Sunday 17 April 2011

17.04. Bonsai disaster

When I had breakfast this morning, two elderly women stopped outside my house and started admiring the flowers in the window baskets on the wall of the front garden. They talked to each other and smiled and stood and pointed and gesticulated and one of the women leaned over and started talking to and smiling towards the plants. I couldn’t hear what she said, but I could hear her voice, even though the windows were shut...I live in a Victorian house, I can hear the footsteps of people walking past on the pavement! Anyway, I am all for being nice to your plants, but her behaviour was pretty peculiar. I have blinds in front of my windows, no net curtains; I can’t stand net curtains, so during the day the blinds are down but open so the light can flood in – that gives a bit of privacy, but people can still look in if they really want to. After dark I close the blinds and it blocks everything out. OK, back to these two elderly women. I got up from the sofa and walked to the window, taking care not to get too close as I
didn’t want to be seen. Just as I got to the window, the same women leaned forward and smiled and cooed over one of my flowers, just like one would do to a baby in a pram! I couldn’t believe my own eyes, but before I knew it, the other woman did the same thing; smiling, tilting her head and through the window I heard her say “Isn’t he gorgeous?” Hmmm? ....He?? And then, out of the first window basket jumped a squirrel! He ran across all the next 4 window baskets and placed himself on the brick post next to my gate. I bet it is the same squirrel that used to come here regularly during the winter months, raiding the bird feeders in the area. See my post ‘Half full or half empty’ from 5th January to see photo of the squirrel. And don’t you think he brought lunch with him today too? A piece of coconut and some sunflower seeds, which he carefully laid down on the post next to him, before he picked up the coconut piece and started eating. The two women stood there in a mix of awe and admiration, just smiling, for a while, before they walked off. That incident had obviously made their day, and it put a smile on my face too :-)

OK, now to the title of today’s post. My Bonsai tree. It’s not doing so well. In fact, it’s looking like deciduous trees do in the winter...completely bare....and that wasn’t the plan. That was not meant to happen according to the instructions is what I am trying to say. You see, Bonsai trees, especially this particular type, are prone to shed some leaves when moved from one place to another, this tree is particularly fuzzy like that. So when I got this tree in January I didn’t take it that seriously when it started shedding leaves...after all, I expected it. But it never stopped. It has been going on and on and on. The last few weeks the Bonsai has only had leaves on the side of the tree that faces the window, so I did realise that it probably didn’t get enough light in my kitchen, despite that I bought a box for it to stand on so that the tree would come level with the window sill. For about 10 days now, the tree has had these quite all right looking leaves on one side and nothing at all on the other side, but then they all fell off in one big swoop a couple of days ago. I don’t think the tree is dead, far from it; it’s just lost all its leaves. I know I have watered and given it the right amount of fertiliser, the latter I only started with in March as the guide says. So I can’t think of any other reason for this leave shedding than the lack of light in my kitchen. Bonsais are meant to have 12 hours of daylight every day, all year round...which of course is impossible without artificial lighting in this country! But I have now moved the Bonsai upstairs into my bedroom where there is a much bigger window, with more light coming in – perhaps the Bonsai will like this position better. I am not sure what to do next winter though, as the draft from the open window during the night will be too cold...and I can’t keep moving the Bonsai to a different room every evening, as moving it will make it shed its leaves! Oooohh....not sure what to do with this fuzzy and demanding plant, but let’s see if it actually recovers from the current disaster and grows some new leaves. Then I’ll deal with next winter when I need to!

Wanna see what I have been doing in the garden next door the last few days? Well, here is a photo! It’s progress, albeit a slow one. The log rolls are perfect size, I am so happy I bought these ones on the Internet instead of the smaller ones at B&Q and Argos, incidentally cheaper at Argos, but not much actually. Only this Internet Company has this size, 9” (23 cm), which is in between the smaller and larger size you can get everywhere. I am making a similar bed on the right side and having gravel in the middle, just waiting for the house owner to deliver gravel and bark. I have decided to use this particular log roll in my own garden too, when that time comes when I have to change the flower bed edging. It is a job I have postponed for a couple of years now, dreading the work and the expense, but parts of the edging is so rotten that it is now held in place with tent pegs! It is a wonder that it is still standing actually; it is 7 years old and it is just pressure treated wood put on an edge in the ground and then stained. The log rolls are much thicker and comes with a 12 year guarantee, with stain they can possibly last a lot longer. These log rolls will look perfect in my garden too, when stained in this dark brown colour, so I suppose I need to start saving up – it will be around £200 to re-edge my whole garden with these log rolls!

I have been watering my garden today too, I really wish we could get some rain soon.... I can’t remember last time it rained properly; I think it was in the beginning of February! A quick look at the Met Office’s web-site reveals that in March we had less than 5 mm precipitation, and in February most of the rain came in the beginning of the month. In January, however, in the South-East, we had around 30% more rain than the average for January! Yes, thank you, I did notice that! It would have been nice to get it a bit more spread out, like right now for garden is like a desert, I don’t think it actually matters much what I water with the hose – only for the pots and tubs, but for the plants in the ground I very much doubt that the watering I do actually reaches down to the roots. And as you can see from the weather forecast we are expecting another 10 days of glorious weather! (Click on the picture to see the full size)

OK, that’s it for tonight, this week I only got one doctor appointment, so I will get plenty of time to spend in my garden. Top of the list is continuing the war against pests. The aphids are rife at the moment! I think I need to get my weapons of pest destruction out again, pretty soon it seems like! Take care, see you next time.

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