#FridayFlowers…

Olive bonsai in bloom
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Not exactly #Friday Flower images, but they are flowers, so thought they did qualify! I have never seen flowers quite like these though, so tiny and yet so complex… But will they develop into olives?

Bonsai Surprises…

I switched off my PC after lunch yesterday and spent the afternoon catching up on repotting my bonsai trees.

It should be all done and dusted by now, but one way or another I seem to have been chosen to be the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Always late!

I never like to be late for anything, so I enjoyed the glorious weather and the peaceful company of my trees. It was blissfully quiet in my yard and I could feel the tension leaking from my muscles.

It doesn’t matter how often I visit them, there is always something new going on, either naturally or from outside influences.

Peanut Foliage

Like the time I found these strange plants growing in most of the bonsai pots. Such pretty foliage, which I discovered were peanut plants, deposited by the local squirrels.

I have discovered tiny mushrooms growing and caterpillars munching, but today I found something I had never seen before.

Many years ago, I had an olive bonsai, quite an attractive bonsai, but it never flowered, so no olives! Sadly, I had to give this tree away when we moved house, but a few weeks ago, I found a young bonsai, what they call a trainer plant on Amazon of all places. They said it was guaranteed to produce olives, so I bought it for the princely sum of £9.99 never expecting it to amount to much.

Out of nowhere, it has produced two flower spikes. Too soon to tell what colour the flowers will be, or if I will get any olives, but my fingers are crossed!

Another bonsai that was bought on a whim was this Japanese acer. It was little more than a twig when I saw it in my local garden centre, but the leaves are incredible, so many enchanting colours. It is still little more than a stick, but in time it may develop into something special…

You might like to read this post about bonsai not being perfect too!

Jaye’s Journal… Progress Report!

 

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Progress Report

 

Just when I was beginning to think I wouldn’t be doing anything creative this year, there has been a breakthrough.

It was bad enough before Covid19 but since it arrived, I have been floundering.

I am used to feeling like a ship without a rudder, indeed, I have done some of my best work like that, but this was different. There was no ship, never mind a rudder, no get up and go or even much of a guilt trip about my non-activity.

There was so much I wanted to do this year and it wasn’t really my fault that so much has happened to derail me. Malfunctions of every kind, postponements galore and then along came lockdown.

I would normally have loved an excuse to hole up like a hermit, as I love being on my own. Quite a different thing to be banned from going out and it has really been getting my goat.

I tried to reason with myself, even tried bribing but I wasn’t buying it.

Then something must have happened.

I have no idea what, but my brain started working. I mean, it was cooperating like crazy and before I knew it, I was in my working clothes and sawing wood like a crazy person.

Replacing the old bonsai shelves is underway, and that’s not all…

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One done…

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As you can see, not before time…

I have also been editing the last few chapters of Anita’s new book.

Picked up a book I have been dying to read, Himself by Jess Kidd and am enjoying reading it.

While all this was going on, I managed to get a priority slot with Tesco, so starving is now on hold, at least for now.

I have finally been working on the storyboard for my new WIP, for my detective, David Snow, has won the battle for his sequel to Out of Time. I had the feeling he would.

So, I seem to be firing on all cylinders now and hope it lasts, for I am enjoying being back to my old self. Figuratively speaking, of course…

 

 

Not all bonsai are perfect…

 

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At this time of year, I hover over my bonsai collection like a mother hen, watching and waiting for the long-awaited signs of the new growth that would mean a new year has begun for them.

Most years they all return, bursting into life with enthusiasm.

There have been a few disappointments, like the time the frost was so severe it killed several of my charges.

Or when some obscure tree disease strikes, and a tree sadly dies.

I was inspecting them all this morning, pleased that most of them were on the move, when my eye came to rest on one such afflicted tree that suffered badly two years ago. Only the disease hadn’t killed the whole tree, just half of it.

I bought this tree as a small shrub from a garden centre, attracted by the almost black colour of the finely cut foliage. I had never seen one quite like it before and although it wasn’t yet a bonsai, I was sure we could create magic together.

When the disease struck, I thought I would eventually lose the tree altogether but every year it grows stronger. It is a most unusual shape but its desire to grow and grow well somehow has me rooting for it.

 

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I have some very good trees, well worthy of being called bonsai but also have a motley collection of oddities. I call them bonsai in training but in all honesty, will probably never be good enough for that distinction. They come from just about everywhere, from the garden or seeds dropped by the birds. Some I don’t even know their name but love the look of them.

I may be a perfectionist in other things but not where Nature and all growing things are concerned. As one of her biggest fans, I love everything she does, no matter how odd or unusual.

She does her best to be perfect and that’s good enough for me…

 

©Jaye Marie 2020

 

This week in the Den of Doom…

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The lockdown and isolation has entered the Den of Doom (my office) with a vengeance this week.

We have tried desperately to maintain an optimistic attitude about everything, including all those annoying PC malfunctions. I seem to spend more and more time trying to catch up, meaning I never manage to get around to anything creative anymore.

So much so, our respective muses have been AWOL for days!

Undaunted, I had been looking forward to working on the new bonsai shelves. The wood has arrived and so did the freezing weather. I don’t do freezing to death as my old bones refuse to function below a certain temperature.

So, the waiting will continue…

Shame, for I was looking forward to spending hours away from the computer.

