Pohutukawa as Bonsai


Root over rock as Bonsai

Metrosidorus excelsa, also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree and in Maori, Pohutukawa, is an interesting tree to style as Bonsai.


This looks like two smaller trees, simulating a clump style Bonsai.

I have recently had the opportunity to photograph a few very old Pohutukawa trees in Mt Maunganui in New Zealand. I have no idea how old they are, but their form is quite distinctive when you study the trees in nature. From this I came to the conclusion that they are best suited for informal upright, clump style or root over rock style. They naturally grow aerial roots and form good bark on exposed roots. The red coloured flowers add to the spectacle. The three Bonsai photos are mainly from the http://www.nzbonsai.co.nz website and the http://www.bonsaiforbeginners.com site.


Masses of aerial roots makes it perfect for a root over rock style.

The photos following from there are the photos of the trees growing in Mt Maunganui, New Zealand. The first group is typical of the clump style growth that a lot of these trees show.

The next group of trees shows why I think the Pohutukawa is excellent material for root over rock style.

Some of these trees are also seen in nature as examples of an informal upright style.

I have also noticed some branches hanging very low, almost to the point of being a cascade or a semi-cascade.

I have been growing cuttings of another form of Meterosidorus, namely the Metrosideros kermadecensis. This tree has smaller leaves than the excelsa which is great for Bonsai. All these varieties are frost sensitive and needs protection in cold climates.




Promoting Bonsai in the Tararua District, New Zealand.

Trestle table, table cover, stands, Bonsai trees, tools, wire, water, brochures – all packed in the trusty Bonsai wagon and off to Kildrummie nusery I go. Quickly set the display table up. Walk through the nursery to see what is available just in case somebody asks about using nursery stock to get a Bonsai going. 

One of the local club guys arrive and set a table up for the demonstrations. He brought a few starter trees for us to work on while we entertain the public. It is a small, independent nursery and I was quite surprised to see quite a number of customers visiting the nursery in what is a small town. Being in a rural area means that everybody knows everybody else and soon a few conversations start up. One person accused us of murdering the trees, but the majority was quite interested in what we do and asked very good questions. Three trees were styled during the time there. We will have to do this again as it was a great day out and more people now know a little bit more about Bonsai compared to what they knew when they woke up this morning.

Thank you Roger, Kildrummie Nursery in Dannevirke, for allowing us to take over your nursery. At least you sold a Bonsai pot!


Boon Manaktivipart visits New Zealand

The guest artist at the recently held New Zealand National Bonsai Convention in Christchurch was Boon Manaktivipart. Boon is one of those professionals who shares his very wide and in-depth knowledge freely. Some of the seasoned veterans of Bonsai in New Zealand were glued to his words over the just more than two days in Christchurch.

New Zealand National Bonsai Convention and Show (1)

The New Zealand National Convention and National Show recently took place in Christchurch, the city which was badly shaken by large earthquakes a few years ago. It was wonderful to see the convention hosted there and to me personally, a great occasion, as it was the first time I have been there after the earthquakes. The rebuild is in full swing, but the devastation is still clearly visible.

The Friday saw the New Talent competition with five competitors and later that night a wonderful performance by Chinese performers preceded the official opening. Boon Manakitivipart was also introduced to the crowd. The following two days were filled with demonstrations by Boon and other local artists with the prizegiving ceremony and dinner on the Saturday night. Below are a few of the trees on display at the convention. New Zealand trees have come a long way and is progressing rapidly. For a very young Bonsai country and no real Bonsai market to speak of, we can be proud of what was on display here and especially the great organisation behind this convention. Next year we will meet in Auckland with Peter Warren our headliner.

Another blog post will have more photos and also the demonstration trees that Boon worked on.