Two years ago, my husband bought me a beautiful bonsai tree as a wedding anniversary gift. It was stunning and all through the summer and the winter, it remained green, full of life despite regularly being blown over by the wind or knocked over by a marauding feline. But last spring, it suddenly dropped its leaves and appeared to die. I was so upset. I had read up on bonsai trees, fed it regularly with special bonsai feed and remembered to water it regularly. Why had it died?! Unsure of what to do, I put it in the corner of the patio and tried to forget about it. The tree continued to drop it’s remaining leaves until there were only three left. There they stayed all summer and over the winter.
When we began to clear the patio a few weeks ago, I rediscovered the bonsai. There it was with the three leaves. I was quite surprised the tree was still holding onto them. At the allotment, I noticed that Neil had a beautiful bonsai in his greenhouse. I stopped to ask him about it and he gave me a few pointers. When I mentioned that there were still a few leaves on it, he suggested repotting it might help. So back home I skipped with a flicker of hope. I took the bonsai out of the pot and gently removed the old soil. The roots were absolutely packed together. As I tried to remove the old soil, I couldn’t help breaking some. Next, I got a pot full of water and put the tree into it as I tried to get out more soil. Eventually, it was all out and I decided to leave the tree in the water for a few days to see if it would do anything.
To my utter astonishment, within a couple of days, the tree had thrown out buds! Over the next couple of weeks, it kept throwing out more leaves, slowly coming back to life. Following Neil’s advice, I ordered a special bonsai compost, trimmed off the dead branches and some of the roots. As I didn’t have a bigger pot, I replanted my bonsai into the same pot. However, with the roots trimmed, it fitted better into the pot and I watched with bated breath to see what it would do next. Over the past week, with a mixture of rain and sunshine, it has burst back into life. So successful it has been, that I am now declaring it alive. Neil’s advice was to remove the bonsai from the pot once a year, trim the roots and change the soil. A simple trick that I will do each year!
Now to just find a sunny spot for this beautiful little bonsai to continue to flourish! I should also add that my bonsai wisteria, which also has spent the entire winter and most of spring looking completely dead, has also resurrected itself with the bonsai compost!
If I can keep my olive bonsai and wisteria alive over the summer, I may have to indulge in another one!