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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Backyard Babies

Sometimes I underestimate the power of life. I am amazed by the sheer strength and will that a living thing will exuberate, just to keep on living, growing and being beautiful. Of course, Pearlie's death also taught me that when something gives up the will to live, and go on peacefully to the next stage, there is a strength and will in that too. I once wrote about a plant that my friend Dirt Bird gave me as a housewarming gift. Oh, what a source of guilt that turned out to be as I let it die of starvation. It has been said by many people, many times, that one should not own a pet unless they are capable of looking after a plant. As it was, I had the rats already and it was kinda because of them that I let the plant die. That's not to say I'm trying to shift the blame. I take full responsibility. Instead of feeling guilty I now look back on that plant and wonder if, perhaps, I had to let it die because there was something negative in me that I needed to let go of. Or maybe that's just how I have reasoned it to alleviate the guilt and shame that I couldn't even give a plant a taste of water every once in a while.

Last year I decided I would like to plant a tree and learn the art of Bonsai. The quest started with digging up some saplings. I repotted four altogether. I left them out in the back yard and tended to them every once in a while. The winter came and, along with it, my heart was broken and I had barely the energy to nurture myself let alone these saplings that I had hoped would grow healthy and strong. Thery stayed out in the backyard all through the harsh winter and they died. I would look at them periodically, feeling a kind of nostaligia about how excited and hopeful I had felt when I first planted them. I had no guilty associations. I had started to learn that guilt was not a trusted friend but a sleekit one that would try to hold me back. Then, with the first whispers of Spring, when everything else was beginning to awaken, I noticed that two of the saplings were clinging onto life. In that desolate backyard these saplings had held onto a glimmer of hope. They wanted to be bonsai trees. That was their destiny.

I took them out to Nellybert's and repotted them after trimming their roots (Bert winced when I did this but that's what makes a bonsai tree a bonsai). They still have a long way to go (about 15 years) before they look like they are supposed to but what's 15 years in the grand scheme of things? They are now flourishing and amongst all the nature and greenery that the countryside has to offer as opposed to the grey concrete of the town.

The Lovely Mel also bought me a plant last year. Obviously the fact that my friends now buy me plants for my house is a sign that I am some kind of adult. This plant showed off beautiful flowers for a week and then it began to wither and fade. Everyone in my family is a keen gardener and possess more than a shred of common sense when it comes to such things. I saw the flowers die and assumed the whole plant had died. So out it went into the backyard as well. Whilst I liked to keep an eye on the tree saplings I became completely oblivious to this other plant. But, a week ago I noticed it and realised that it had began to grow again and was just about ready to bloom. The original stalk is dead. It juts out of the plant pot to remind me that it has been reincarnated, once again, into something beautiful. Of course, people that know about plants and trees and nature, know that they can grow anywhere. It's just that I believed that nothing could thrive in such a desolate place.


Rob Z Tobor said...

I know little about plants but the flower looks like a lily and will flower and die back again until next year. It is probably best outside and left to do its own thing once it has died back until it leaps into life next year.

As for the Bonsai tree well its looks like an Ash tree and I suspect might be a tough one to stop from growing into a huge tree. My advice would be to take it somewhere it can grow into a huge tree and find something slow growing to turn into a bonsai. Maybe a slow growing conifer or a japanese maple.

Nelly said...

The ash might not work as a bonsai but the hawthorn beside it might well succeed.

hootchinhannah said...

This is just the beginning of my interest in growing bonsai trees and I have to admit my research has been minimal. The ash does look like it wants to be a big tree but it would be nice if the hawthorn tree did succeed.