What a Bonsai present...

I've been very keen on Bonsai Trees for years. The whole idea of a mini tree in a pot (the meaning of Bonsai) has fascinated me and I'm always curious to stop and gaze at them whenever I see one.

Funnily enough Bonsai Trees had come up in conversation just recently (planned or not the jury is still out) and then "lo and behold" on Sunday 21st June on Fathers Day at my daughters I receive my very own first Bonsai tree.. A present from my Daughter and Son; Eleanor and Otis. Now as presents go... I think this is up there at the top, if not first... then probably first!  I just love it.

Now I know very little about Bonsai... roots need trimming, they need feeding regularly, watering and generally a bit more attention than your average house plant... but... to have one and be responsible for it... I felt a little bit like a father taking his first baby home... full of trepidation and anxious about what I needed to do with this very dependent thing. It's life quite simply in my hands!

There is a big difference between what I know... and... how to look after this Bonsai. What to do and when? Fortunately with my new Bonsai came a little Bonsai care booklet and some information about this particular Bonsai 'Chinese Elm', allegedly a good bonsai for the amateur beginner amongst us.

The first task was to decide where to site the Bonsai... and with a little bit of adjustment a light airy place with sunlight only early in the morning was found. To be honest it was a bit "Hobson's choice" but nevertheless I thought it would work... 

The other houseplant was also doing well there on top of my 21" CRT antique monitor (soon to be upcycled as a book case) and watched over by the ornamental Buddha who is resting in the same location. So it was decided. Sunday 21st June 2020. The following morning I began to study the leaflet and find out what I was going to need to do to take care of this little tree.

I was a little worried initially as the tree appeared to have developed some yellow leaves but it stated in the leaflet that this was to be expected and would settle down once in its new home. Watering was as necessary, but only when the soil is damp not wet (don't want root rot)... and feeding and spraying (pest deterrent and conditioner) once per week. So the plan was laid out feeding is on Saturdays, spraying on Fridays and then the watering as and when required but check each day condition of the soil in the pot. This seemed good and so... day 1 was complete and I saw that it was good...

So then the week rolled out and each day followed the last watering was every two days as we are in the summer time and the soil dries out quite quick. My Bonsai liked the location... spraying took place on Friday and the feeding on the Saturday. But something else came up during the week which made me take to the Bonsai leaflet again... there were lots of green shoots everywhere... I was going to need to prune otherwise I'd have a full sized tree on my hands before long... trim back to the first two new leaves on each green shoot as it approaches 2-2.5cm in length. This is necessary to both shape and / or maintain the Bonsai in an aesthetically pleasing condition.

I had no idea really what to expect with this Bonsai so I looked up the website Bonsai Direct to just check things out and learn as much as I could. What struck me straight away was the age of these small trees. Like I said earlier looking after a Bonsai becomes a long term commitment rather like having a child or a pet. This Bonsai Tree that I have accepted the responsibility for is already 16 years old. That means people have cared for this tree for 16 years... since 2004 for this small miniature tree.

This small tree has already received 16 years of love and life before I have taken on the responsibility to maintain it from here on in. So it comes to me now with a huge legacy. It changes things that knowledge. I "feel" the responsibility and I want to ensure this little tree continues to grow and develop. That is going to require my love, a lot of caring, planning and dedication. I am no stranger to long term commitment and this tree will prosper under my tenure.

in Conclusion

The most interesting thing though is that inside this modality shift something else has changed too. An underlying growth in my desire to take care of everything that is mine to watch over, and that I am responsible for.

A simple cup that use to drink my lemon, ginger, honey, Lemon essential oil and tepid water in the morning... I found myself truly appreciating its simplicity, design and the pattern adorning the outside. I recognised my lack of care for my Aloe Vera plant and immediately upped my game... and the other houseplant next to the Buddha in the bay window on the first picture has never been tended so well...

Final Words

This little Bonsai tree has opened up a new channel of love and not only will this small tree see the benefits of this, so will the people around me, the plants I am cultivating and looking after, and all those possessions that are in my care at this time.

Who'd of thought that a simple Bonsai could do all this? ... and yet I believe our growth can be found in anything and in any place we choose to apply our conscious thought.


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