Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Bonsai to Be

Wee Willow Inspecting Progress

I mentioned in a previous blog that one of my projects for the summer was to turn this evergreen into a bonsai or ornamental shrub. Fire wood had once been stacked against it on the porch and winds and snowdrifts and fallen pieces of firewood had beaten it down and killed branches.

My first task was to uncover it and cut out the dead branches. Then I began opening up the basic structure of the shrub and let the light through. I don't know that this part is complete but I think bonsai are to be done slowly and it is the contemplation of what next to do which brings inner peace.

But being of a decided Western mind set I had to do while considering my little tree. And so I weeded around the plants in the bed beside it all the while studying my path as it were.

This too also did not get done in a single day. This is just half of the bed freed of clogging grass and dandelions. There is a poppy and several Columbine here and the unearthed soaker hose. An as yet unshaped branch of my shrub is in the foreground.

Yesterday was sunny but it had a biting wind so I stayed away from my uncompleted labors and drew some sketches of possible forms for my bonsai to take and also things to do in the flower bed. Beyond this picture is the remnants of another shrub that was killed a couple winters ago after being buried under a five foot fall of snow from the roof. Its roots are going have to be dug out so something can be planted it its place. Wild catnip, tansy and chocolate mint have claimed the spaces around the dead branches as their dominion so it will not be an easy fight.

If the weather is nice today the war to reclaim the flower bed will continue today. And no doubt more shaping will get done on the shrub.


  1. Jacqui, I do like the shape emerging from the shrub. It's almost as if it is drawing a big breath with all that new openness around it. This will certainly give it new life and vitality.

  2. Okay, and just what is "chocolate mint"?
    If it smells like minty chocolate, can I
    grow it here too, or is this strictly a
    western native plant?

  3. I can already see that shrub taking up its new home in a beautiful pot. I love keeping large plants in pots.... and soon you will have a new patch to plant:)

  4. Shrub is staying where it is, Treesparrow. Just being shaped like a bonsai. It is the roots of the dead one at the other end that is coming out and that is going to be tough enough now that I found all the stinging nettles.

    Chocolate mint grows anywhere. Like a weed,Butler. And yes it does smell like chocolate mint and tastes delightful in iced tea.

  5. Hi Jacqui,

    I just love the look of Bonsais, but was unaware of the story behind it for gradual contemplation and tending of it to bring inner peace. I like that idea, and it just adds to the beauty of the Bonsai for me.

    Do you have cats? And if so, do you allow them a roll in the wild catnip now and then? If so, please take some pictures when they do...smiling.

    Great post--I wish you the best with your gardening adventures!

  6. Good luck with your project Lady J......I look forward to seeing the results of your labours.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.