Bonsai House, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha — Australia
Something to push the boundaries of our Greenhouse Tour today; the Bonsai House of Brisbane Botanic Gardens in Queensland, Australia.
Not the typical structure that we normally share but there's a reason we called this a greenhouse tour and not a glasshouse tour and this place encapsulates all that we hold dear in our research of the man/nature crossover.
Tucked in the Japanese Garden we found the stark white walls to be a refreshing way of breaking up the surrounding foliage and the crisp and clean render forms the most beautiful backdrop for each individual bonsai tree; some of which are over 80 years old despite being only a few feet tall.
Fuelled by a picnic of piping-hot gyoza that was being served from a food vendor on the lawn, we spent a blissful hour getting to know the twists and turns of each tree, rich in character and the result of generations of care and guidance. Bonsai is a Japanese art form and a practice performed to induce contemplation in the viewer and no doubt builds patience in the gardener too as the trees are pruned and steered in the desired direction.
We love the miniature worlds created in each vessel and how each tree presents a different personality. Trees displayed here are a mixture of Camellias, Conifers, Azaleas and of course Maples. Our first real experience of bonsai was at the Japanese Garden in Cornwall which we try to visit each year, and in the Grand Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2017.
Perhaps our favourite aspect of the Bonsai House is the simple construction. The walls are built (very humbly) using the earth that was excavated to create the site, with a steel scaffold top and finally covered with black netting. The attention to detail is quite something; with the scaffolding used decoratively to create a linear pattern reminiscent of traditional Japanese architecture and a celebration of simple, functional materials. We loved that the light played with the lines further and made graphic shadows throughout the structure.
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha are free to enter.