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A Tale of Survival


This is a tale of the life of a more than half-dead seedling to a beautiful work of living art. (well I think so).

The star of this blog is a Rockspray Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis).

Collected from a hardcore path next to a toxic skip. Drought in summer, waterlogged in winter, chances of survival – nil.

The seedling was four inches long including multiply tap roots and not much feeder roots. I planted it into a 3" pot of sharp sand for four months giving the feeder roots time to develop. I then I repotted it into a 3" tall and 1 1/2" wide mame bonsai pot. Potting it up in a semi-cascade bonsai style, it lived there for four years

being root pruned and repotted back into the same pot, until a strong wind blew it off its stand and broke the pot.

Replanted her into a 6" seed tray, binding her to a shelf on the rock. She lived there for the next four years, root pruned anually before being transplanted into the oval pot where she has lived since. Her age is estimated to be at least twenty six years old. She starts the year by attiring herself in a pale green dress in the Springtime,

by early Summer She has changed into an emerald green gown.
In June she covers her gown with masses of pink/white flowers
especially attractive to the honey makers.
Autumn sees her change into a scarlet evening gown
decorated with red baubles.
The feathered denizens love her.
Comes the Winter, She disrobes, removing everything except her baubles.
By late Winter She dispenses with her trinkets and sleeps naked
awaiting the warm kiss of early Spring,
causing her lifeblood to quicken, her buds to swell
and finally burst…
She awakens!

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That's beautiful.

24 Jan, 2016


Sure is and I really enjoyed the blog and the way you have written her life story, thankyou stjohntongue....

24 Jan, 2016


She is very beautiful :)

24 Jan, 2016


Thank you all.
There is a little more to the tale. Three/four winters ago She suffered a broken limb (in the photo its the one on the extreme right) due to a build up of snow thawing and sliding off the roof.

I thought the fall had missed Her and by the time I noticed the branch hanging vertically it was too late to bind it to heal. I could only bind it straight and it healed reasonable o.k. Close inspection reveiles a split limb. I've thought of removing it and regrowing a new one but the gap it would leave would look ugly and leave Her lopsided and uneven.
Now my beauty sits there looking fine just like a natural tree in the wild, warts an' all. ^_^

25 Jan, 2016


Lovely story and beautiful result! I LOVE bonsai :))

4 Apr, 2016


I love you way you told this story, Stjohn, and you have created a work of art.

5 Apr, 2016

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