COMING SOON: The Tondoon Botanic Gardens are planning to create a bonsai garden.
COMING SOON: The Tondoon Botanic Gardens are planning to create a bonsai garden. Christopher Chan GLADV060413BAMM

Bonsai exhibition on this weekend

FOR the first time, a bonsai exhibition is being held in Gladstone and organisers are hoping the event will pique the interest of local kids.

Barry Meiring, parks and conservation senior coordinator at Gladstone Regional Council and bonsai enthusiast, recently started a community bonsai group in the hopes of training more people in this unique art.

He's hoping there'll be a good crowd at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens tomorrow for the bonsai show.

There'll be about fifty bonsai on display at the art gallery and Japanese tea gardens with members of the CQ Bonsai Club coming from as far as Rockhampton and Yeppoon to share their passion.

Mr Meiring said while the art takes skill and patience, anyone can make a start and it's a great project for children as the plants can attain their 'bonsai look' within just two years.

"You can start from a seedling or a small plant at a nursery with lots of branches close to the base," he said.

"The trick to this is; it does pay to know what plants bonsai well."

Mr Meiring said most Queensland fig species go well as bonsai.

"Especially looking at ones with naturally small leaves," he said.

"The smaller the leaves of the plant, the easier it will be to create at the right scale because bonsai is small."

Other tree varieties Mr Meiring recommended were serissa - "that's a really good little tree", and buxus (normally used for hedging).

"There's so many native plants, you can create bonsai with banksia, and even gum trees," he said.

Mr Meiring has been an avid fan of bonsai since he was a little kid growing up in Cape Town, South Africa.

Over the years he has created hundreds of bonsai. The art form has provided him with a lifelong passion.

With a workshop coming up especially for kids, he's hoping a new generation will embrace the ancient art form.