Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I always teased my husband that when I am old and retired, have finally finished the house projects and have my garden practially tending itself, that I would learn how to bonsai.
Apparently I can retire because this year for Christmas, he got me a bonsai tree! For some reason he said I am not allowed to retire though...

Since I received the tree I had been looking around for a book and a little (he he he) guidance on what to do with my tiny juniper, when in the window of the florist shop that I walk by on my way to work appeared a sign: "Beginner Bonsai" 1-30-11. Someone read my mind!

On a cold Sunday afternoon 7 of us gathered to hear about these small trees and get some tips to help us to enjoy them for years to come. I have always been facinated by bonsai and thought that there was some great mystery and hours of complicated techniques in growing them. Turns out that unless I am starting my own or planning to grow a forest (albeit a tiny one) of them, they follow many of the same concepts of full size gardening and don't require a lot of upkeep.

The first thing our instructor told us was that it is not pronounce bon-sigh like most people think. It is actually pronounce bone-sigh, and means "plant in tray." There goes the mystery and romanticism of that name! They can be grown from seeds and trained to be small from the beginning, or grown from larger root stock or a cutting and slowly the bigger branches are cut back and the plant is put in a smaller and smaller pot, encouraging the miniature leaves that bonsai are known for. Through wiring the limbs to encourage them to grow in pleasing angles and trimming out branches that make the composition unbalanced, a sculptural plant can be had. With life expectancies similar to that of a regular tree, I am hoping that my grandchildren like to garden, because once the house renovations are finished, I suspect I will be starting my own little forest. Hopefully before I retire...

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