Bonsai requires patience. Growing a bonsai from seed? Even more.
Our garden features the most beautiful Japanese Maple and over the years I have had the pleasure of watching it grow. It is one of my favourite aspects of our home and once I started Bonsai I knew I wanted to capture this tree in miniature form.
What I quickly discovered as I took on more responsibilities, was that I began to forget the small things- to water my cucumber seedlings, to mulch my potatoes, to cover the new fruit on our fig tree. This was not ideal, I was just getting things established, then would lose progress when seedlings dried out, or promising fruit was stolen by greedy possums.
If you have not heard of Sylvia Earle, I recommend you read no further. In fact, I insist you immediately cease reading this post, open a new tab and Google her. Right now. That’s right ‘S Y L V I A E A R L E.’
Her deepness? The living legend? Hero for the planet? Yep, you’re on the right track.
Every now and again I like to get out of my own backyard and explore the local offerings of nature. Recently I visited the very impressive collection of Australian natives at the Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens.
I first explored these gardens over 8 years ago and since then they have grown exponentially.
I admit I was always under the impression that gardening was generally a recreation for the elderly, a leisurely way to pass retirement, a form of zen and relaxation. I mean, clearly, there was some hard work involved- but overall it appeared pretty chilled. This, I rapidly discovered, was far from true, and this ‘hobby,’ it doesn’t suffer weakness.
With my veggie patch well on the way, the long weekend provided the perfect opportunity to fill in some of the spaces. With plans to make this area as productive as possible, but also, a delightful place to be, I felt an injection of flowers was in order.
I started planting my veggie patch in early September, the beginning of Spring. With two raised garden beds, divided in half each, I had four veggie patches to fill. This post covers my P.O.A (Plan of Attack.)
Throughout my planning I constantly referred to the excellent book ‘The Little Veggie Patch- How to grow food in small spaces’ by Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember. As a beginner, I really recommend this book, it is well laid out, has enough detail to answer nearly all of my questions, is aesthetically pleasing and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
In my readings I had read a number of times that you should have a clear vision of how you wish your Bonsai to look before you start. This makes perfect sense. So I did a few rough sketches and played around with some ideas- however, I soon realised I didn’t really have much of an understanding of how trees grow. I had never really taken notice. Does the trunk thicken first? How many branches will sprout from the limbs? When and will the small branches turn brown? Does the tree grow in height all over? Or does the trunk grow first and everything else follows? (Now that I think about it, I still have no real understanding of tree growth at all!)
Considering that it has been a over a month since I commenced my garden adventures I feel a bit of back tracking is in order.
My fascination with Bonsai began after watching the incredibly beautiful, and clearly, inspiring video ‘American Shokunin’ on Vimeo. It breathed tranquility, passion and respect for nature- hence for the following week I dreamed of becoming a Bonsai Master.
The garden is a place, that until recently, remained rather elusive to me. I was ‘an indoors’ person,’ with interests in fashion, drawing, cooking, reading and computers. The outdoor world consisted of warm weather and annual BBQ’s. However after working in retail for an extended period my interests began to shift, and now, over a short but significant time, I find myself with a blooming veggie patch, a generous collection of succulents and a bonsai. My babies.
This may be a slight exaggeration, yet there once was a time where I had free time to Keep up with the Kardashians, (…not that I ever did,) and afternoons were not spent watering, feeding, pruning, potting, repotting, thinning, bird proofing and pest controlling. I have even begun making my own pots, because why not dive into the deep end?