What I learned from the Death of my Bonsai
One of my colleagues and friends owns a Bonsai shop. You know what Bonsais are – those little trees, planted in decorative basins. Some of them are only for your garden, but some of them – so it is said – can be happy inside your flat.
Last September Melanie (that’s her name) gave to me one bonsai as birthday present. She told me how to water it, where to put it. I chose a place for it, and it was the first thing in the morning for me to look at it. I must add that my experience with plants up to that time consisted in dealing with cut flowers. I liked to arrange them in a vase, carefully cut them, and I usually managed to have them quite a long time. So I thought I would be able to care for my Bonsai.
Well, after some weeks, my Bonsai was not feeling very well anymore. It changed its leaves to a first yellowish and then brownish color. I told Melanie about the state the poor plant was in and she mentioned the possibility of it having not enough light. So I put it on my window sill.
September had changed into October at that time, and it had become cold outside. So the heating was on, and the heating was – you might know it already – under the window sill. Poor Bonsai now got light, but also the heat rising from below. It clearly did not like that, and it showed by throwing away slowly but continuously more or less all of its leaves.
Of course I tried to find out what I could do – more water? Less water? Removing the dried branches? Nothing helped, and in the middle of November my Bonsai had decided to die (I had the impression it really wanted to go, somehow). I was left with the feeling of having killed it and I felt rather bad for quite a time.
What did I learn?
- There is a difference between looking at plants and enjoying them in their surroundings and having them in your own flat.
- There is a difference between the handling of cut flowers and bonsais. Having a “green thumb” for the first doesn’t mean you’ve got one for the latter.
- If I wanted some green plants in my flat I should try hydroponics first before experimenting with something so difficult like Bonsais.
This post is a contribution to the August Group Writing Project “What I learned from the Plant World” organised by Robert Hruzek over at http://www.middlezonemusings.com.