Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Selections #147

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Like River, I generally run with a theme.  Today I am going back to the Arboretum.  It is also home to the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia (Penjing is the art of growing a miniature landscape in a pot or tray).

I am ambivalent about both bonsai and penjing.  I do admire the artistry, and recognise the skill and dedication involved.  Some of them are very beautiful.  However,  on the whole I would rather that the trees grew to their natural height and shapes.  Tree torture keeps popping into my mind...

Here are some of the featured examples.   (Click to embiggen.)

 This is an Atlas Cedar and has been growing since the 1960s.


 An African Olive - growing since the late 1980s


A Trident Maple - growing since 1989


 A Japanese Garden Juniper - growing since 1967.



And a pair of Bonsai Bottlebrush . 

And to finish on something I enjoyed without reservations.  The visitors centre makes wonderful use of light and wooden beams.  Here are a couple of photos of the interior.



The barrel like structures were showing information videos.

101 comments:

  1. As beautiful and long-lived as bonsais are, it still seems like a lowdown thing to do to a plant.

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    1. Snowbrush: I am so impressed with the bonsai your comment makes of this post.

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  2. You know, I never thought about bonsai being torture. Now you've done it! I'll always think of it that way. You're right, of course. :-)

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    1. DJan: I am sorry - I didn't mean to change the way you look at bonsai.

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  3. Much appreciated in Hawaii as well.ALOHA♥

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    1. Cloudia: Thank you so much. Have a rainbow filled weekend.

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  4. Replies
    1. Margaret Adamson: The Aboretum is an amazing place.

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  5. Pretty. But I would never have the patience to do that. Not sure I would even be able to keep cutting the natural out of the plant. That juniper looks like they tore the bark off. OUCH!

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    1. Teresa: It does look as if the bark was ripped away - all in the name of art.

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  6. Beautiful Bonsai trees, I love them all.

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  7. While I really admire the bark on the Japanese Garden Juniper, I'm with you. I don't particularly like Bonsai. Tree torture. :) I feel the same way about the fussy ball shapes people trim their hedges in.

    The inside of the visitor center is lovely! Nice use of natural light.

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    1. River Fairchild: Tree torture - for no reason other than we can. The visitor centre is great. There is a cafe and a restaurant as well. And I have earmarked the restaurant as somewhere to go for a celebration - looking out over the forests and the lake.

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  8. Hmm, the Nat. Bot. Gardens I am familiar with but this is a news on me. Looks like you had a senior's moment, thems aint no Banksias, them's Callistemons {bottlebrush to laymen). Tut, tut, and you ann Aussie!
    Have a happy, happy Sunday Particularly painful to see the maple and our natives treated like this.

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    1. Arija: How right you are. I was delighting in the alliteration, and allitereated incorrectly. Oops.

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  9. Those are wonderful trees/plants. I'm not usualy interested in those things but I remember being baffled the first time I visited an arboretum and japanese garden and even went back two years later.

    These places are candies for the eyes!

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    1. Mr Bouchard: Welcome and thank you. It is certainly candy for my eyes.

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  10. I love bonsai.....absolutely fascinating.

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    1. Delores: An incredible amount of work involved. And patience.

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  11. It always pays to look UP doesn't it EC? A bonsai grevillea is something different. I had nevr heard of Penjing ~ so thank you :)

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    1. Carol in Cairns: Opening our eyes (in whatever direction) is often rewarding.

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  12. I have a Bottlebrush tree in my yard that looks like a larger version of the bonsai with the red flowers.

    I hope you and sp are well and happy :)

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    1. Pam:): And your bottle-brush almost certainly is a larger version of my misnamed bonsai.

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  13. I'm with you--not a fan of bonsai. The use of shaped wood arches in the visitors center is lovely

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    1. Joanne Noragon: Thank you - I am really impressed with all of the buildings at the Arboretum.

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  14. I agree too - torture is a strong word, but some of the shapes certainly bring it to mind. I find bonsai interesting to look at occasionally, but I'd rather have a whole tree growing in its natural form. You wouldn't fit many birds on these trees!

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    1. Alexia: Torture is a strong word - but deliberately stunting and strategic amputations seem to fit the bill. And no, no birds - which is always a sadness.

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  15. I agree with your sentiments re bonsai, EC....I like the natural form in everything...including humans...no botox and all that other rubbish for me...keep it natural, I say with vigour! ;)

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    1. Lee: No botox or plastic surgery here either. Some bonsai live for hundreds of years - but some trees live for thousands...

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  16. The How-to of bonsai and such is what interests me. While I agree about allowing the tree to reach its natural proportions, the bonsai reaffirms to me that the tree will grow and become what it can--life finds a way.

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    1. Susan Kane: The tree will grow if it can, though I suspect the process kills quite a number. Life does indeed find a way often, but I would rather not increase the difficulties.

