Green thumbs up

I actually have no idea what’s the English idiom for a person who is good with flowers and gardening, but in Finnish they are called “viherpeukalo” which literally means green thumbs. That’s something I definitely do not have.

Nevertheless, I am ambitious. When I turned 17, I fell in love with bonsais. Those magnificent miniature trees that grow in cute Japanese pots, you know. I had heard that they are really hard to grow and keep alive, just as hard as orchids. Well, somehow I ignored all my failed experiences with all kinds of plants before and I accepted the challenge.


If I had known the trouble I would go through because of my new hobby, I might have reconsidered. Then again, now I have funny stories to tell. So here. This is the story of my 4 first bonsais. Rest in peace, beloved Tara, Sensei, Clint and Gene.

My first bonsai was a privet tree, and it was called Tara (named after the most magical place on earth, not Scarlett O’Hara’s home ranch). She lived from March 12th 2009 till the same year’s August. Poor tree.


That’s the only picture of her I have.. right before the accident

So, I had been talking about bonsais, and for my birthday I got a bonsai. It had been grown in a greenhouse, so I didn’t plant it or anything, I only adopted her.

I googled how to take care of it, and I was determined to do whatever I had to. So I got a spray bottle and I sprayed her daily. There’s a darker spot in my old room’s wallpaper right there where the water hit the wall every day. I “bathed” the tree once a week, meaning that I filled a bucket with water, sunk the tree in it, and hold it there till the bubbles stopped coming out of the dirt. I moved it to different windows so it would get the daylight it needed. I bought bonsai fertilizer and right kind of soil and repotted her.I loved that three. For the first time in my life cared a plant enough to keep it alive.

But then, the tragical event happened in July when my family took a vacation to our summer cottage. We were going to spend 3 weeks there, and I knew Tara would die if I left her home and nobody would water her. So for my family’s amusement, I took her with me. I sat the whole 9 hours car ride on the backseat, holding the pot and spraying her every time we’d stop. Everything went well

Then we got to the shore and started to move stuff from the car to the boat. I put Tara on the ground and started to help my family.

And my friend stepped on her. She stepped on Tara! I still have no idea how that happened, but God. That was it. She never recovered. Slowly the remaining leaves turned yellow, fell off, and there was no longer life in her roots. *snif*

Luckily, I was not left alone. Tara had left an offspring. You know how if you cut a piece of a plant and put it in a water, it starts to grow roots? Well I did that. I took one of the last living branches, and cloned the tree. After few weeks I had nice, green, fast growing beginning of a tree. I put that in a pot, and voila! My father named it Sensei.

In a weird way my dad got attached to little Sensei, so I decided to give it to him. He took is to his office, and the next time I visited there, poor tree was dead. I had lost my second bonsai.

Life works in a weird way. Next birthday, my boyfriend surprised me with a bonsai kit that included seeds. I planted a seed and started to see how my first self-planted bonsai started to grow. My boyfriend named it Clint.

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I played the theme of The Good, the Bad and the Evil to make him grow, and it seemed to work. I was excited. I had no idea what kind of tree it would become, but it seemed like a some kind of conifer. That was new for me.

And so came the summer, and like always, my family went to the cottage. Clint came with us. And he never say his home again.

That was entirely my fault. I still see nightmares about about. I forgot Clint to the car! I didn’t want to make the same mistake than I did with Tara, so I left the pot to the car while we moves all stuff. And in the car he stayed.. For a week… All we found was the pot and a dainty grass-looking figure that would have one day been his main trunk.

After Clint I took a break from bonsais. I took a break off all plants. It took me two years to even get a cactus. And finally, last August, I bought my 4th bonsai, Gene.


With Gene, there isn’t a story. He never liked it here. Winter came, and he dropped all of the leaves.


Everyone who visits me asks why do I have a dead mini-tree on my table. I keep telling them it’s not dead. He’s just pretending. It’s his winter cover. I hope I’m right.. I’m not ready to give up…i’m not.. … okay, I am.

I guess  I should just stick with the cacti.


P.S. They don’t have names.


2 thoughts on “Green thumbs up

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