Saturday, March 21, 2009

Living Legacy

I decided just recently, after reading about the origins and history of Bonsai gardening, that I want to collect and cultivate bonsai trees. I think it will be a relaxing, fulfilling hobby. When I think about bonsai gardening, I think of fine tuning one's vision of long-term results, total dominion and, of course, manipulation.

I decided to go with bonsai plants because the initial overhead is pretty low, I essentially become a parent, though I'm not obligated to a partner, I own my counterpart, and I may do WHATEVER I like to it.

Bonsai is simple in its theory, take something that has the potential to become something great and powerful, and thwart it. There are a hundred different ways to do this.

for instance, you can restrict the growth of the root system. One does this by planting the Bonsai tree in a small pot, or by pruning the roots. Bonsai comes from a chinese word meaning "Bon-plant" or to plant in a bon, which here means a shallow pot, or tray. Simply planting in a small pot is a VERY effective way to keep a bonsai just the size you would like. In restricting the spread of its roots, you effectively tell the tree what your expectations are for it. It knows it's limits, and it comes to terms with those limits quite naturally; it will not grow more than its roots can support, you can give it all other necessities for growth, and it will never get "too tall". ahhh... the beauty of establishing boundaries.

Another way to restrict the growth of your plant, is to trim it. You can decide for yourself which branches or you deem beautiful in your plant, and which ones are "for the birds". Let's say, for instance, that your tree tried to branch out in all directions, or, more specifically, that it had 4 branches. For the sake of example, and in keeping with the nature of the practice, we do NOT want our little plant to branch out like this. We have a vision that involves a little less depth, or dimension than these branches will provide. We could simply snip off the unwanted branches. Voila! you have a plant that conforms to your whimsy. If severed correctly, those particular branches will never grow again.

An alternative to pruning, is wiring. Wiring can be done on the entire tree, or just one branch or sprig. The limits are endless! say your tree is growing a little to the left, and you would have it grow straight (for the time being). You may use a copper wire to harness the trunk to an anchor and gradually guide the plant to grow
in an acceptable fashion. Now, say that the plant is growing exactly how you would like it, except for one limb. Easy! Simply wrap the wire around the branch in question until you have created a sleeve around it. you may now bend the sleeve (gradually) in the direction you want it you grow. in time your plant will be picturesque, flawless in your mind.

Like I said, there are any number of ways to make your plant "better". You can even scar the tree to have the appearance of surviving a forest fire, or some other damaging event (though in almost all cases, this scarring is the result of your cogitated efforts).

I think Bonsai would be a great bonding experience to share with my children, because I could show them how it is done, and let them do with their plant as they will. All the while, I could be growing MY version of them, or their plant.
After all, my plant is whatever I want it to be, and it is my prerogative to make it turn out exactly as I envision it.

I had thought about making a Bonsai tree into a family heirloom, one that I could start, and pass down to my progeny who could, in turn, teach their children how to care for, and so on and so forth.

but then I realized that these are the last days anyway, and in the grand scheme of things, that plant wont mean jack squat.

Thanks for reading.


Vero Awesome said...

Have you ever met my friend Nicole? I feel somehow that you guys would be kindred spirits, your thoughts and philosophies are very similar.

Here's her new blog:

Gypsy Kid said...

Aw man, that's a private blog. 8(