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  17. Replies
    1. Adam: They are, but I think they would be nicer, bigger.

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  18. You got some great photos, but bonsai is not my thing. I do like the beams in the visitors centre.

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    1. Karen: Nor mine. Interesting, even beautiful - but not for me.

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  19. Tree torture! I imagine they sit there, stewing, thinking, "Size matters!"

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  20. I am with you EC about bonsai. Very fascinating and there is beauty there too but it tends to remind me of when they used to bind the feet of Asian girls when they were tiny although I am sure the trees are more comfortable than they were. I thought the bonsai bottlebrush beautiful and yet I look at those in our garden which are 8' and 15' high. (Must admit the roots of the bigger one are playing havoc with the bricks in our driveway though).
    The interior of the building is fantastic. Wonderful design.
    Thanks again for sharing a most interesting Sunday Selection.

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    1. Mimsie: I like your analogy - and suspect it has a lot of truth in it. I think that the roots of bonsai plants are trimmed ... And yes, our driveways and paths are suffering because of tree roots - but I know which is more beautiful.

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  21. I love bonsai - I could stare at them for ages.

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    1. Jackie K: They can be very beautiful indeed, but I am not comfortable with them.

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  22. I love Bonsai and once tried to grow a bonsai pine, but it died. I tried to shape and trim too soon. I do prefer full sized trees though, they provide so much more shade on a hot day..
    The light and beams in the visitor's centre is just beautiful.

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    1. River: While I am told that Bonsai can live for hundreds of years I suspect that most of them die early.
      And yes, the light and the beams in the visitor's centre are amazing.

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  23. My friend creates Bonsai trees. I think they look good, but can't help feel it's a weird hobby, but then he probably thinks the same about me doing jigsaws.

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    1. LL Cool Joe: I think that most hobbies are on the weird side to anyone else. Good to have though.

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  24. I love trees and would never want to torture them but my grandfather had a bonsai tree that he lovingly grew and sculpted and I wanted to learn the art so badly. It is still one of two things I would enjoy learning. The other is raising and training homing pigeons.

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    1. Granny Annie: What amazing things to have tucked in your wish list. I hope you do get the opportunity to learn these things.

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  25. I love bonsai; the bottle brush is wonderful; growing them is a great lesson in patience I think.

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    1. Linda Starr: Watching trees grow is indeed a lesson in patience.

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  26. The Japanese Garden Juniper is pure Magic!

    Xx Love from MN, S. Xx

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    1. My Inner Chick: It is an incredible shape isn't it?

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  27. Or its like foot wrapping where women wrap their feet so they won't grow, reminds me of that too. Or the obsession with miniatures, and building them. A friend of mine has a husband into model training. She doesn't understand it, seems to her like a grown man playing with toys. He builds replicas of entire railways of yore, only in miniature, or will sit with others of his thinking watching trains come and go. I love cats but I would not spend my time building tiny replicas of them, so I don't get it either. Nor with the trees, unless I was in prison, then I would miss trees and I could understand it.

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    1. Strayer: When I went to Antarctica I loved it - but did suffer from tree deprivation. I hadn't consciously realised how important they are to me.

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    2. Trees are so beautiful, I can't imagine not seeing them but then I have lived all my life in Oregon. I suppose some who grow up in different environs might feel hemmed in or claustrophobic surrounded in old forests with the sky barely visible.

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  28. Def. don't understand the appeal of bonsai but appreciate the dedication and skill involved.

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  29. Beautiful photos, all of them. Yet when you say "tree torture", hmm, does have you think again. I imagine it's like a mediation, tending to bonsai for hours.

    Lovely though!

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    1. wordsfallfrommyeyes: As I said, I am ambivalent about bonsai. I can see the beauty, and I do appreciate the skill, dedication and work. And believe that trees should also be let follow their natural path.

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  30. What a beautiful place! The monastery that is about 30 miles from here has a greenhouse full of bonsai trees. One of the monks has dedicated himself to that - so beautiful.

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    1. Lynn: I can quite see the serenity that could be obtained from devoting your life to bonsai.

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  31. Gidday Sue,

    Cedar the miniature trees. I sure do. I've always been amazed by that. Your photos are superb and capture the very essence of those tiny trees. I visualised Munchkins looking after them.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

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    1. klahanie: Dear Penny, if the munchkins moved in, they could transfer the bonsai to penjing. And I love noticing that you as well as Gary are a talented punster.

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  32. Brilliant! Very creative designs. I love bonsai. It convinces me that it's not the size that matters but the aesthetic value of it.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. A Cuban in London: No, it is never the size - or shouldn't be.

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  33. I feel the same ambivalence EC. I have never "liked" bonsai.
    From a young age, I felt sorry for the trees and thought of them as captured, tortured and restrained.
    I preferred walking, sitting and playing among tall trees - touching and hugging them... and feeling their magic.

