Mt Spurgeon Black Pine


Mt Spurgeon Black Pine (Prumnopitys ladei) is a rare popocarp tree which occurs in rainforest in northeast Queensland, Australia. It is similar in appearance to the much more common Wollemi Pine.


I was given this tree by a bonsai friend who shares my passion for rare and unusual plants. It was growing perfectly upright until I re-planted  it on its side with a small rock underneath to keep it in place. The rationale was simply that this angle might present more options. As it grew in this new position a side branch ‘took off’ growing straight up. In time it may well have overtaken the original trunk line.



Penjing School Stytling

Eastern Su


(so far)






Cedrus Deodara ‘Mountain Beauty’

The Material

‘Mountain Beauty’ was first identified as a ‘sport’ growing on a Deodara by a man living in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. He propagated the sport and it quickly became popular for bonsai.


The Source

Koreshoff’s Bonsai Nursery (now closed) had ‘Mountain Beauty’ from the early 1980’s and it is believed that this is the origin of this material. The estimated age of this tree is 55 years.

It was purchased from a private owner who was dismissive of its bonsai potential. It has been left to grow in this plastic pot for many years but was in extremely good health.


The yellow ‘paint’ you can see about halfway up the trunk is not paint. It is a bright yellow lichen and there is much more of it on the rear of the trunk.

The Plan

‘Mountain Beauty’ is very, very, very brittle. Whole branches can come off without any warning whatsoever. So, I enlisted the assistance of a well-known bonsai expert who had much experience working with this material.


I had previously removed many dead branches that had been growing on the inside of the tree.

The plan now was to keep as many of the branches as possible, wire them to allow them to be better-placed on the tree, and then re-pot.

The Result


Am very happy with this. It looks like an ‘old tree’ and that is precisely what we were after. In about six months time we will start placing more of the foliage where we want it but it will necessarily be a slow and deliberate process.

Updates will follow.

Lingnan Garden, Mei foo, Hong Kong

from my visit in March 2014

considered just a local garden of no particular reputation but a good example of Lingnan School

with roots having escaped the pot!
with roots having escaped the pot!

great pot
great pot

viewed from a high point in the garden
viewed from a high point in the garden

this garden is surrounded by high density urban development - a real oasis!
this garden is surrounded by high density urban development – a real oasis!

you will see the turtle and snake in gardens all over China
you will see the turtle and snake in gardens all over China

the entrance good feng shui
the entrance
good feng shui

Best Garden Nursery in Sydney


Penjing and Bonsai enthusiasts from all around Sydney rate this place as the best garden nursery in the Sydney area. It’s reputation has spread interstate with visitors insisting on a visit. If you’re sick of the bland and generic offerings from other nurseries then you simply must visit this place.

It’s a general nursery smack bang in the middle of the Vietnamese community here in Sydney. They have general garden plants and supplies that you will not be able to find anywhere else.

And a massive range of pots, figurines, gravel, wire, tools, everything and the lowest prices anywhere.

Run by a wonderful Vietnamese family and tell Lee that I sent you!


Welcome to my Penjing Shed

in Guangzhou, China March 2013
in Guangzhou, China
March 2013

After some ten years of very active involvement both learning and practicing Bonsai I came to find myself increasingly drawn towards Penjing or Chinese Bonsai.

So, after nearly three years of weekly Penjing classes, independent study and guidance from teachers I find myself now here, my own blog, sharing my passion for this ancient, unique and fascinating art form.

Given the close  relationship between Penjing, Bonsai, and Chinese Gardens this blog will feel free to wander across all these genres, and others, to further an expanded and more profound understanding  of this art.

I hope you return often, contribute and enjoy.