While on holidays I took the opportunity to visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens where the National Bonsai Collection is held/displayed. As I am quite involved with the National Bonsai & Penjing Collection of Australia I was interested in seeing how other countries display their national collection and of course to see if there were any “tips” I could take back to Australia.
To be brutally honest the only tip I took back was not to follow what has occurred in England. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, I was embarrassed for all the great bonsai artists of England if people/visitors to the the gardens think this is representative of bonsai in England. A couple of weeks before this visit I attended “Best of 20 Years Trophy” and I enjoyed great bonsai representing England but the type of great trees I saw in Belgium was not reflected in their national collection.
When I was there the collection was unattended (so impossible to ask about the collection or bonsai in general), it looked unkempt, the trees needed attention, many of the trees in the display were behind iron bars (that didn’t send the right message about beauty and tranquility to me), there weren’t many trees there to look at, the display of the trees needed improvement and the maintenance of the entire area needed work done. This list was topped off when I noted that one of the display stands had recently been painted and the bonsai pot had also been painted, I was astonished.
Enough whinging, I did take a photo of most of the trees and here are a few to have a look at.