As someone who loves bonsai, my favourite treat is to visit Heron’s Bonsai in Surrey. It is an amazing place with beautiful bonsai in every conceivable shape, size and price. From small starter trees for just a few pounds to large mature specimens, some of them hundreds of years old and costing a small fortune.
I could walk around Herons for hours, and usually do, for Peter Chan, the owner, has his own personal collection there. Peter has won many ‘gold’s’ at Chelsea and teaches the art of bonsai. This is how I met him. He was the guest speaker at our local bonsai club in London, and by the time he had finished pruning and training an ordinary garden centre shrub into an impressive bonsai, I was well and truly hooked.
My own collection is pretty eclectic. I have some wonderful specimens; some have been presents from my family, and some I have grown from seed. Others I have trained, as Peter showed me, from bushes I have found in my travels.
Going to Heron’s is potentially a very dangerous thing for me to do, for there will always be something I cannot live without.
These days, I am governed by the space I have available, so I tell myself I will just ‘window shop’.
Doesn’t always work, of course.
Six years ago, on such a visit, I had been content to settle for some potting compost and was about to leave, when on the floor near the checkout, I saw a rather shabby looking plant with straggly branches and wilting leaves. It was about six inches tall and unrecognisable and didn’t look as though it would live to see tomorrow.
As I picked it up, Peter looked over at me, eyebrows raised. I must have had a question written all over my face too, for he just smiled and said I could have it. He must have thought the poor thing was beyond hope.
As I have always been a champion of dying houseplants, I took it home and began to cherish it. Turned out it was an azalea, and for several months there was no sign of improvement. A few new leaves and some that fell off. Not very encouraging.
Then three weeks before Christmas, something strange started to happen. White buds appeared. In no time at all, the pathetic little branches were covered in beautiful, double white flowers. Unusual for an azalea, I discovered, they usually had single flowers and they never bloom at Christmas time.
All the next year I tended it with care, mindful of the display that might come again. I repotted it, carefully fertilised and watered it, but nothing I did seemed to make any difference. It just didn’t grow. I had heard of slow- growing, but this was ridiculous!
But another Christmas loomed and more white buds appeared.
I was puzzled. How could such a spindly specimen bloom so abundantly in the middle of winter?
So, in my bonsai collection, among all the healthy, vigorously growing trees, in pride of place is the white azalea. Eight years have passed and it hasn’t grown much, but it blooms in December without fail . The leaves look healthier though, so it isn’t dying any more.
It’s just my little magic tree…
Ten Things I love Most in the World…
1. Mother Nature has been the number one love in my life for longer than I can remember. My idea of heaven would be to live in a forest with a river nearby.
2. The way I feel about horses goes way beyond love. Sometimes I think I must have been a horse in a former life, from the strong and powerful connection I seem to have with them.
3. I have always been a bit of a freak for thunderstorms. The noise, barely contained power and the majesty of the lightning speaks to me in ways I cannot describe.
4. Whenever I have spare time, and even when I don’t, I have to track down a puzzle. It can be a jigsaw, a computer game, or a simple game of solitaire. My idea of heaven.
5. Something about the smell of the sea communicates directly with my soul, and I think I could easily live on a beach. They say that salt water is a good healer, so how much more could sea water do?
6. The art of bonsai has always fascinated me, and over the years, I have collected some of my own. Like having children, they need so much care and attention, but give back so much more to their carer.
7. My love of writing has grown out of my love for reading, and my appreciation of all my favourite authors. On the good days when I don’t doubt my abilities, it is the best thing in the world.
8. Most people hate the rain, but I love it. Getting soaked to the skin is an amazing experience, and if there is thunder and lightning too, so much the better!
9. Making people laugh has to be one of the most rewarding things you can do. I love to know I have lifted someone’s spirits just enough to make them laugh.
10. I never thought I would enjoy blogging as much as I do, when I first started. In the beginning, I was hopeless, didn’t have a clue and knew no one. So much has changed since then…
Ten Things I Hate Most in this World
1.Cruelty of any kind comes top of this list, for there is far too much of it in this world. It is far easier to be kind.
2. Rudeness comes a close second, as I cannot understand the need for it. It closes too many doors that eventually will refuse to open again.
3. Arguments. Every time I get involved in one, I want to crawl away and die. Life is much too short to argue.
4. Hangnails are my least favourite thing, and I get some shockers. No matter how careful you are, your fingers get sore.
5. I hate the cold. As I get older, it’s becoming a real problem. Sometimes, even on a mild day, I have trouble keeping warm.
6. Things that go wrong. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and try very hard to get things right, but far too often these days, it just doesn’t happen, no matter what I do.
7. Computers. These should be on the top of this list, as they tend to drive me insane. They are illogical and unreasonable, but we know we cannot do without them.
8. Feeling helpless. Closely linked with number seven, this is what PC’s do to me. Nothing else on this planet can make me quite as angry as a computer.
9. Injustice. I hate all forms of injustice, acerbated by the certain knowledge there is nothing you can do about most of it.
10. Weakness. Mainly my own. So many things I wish I didn’t need to do, like the biscuits I cannot leave alone. How I can be so strong with everything else, but such a wimp when it comes to food is a mystery…
Would anyone like to share their likes and dislikes on our post? We would love to hear from you…
©2018 Jaye Marie