characteristics and growth habits.

Dean is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and expert people on Eucalypts in Australia, and is the recipient of a number of major awards and honors for his services to conservation of Australian Eucalypts, including an OAM in 2018. As a researcher, a publisher of some of the most definitive books on Eucalypt identification, and managing the Currency Creek Arboretum in South Australia, where he has planted more than 800 species of eucalypts, Dean has travelled throughout Australia identifying and collecting eucalypts for his books and for the arboretum. 

Dean gave the club members plenty to think about in relation to various species we might consider for growing as bonsai, and provided plenty of background information on growth habits. The evening certainly reinforced the understanding that, with all the diversity across the eucalypts, we can never treat them all as being just the same in their needs and responses to growing as bonsai.

October Club Meeting – AGM and propagation demonstrations

The October club meeting started with the Annual General Meeting, held to report on the year past, to elect the club committee for 2023/24, and to look ahead to the coming year’s activities, with plenty of active discussion and suggestions for the committee and club to consider in preparing the year’s program. With a good number of members present on the night, including several of our regional and interstate members on Zoom, the AGM was well attended, with a good range of valuable comments and ideas presented for consideration.

The AGM was followed by a presentation and discussion session on various propagation techniques, including repotting of two Leptospermums by Marcela, alongside a demonstration by Quentin of air layering the lower trunk of quite a large Ficus, and the use of thread grafting and approach grafting of branches for developing improved plants as bonsai. All of these demonstrations generated a lively amount of interest, questions and discussion amongst the members.

Over the next couple of months, the club committee will be working on the program for the coming year, as well as preparation for the Club’s 2024 Exhibition on 15/16 March.

Photos of some of the demonstration action on the night…..

Quentin and Marcela at work on their trees


Removing bark for aerial layering


Leptospermum laevigatum repotted


Ficus with collar attached to allow air layer to develop




Club Meeting September 2023 – celebrating the first 10 years of the club, and talking about stones, stumps, bark and pots

What can’t we use as containers for bonsai? Bonsai = Tree in a Pot, but our definition of a “pot” can be quite varied, if the examples from our September Club meeting were anything to go by!

The topic for the night was advertised as alternative containers for growing bonsai, and there were quite a number of interesting alternatives brought along for discussion and demonstration on the night. There were hollow logs, bark pieces, hand-crafted trays, mallee roots with excavated holes, any number of interesting rocks with planting hollows, as well as artificial rocks and mountains crafted out of various materials.

Thanks to all who brought tree settings and materials for discussion on the night, and who helped celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Victorian Native Bonsai Club.

Some of the examples on the night ……..

Hollowed-out rocks


Mallee roots and rocks ready for use


Tilt allows changed setting of tree direction


Tree placed in rocky hollow


Tree + rock + stand + companion plants

August Club Meeting – Jarryd Bailey Presenting

At the club’s August meeting, on the evening of Tuesday 8th August, we are most delighted to have Jarryd Bailey as our special presenter for the night, after he has conducted a couple of workshops for members earlier in the day.

Jarryd comes to us from his more usual haunts in Tasmania, where he operates his bonsai business, Montane Bonsai Garden, on the slopes of Mt Wellington. Jarryd has an extensive background and great experience in growing bonsai, and especially in the ethical collecting and growing of native species from his home State. Jarryd has a special interest in the naturalist approach, observing the plants in the wild, and using the unique ecosystems of Tasmania as a guide in his approach to creating bonsai with Tasmanian native species.

This is expected to be a stimulating night, held at the club’s usual meeting rooms at the Coburg Lake Reserve, Coburg, commencing at 7:30 pm, and available simultaneously to our more distant members by Zoom through the link provided. 

July 2023 Club Meeting

Our Tuesday night club meeting for July was quite a fascinating session, including a range of topics and activities. These consisted of workshops for members with their own trees, along with reviews of several of the trees brought in for display, discussions on taking inspiration from nature in the way we think about styling our trees (great topic initiated by Rod), and a demonstration by Quentin of redesign and potting up of a unusual species, with various common names of Wallaby Apple, Orange Thorn, and others similar (Pittosporum spinescens syn Citriobatus spinescens).


Quentin with Wallaby Apple plant


Working on the Wallaby Apple
Wallaby Apple remodeled and potted up


June Club Meeting

The June meeting of VNBC was held on Tuesday 13th June, with a special presentation by Dr Greg Moore, who has previously been a key member of the University of Melbourne’s Burnley College, and is very well known for his wide-ranging expertise and knowledge in plant science and arboriculture.

Dr Greg Moore has a very active research and education profile, and is widely recognised as a significant figure in contributing to our understanding of the world of plants and their role in our lives.

The presentation by Greg for our meeting was entitled “Big trees, little trees, it’s all about the roots“.

VNBC Exhibition 2023 – 24th / 25th March

What a fascinating range of trees and styles once again on show at the club’s 2023 Exhibition of Australian native species as Bonsai. 

This year, club members presented 61 trees on display, providing the steady stream of visitors with quite a diversity of species, styles and ages to contemplate and admire. A number of comments from first-time visitors were along the lines of “Wow, I never could have imagined Australian native trees and shrubs looking as beautiful as these as bonsai”.

Voting was held over the two days for visitors to nominate their favourite tree for the Public’s Choice Award, and this year, the winning tree for this prize was a magnificent Coastal Tea Tree, Leptospermum laevigatum, with a Mountain Burgan, Kunzea peduncularis, in second place.

Public Choice Winner Coastal Tea Tree, Leptospermum laevigatum
2nd Place, Public Choice Award
Mountain Burgan, Kunzea peduncularis

This year again, we had representatives of Eucalypt Australia judging for the Best Eucalypt in Show as part of our celebration of National Eucalypt Day on 23rd March. From their very detailed inspections of the range of Eucalypts presented in the exhibition, the trophy was awarded for a Smithton Peppermint, Eucalyptus nitida, just edging out a River Red Gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, into second place.

“Best Eucalypt in Show 2023”, Eucalyptus nitida, Smithton Peppermint


2nd place, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, River Red Gum

As always, the sales area was very popular amongst visitors, with quite a few people taking away plants and pots (with plenty of advice) to establish their first bonsai tree.

Sales area at one of the quieter times

Congratulations and thanks are due to all members who participated through putting bonsai on display, setting up and dismantling the exhibition, and actively working in the running of the two days, in helping make this show a success.

A full set of images of all of the bonsai on display at the exhibition has been added to our photo gallery.