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    1. Vicki: And trees hold magic for me to this day. Rather a lot of magic.

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  34. I know what you mean. It kind of makes me think of that practice where they would bind the feet of the girls so that their feet would stay small "as women's feet should be". I find them beautiful but wonder, like you, but feel uncomfortable with it somehow.
    Thanks for sharing, friend:)
    -Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer Richardson: Thank you. I am really reassurred by the number of kindred spirits I have found.

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  35. I've always been fascinated by Bonsai's. So small. So perfect. So gorgeous.

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    1. Wendy: Such a lot of work. So much patience, so much skill. And I am still not comfortable.

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  36. I can't imagine how much work they take.

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    1. Birdie: Heaps and heaps and heaps of work I would imagine. And one error and the tree dies.

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  37. I do agree about allowing trees to grow to their natural height. However, I have wanted to keep one small just to prove I can torture effectively and still keep like in it. That sounds twisted!

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    1. Practical Parsimony: There are certainly twisted pieces to me - so I am always happy to hear other people admit to it. I thought of while I was at the markets the other day. I saw and admired some maple seedling. At $50, admiring them was all I was going to do. On the other side of the markets a stall holder had the same maple for $12. It was, if anything, bigger and had a nicer shape. So now I have a burgundy leaved maple to plant.

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  38. bonsai is so beautiful but takes so much effort and time!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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    1. My Unfinished Life: Which is true of all art I think. Effort, time and vision...

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  39. I admire the artistry in bonsai trees. You have taken great photos of these.

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    1. DeniseinVA: There were probably a couple of hundred there. So much commitment...

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  40. I feel the same as you about bonsai. Lovely to see, but....

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    1. Carol Kilgore: Yes, but. I am however glad to hear that others see the beauty and feel the ambivalence.

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  41. Nice trees. I love the look of bonsai trees.

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    1. Lady Lilith BloodCrave: I like/love most trees. How is your daughter? Fully recovered?

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  42. Although I like many things in miniature sizes, trees are not one of them!

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    1. jenny_o: Trees should (in my head anyway) be left to reach for the sky.

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  43. A while back I recall seeing a very large pot containing a 5 foot oak tree.in the Eastern Sydney suburbs. Must have been in that pot before I was born I thought , the owner stated it had produced acorns a statement which I found hard to swallow.

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    1. Vest: I suspect it could have. An oak self seeded into a pot at my parents place. My father left it there and it did produce acorns after a few years. And promptly died. Last gasp?

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  44. Beautiful collection of plants. The way you have presented it looks wonderful...

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    1. Weekend-Windup: Welcome - and thank you.

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  45. These are the unique trees! Nice scenery...

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    1. Swati Singh: All trees are unique - which is wonderful.

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  46. "Tree torture keeps popping into my mind..." - Hahaha I have often said as much, I too prefer them to grow wild and free, to dwarf us rather than the other way round. The wood and the light, great design, wood is so much softer on the eye and heart than metal.

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    1. All Consuming: I almost always prefer old buildings. I expected to love the trees at the arboretum, but was blown away by the beauty of the building as well.

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  47. While some of those bonsai "landscapes" look beautiful, I agree about it seeming like tree torture and as several people mentioned it is reminiscent of those poor women with their "lotus feet" or the genetic modifying of domestic pets for a specific "look" regardless of the impact on their health. I wonder why mankind always feels the urge to shape the natural world into something else?

    As for the building - wow! They really have outdone themselves with the design. Very impressive. Your last two posts inspired me to pour over their website and read more about their vision and plans.

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    1. Marie: Thank you. It is an incredible place and will only get better. And yes, I agree with you about our need to alter and improve. It so often isn't.
      Off topic - I remember you saying that your inability to comment was a computer setting. Can you remember which one? There are a couple of blogs that I simply cannot comment on.

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    2. It was the "enable third party cookies" setting. I never changed it, but one of those Firefox updates must have done so, because suddenly one day I was locked out of 80% of the Blogger blogs. My son found the answer for me and as soon as I enabled it, I could comment again.

      As I said, I use Firefox, but if you want to find where the setting is (mine is under "Tools" and "Privacy") this page gives you the low down for most of the popular browsers: http://www.ec.kingston.com/ecom/config/EnableCookie.htm

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    3. Marie: Thank you - I will have a play later.

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  48. I have always been fascinated by bonsai trees, and appreciate their artistic symmetry. But in a way, you're right. Forcing them to stay small is maybe as bad as Chinese foot-binding.

    I got a book in the mail yesterday that I think you might enjoy. It's called, "Remarkable Trees of the World." Wow! What beautiful photography!

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    1. Susan: That book does indeed sound like one I would love. And will probably track down. Thank you.

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