 

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Life isn’t waiting for me…

 

In the middle of the week, I started what I thought was a bad cold, streaming nose and sneezing. Of course, I immediately thought I was dying, but relieved to discover that sneezing is not a symptom of the Covid19 virus.

When the tickly cough arrived, I slipped into denial in a hurry.

The experts say that most people will only get mild symptoms and recover quickly, but not people over 75 who also have serious medical problems like heart conditions, asthma and hypertension, also like me.

Denial is a wonderful coping mechanism and I’m pretty sure I’m not dying. In the past I have beaten some usually fatal conditions, so not expecting to lose this battle either if it turns out that I do have it.

The good news is my temperature is normal and I feel fine…

 

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#Jaye’s Journal… Enjoying a happy moment!

 

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I have been escaping to the garden more and more lately. The weather has been slowly improving, so I should be able to start working on that very long list of jobs that need to be done.

The need to escape, even to the garden, has been gradually building as the news of this evil virus gets worse.

Everyone is getting edgy, wondering how bad it might get. I have always been an optimist, but I can feel it straining to assert itself.

The shops are empty, and the worry swings between getting sick or starving to death. Some choice, eh?

But… (changing the subject, as I’d rather not dwell on things I can’t do much about)

My bonsai are waking up and this never fails to cheer me up, although this year it seems to be just a little subdued.

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My Acer says hello…

I have been busy making sure I have everything I need for the repotting marathon, and the wood for the new shelving should be delivered soon.

The rain-sodden grass has been trying to dry out and although I didn’t feel like cutting it, I thought I had better get to it. Just as well I did, for it poured with rain the following day.

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The rest of the garden is waking up too and did my heart good to see my favourites have survived for another year.

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My favourite Camelia

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Not sure what this is called, but I love it!

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Forsythia, everyone’s favourite

Back indoors I try to come to terms with the virus situation. I can forget everything when I’m in the garden, but it waits for me the minute I come back in.

So many things are likely to change and to be honest, I’m terrified. The situation gets worse every day, yet no one seems to know how bad it will get.

Every time I wash my hands, I think about the people who have already died and pray there won’t be many more.

That a miracle will arrive and save us all…

 

©Jaye Marie 2020

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 49

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This week I have set myself the task of re-editing an old manuscript, one with the old-fashioned straight speech marks. I did try to find a way to remove/replace them with curly ones, with no luck. At least, not on the version of Word I am using.

There must be a way to do this, but the advice I get from googling the problem seems impossible to implement. So, unless someone knows an easy way to do this, I am destined to be doing it by hand for the next six months!

Changing the subject to something a little closer to my heart, I have to report that Autumn is happening rather slowly outside my back door where most of my bonsai trees are taking their sweet time to drop their leaves.

Which turned out for the better really, for me that is, as it gives me more time to clear up after the ones that have obliged. Because it has become so cold out there, I am having to cut my trips outside short as my hands get so painful even with gloves on, which means I am having trouble keeping up with everything.

Normally, my trees drop their leaves quite quickly and I can get them all tidied up and bedded down in one afternoon. But this extremely cold weather is playing havoc with all things garden related.

The grass is getting longer by the minute but cannot be cut as it’s much too wet. There is going to be such a backlog to catch up on come Spring as most of my trees will need repotting by then too.

On one of my lightning trips outside, I happened to notice the state of some of the bonsai shelving. The wood is rotting, the brackets are rusting and the wall these shelves live on desperately needs a coat of paint too, so the list of outstanding jobs is getting longer.

This year, through no fault of my own, I have not been a very good gardener, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it, so next year I have a lot of work to do once the good weather returns…

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Bonsai ~ My Other Love…

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Real, or Fake?

On those frequent occasions when my brain takes a hike and I am looking around my office for inspiration, I often find myself studying the items on my desk.

One of these is an artificial bonsai tree, although you have to look carefully to realise this. It is a white pine, brought from a specialist company called Bloom. They make the most amazing silk flowers and the occasional artificial tree, and the minute I saw it, I knew I had to treat myself.  It is stunningly life-like and beautifully made.

You wouldn’t think that a dyed in the wool bonsai enthusiast would give such a thing house room, but it appealed to me simply because it cannot die. It will always remain perfect no matter the weather, never lose it‘s leaves in the autumn, and I love it.

I cannot help but see the differences between this tree and the real ones just outside my window, and not just the obvious differences, like the time of the year. The makers have done their best, but the bark is just a little too smooth. There are no cracks or crevices in the bark for all the tiny spiders to live in, a necessary part of any healthy tree, for they control other nastier insects.

There is no living collection of mosses and lichen around the base of the trunk either, something all of my other trees have, and although this artificial tree keeps me company all through the year, when all the others are sleeping, their leaves just a memory, it cannot change my feelings for my babies.

The ones that are so old and have pride of place in my yard, and the ones that are still finding their way to maturity. Then there are the ones I grew from seed that may not ever amount to much in my lifetime, for it takes years to become an established bonsai. These are special to me, even if they don’t look quite right yet.

I think that growing anything, whether in a pot or in your garden, is a lot like writing. Until you know what you are doing, what you produce will be just a shadow of what it could be. And like a garden, your words need tender loving care too. Prune too hard, or badly, there are a million ways to ruin what is fragile at best and the results will be disappointing…