National Arboretum Canberra

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The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection

Universal Penjing Conference, 18 – 20 September 2018

Penjing Masters from around the world have gathered for the first time in Australia at the inaugural National Arboretum Canberra, International Bonsai Art & Culture Biennale and International Penjing Creation Conference 2018.

Immerse yourself in the ancient world of penjing, learn new skills and gain inspiration from nine international penjing masters. Enjoy talks, demonstrations, workshops, exhibition and cultural immersion. Evening events offer the opportunity to socialise with bonsai and penjing professionals and enthusiasts whilst enjoying the company of the Masters.

Visit Universal Penjing Conference website for more information and registration details.

Visit the collection

See an amazing 3D virtual tour of the Collection by Canberra business Photostat3D - brilliant!

The living artworks of this national collection feature some of the finest miniature trees and forests in the world, created by some of Australia's leading bonsai and penjing artists.

About 80 bonsai and penjing trees and forests are usually on display, in a variety of traditional and modern styles, with both Australian native and exotic trees.

Bonsai and penjing are like living sculptures, shaped over time to convey concepts, ideas, emotions and stories. The trees are designed to reflect trees or landscapes in nature; to create a sense of calm and peacefulness and broaden the viewers' cultural understanding.

The oldest trees in the Collection are more than 60 years old, much younger than the oldest known bonsai and penjing in the world at over 800 years old. More about bonsai and penjing.

The Collection's bonsai and penjing are all donated or loaned by the artists, their families or friends.

Bonsai Welcome Garden "Yokoso Niwa"

Bonsai Welcome Garden Yokoso Niwa

The Bonsai Welcome Garden, or "Yokoso Niwa" is inspired by Japanese bonsai and moss gardens. The garden represents a landscape of mountains, symbolised by the large rocks, with a dry river bed flowing between them.

Plants include Scleranthus biflorus and uniflorus, local mosses, Lomandra longifolia 'Tanika', Macrozamia moorei and Cycas revoluta. The Japanese maple is Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Inabe Shidare’.

The Niwaki pines

Just outside the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection are two Japanese black pines (Pinus thunbergia) styled as niwaki, similar to bonsai but on a larger scale. These trees are the oldest Japanese black pines in Australia, grown in 1951 from the first Japanese black pine seeds imported into Australia by pioneers of bonsai in Australia, Dorothy and Vita Koreshoff. Japanese black pines are native to Japan and South Korea.

Rare fossil among the bonsai

A 165 million year old petrified tree stump is now on display in the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection. This rare fossil was kindly donated by the National Dinosaur Museum. Be sure to see it on your next visit. See the full story.


The collection is supported by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers and the broader bonsai and penjing community. New volunteers are always welcome and free training is provided. For more information, contact the Curator, Leigh Taafe on 02 6207 8483, email:

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