sirisa clark

the things I do and the words I choose


Make like a tree and shrink

I’ve been wondering what on earth to do with my sapling from Saturday’s race.

I picked out a silver birch, because I love their pale shiny bark, and their leaves. Their leaves are so numerous, and yet never dense, like a shiver of green sequins.

Not that my sapling looks anything like that yet – it looks very much like a leafy twig, its regular old brown stem thinner than a pencil, and sprouting five rather scraggly-looking leaves.

I’d love to give him the chance to grow into a strapping great tree, but I don’t have a garden in which to plant him.

I tried to give him away to my neighbour, a keen gardener with an amazing garden and quite a few established trees. But he didn’t want him, and even as I was proffering my scraggly twig-tree, I felt like I was trying to palm off a puppy or a kitten. A tree is not just for Christmas y’all!

Then a friend at work made a suggestion: bonsai. Bonsai! Of course! I have always wanted a bonsai tree, or at least since I was very little and lived with someone who had a bonsai. He even had tiny ceramic men who stood under the tree and added a degree of proportion to its shrunken world.

A bonsai will have all the characteristics of the adult silver birch, but in miniature.  It can go with us wherever we move, garden or no. And it will go really nicely with the four orchids from our wedding, which I am delighted I have not yet killed!

I just have to learn how to bonsai now… I’ve spent half the evening reading up and getting largely contradictory information. I think I am getting to grips with some of the general principles, but I’m not sure how to get from my little twiglet to something that looks like a tree that’s been hit by a powerful shrinking ray.

But, I’ve just stumbled upon this video, and I think this is the kind of no-nonsense (Aussie), suck it and see approach I can get on board with.

If any of you have any hints or tips on how to get started with bonsai, please hit me up in the comments!