When he's not tending Council’s parks and gardens Rod Lovett is nurturing his award-winning bonsai collection.
The 59-year-old has been a member of Council’s parks team for 34 years. His love for bonsai sprouted from a surprise find in his first year on the job.
“We were working on a tree job in the old Finemore Caravan Park when we found a little fig tree on one of the branches,” Rod said.
“It had a little bulgy body and I thought ‘oh yeah, I could have a go at that'.”
Over the next 12 months Rod taught himself the art of bonsai through trial and error and plenty of reading.
That fig tree still holds pride of place in his bonsai collection which now features hundreds of trees.
Bonsai is an Asian art form using cultivation techniques to produce small trees in containers that mimic the shape and scale of full size trees.
Combining horticulture and art
“I just love it. It combines my two loves which are horticulture and art,” Rod said.
“For me it is an art as well. Using different pruning and wiring techniques you can design and style the tree however you want.
“You have full control of what it looks like and what direction you take it.”
What started as a hobby has led to national and international recognition with Rod taking out a number of awards.
Honours include the Bonsai Clubs International award and three National Bonsai Convention awards.
While Rod is very humble about his achievements, he said getting that level of recognition for his work was “awesome”.
“It’s judged by international bonsai masters so it makes you feel good when your tree is singled out.”
On three separate occasions his trees have also been displayed in the Australian National Bonsai Collection at the National Arboretum in Canberra.
“It was nice, you feel proud. Very proud.”