(Grand Forks, B.C.)
I first started playing around with bonsai trees in Aldergrove British Columbia. I lived in a rental property so I was reluctant to plant too many shrubs in case I had to move, so growing little trees in containers fit my requirements perfectly. I could have real trees that could be moved if I did, and pruning, repotting and planning their next branch removal or root pruning gave me a lot of satisfaction.
The best little trees were either ones I grew from seed, or found in the woods on a hike, or in a hedgerow. Those that were damaged, and yet still managed to survive and grow around their defects were the best, and when I grew my own I could start root pruning them right from the very first potting up without any stress for the plant.
The larches – Larix decidua - in particular really appealed to me, as they are coniferous, bearing their seeds in cones, yet deciduous, losing their leaves after turning colour in the fall. Well known for their beautiful golden autumn colour, and fresh green needles in the spring, they were the perfect tree for my project.
I spent many happy hours with my trees, trimming and wiring the branches to suit the picture in my mind, and finally I could pot the best of them up into the handmade pots I had made at my parents pottery studio. The results were outstanding, and the time spent on their care was very worthwhile.
Sadly, I lost many of my trees to a sudden cold snap when the weather went down to -18 degrees Celcius. I still dream of one day starting some more little trees to make into bonsai, and plant into their own tiny tray like pots, only this time I’ll keep them in the root cellar for the winter where the weather is always above freezing.