PATIENCE A VIRTUE: Robert Williams, of Richmond Hill, with his prize-winning dwarf fig bonsai at the North Coast National.
PATIENCE A VIRTUE: Robert Williams, of Richmond Hill, with his prize-winning dwarf fig bonsai at the North Coast National. Jacklyn Wagner

It's a small world in prized bonsai garden

PATIENCE is the essential tool in growing a bonsai.

Robert Williams, of Richmond Hill, spent 11 years growing the dwarf fig tree that won him first prize for most unusual bonsai at the North Coast National this year.

He pruned the root system and leaves of the tree for years to make his winning entry.

“It is an Australian-style bonsai and is more natural looking,” Mr Williams said.

For next year's show he is planing a saikei, which is a landscape of bonsai and rocks in a tray.

It is like creating another world, he said.

The trick is to have well-drained potting mix for your bonsai, or they can get waterlogged, Mr Williams explained.

The 59-year-old collects rocks as well and when he isn't working at Lismore Base Hospital as a gardener, he is doing something with plants.

His botanical interest started early.

“My mum told me I used to pick gerberas and then plant them in the ground thinking more would grow,” he said.

“I like anything to do with horticulture.”

The art of growing bonsai began in China, where it was called penjing.

The Japanese took this way of growing plants out of the garden landscape and developed it into bonsai by growing miniature trees in small tubs and trays.

Contact the Summerland Bonsai Society if you are interested in trying your hand at growing bonsai. They meet on monthly at the Lismore Uniting Church.



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