Ok. Right after school let out for this summer, my entire family piled into the little silver Honda Civic and headed for Florida. We checked into a hotel in Orlando, and spent the rest of the day preparing for our first day at Disney. We toured Animal Kingdom, then stopped by Hollywood Studios for a quick Star Wars ride before heading back to the hotel. The next day we did Magic Kingdom, avoiding the crowds and using our Disney FastPasses to ride Space Mountain with a minimal wait. Our third and last day we spent at Epcot, and there was only one thing my little sister and I wanted to do. Japan. See, Katie (my little sis) really, really, really likes Pokemon, and I've been taking Japanese at school, so there was nothing else that could hold our attention for long. Well, we did the history thingie inside the big ball, and mom and dad wanted to see this Michael Jackson thing, but Katie and I fervently insisted that Michael Jackson was a creeper and we wanted to go to Japan. Our parents finally relented, and Katie and I scampered off to ride the ferry over to the other side of the lake. Unfortunately, none of the ferries went directly to Japan, so we had to route through... either Thailand or China, I can't remember. Anyway, we finally got there, and we just stood outside the buildings and gawked for a few minutes at these Japanese drummers who were performing. Finally we went inside, and I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Japanese stuff. There was an entire mini-mall inside this building, and that was underneath the restaurant! Unfortunately, the anime toys were directly next to the door we came in, and all hope of exploring the complex with my sister vanished. Well, I thought to myself, She's twelve now, and she's old enough to be by herself if she knows I'm in the same building. (Side note: Katie turned twelve the day we went to Animal Kingdom. She got a little birthday button with her name on it, and random employees said, "Happy birthday, Katie!" the whole time we were there. Our parents let her wear it the whole trip.) Anyway, I told Katie to stay by the toys, but I was going to look around some more. She agreed, moving from the plushie bin to the action figures and back again indecisively. I shrugged, trusting her to come get me if she had a problem, and went off on my own. There were a bunch of people clustered around a bin of oysters, and after asking a random passerby what was going on, I learned that you could buy an oyster, have it opened, and keep whatever pearl was inside. That didn't really appeal to me, so I kept looking. I found a rack of fans that were kind of neat, (and in my price range-why is Japanese stuff so expensive?) a room full of beautiful kimonos that I didn't feel comfortable touching, and a Maneki Neko (lucky cat, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maneki_Neko ) room. Unfortunately, I already had a pair of Maneki Nekos that I purchased at Mitsuwa, (a Japanese mall in Chicago) and I was trying to find a fan that I liked when mom came up behind me. Turns out the Michael Jackson thing was really lame, and there wasn't anything else they wanted to do, so they came on over. Mom then asked me if I had seen the little trees.
I most certainly had not! I asked her where they were at, and she showed me. I hadn't noticed them because they were directly next to the sake rack, something I avoided. (Don't tell my parents this, but even though I'm only sixteen, I tried a bit of the sake they got at Mitsuwa. I think that if every sixteen year old were given one legal sip of sake, and told that that's what alcohol tastes like, we'd have a lot less alcoholics. It's absolutely vile stuff.) There was an entire display of bonsai. (With my present perspective, after seeing the bonsai competition at the state fair, it was pretty feeble, but to my ignorant eyes it was the awesomest thing ever.) There were bonsai seed kits, bonsai sapling kits, and styled bonsai. I quickly searched and found an azalea seed kit, (Oh, how naive I was!) ecstatic that I had found my Disney souvenir. (I hadn't bought anything at the other parks; I was glad I didn't.) I grabbed it and headed back to the toy section, where Katie was agonizing over 4 different toys she had laid out. I looked them over and said, "You know that they sell Zekrom and Reshiram at Target, right?" She looked up at me, and I confirmed that, yes, I had seen very similar figurines to these at Target for significantly less. After she had double-checked with dad that he'd be willing to take her to Target later, she was left with a Mew plushie and a Flareon plushie. Dad and I left Katie and mom to decide which one she wanted while we went to pay for the azalea kit. After paying for it, and listening to the cashier's warning that they wouldn't sprout for about a month, we were headed back to the toy section when mom caught up to us. Apparently Katie couldn't decide which toy she wanted, so mom and dad went back and forth for awhile before eventually deciding to just let her get both. Then they looked back at me and said I could pick something else out too, if I wanted.
If I wanted! If I wanted! Of course I wanted! I raced back to the bonsai display and quickly selected the least dead-looking sapling I could find. It was part of a "bonsai kit" where you got a ceramic pot, some soil, some moss, and a tree sapling about four inches tall. I bought him, hugged him, and named him Phil.
I repotted Phil back at the hotel room, even though mom and dad warned that he would probably die. I read through his pamphlet, learning that he was a Japanese black pine, and followed the repotting instructions. I felt really, really bad about the fact that the little plastic pot was tall and thin while the ceramic one was rectangular, being more wide and short, so instead of breaking off the roots I gently teased them into a slightly different shape. Even still, there was a mound of soil around the trunk covering the roots.
He stayed on the balcony, directly next to the top of this palm (we were a few floors up) that blocked most of the intense Florida sun. When we packed everything into the car, he rode in my lap.
SeaWorld was an absolute blast, what with Katie and I being allowed to ride the big roller coasters. (There was no line for the Manta. We rode it 5 times. 5 times.)However, the second day everything was in the car since we had checked out of our hotel room. I didn't feel comfortable leaving Phil in the car, so I brought him with me. We left him in the pet center, much to the employees' astonishment. Picking him up was fun, too, because it was a different set of employees than the one we'd left him with.
"I'm here to pick up Phil."
"Who? I don't have a Phil listed..."
"He's over there," I said, pointing.
I had the dignity to wait until I was out of the building before bursting into laughter.
Phil rode in my lap all the way from Florida to Indiana. I kept a paper towel underneath him to soak up any extra water that might drip out of the bottom. Once I got home, I bought a planting tray at Home Depot for the azalea seeds. Two months later they still haven't come up, but I don't know if it's just because it's the wrong season. I'm hoping they come up next spring.
Anyway, that's how I became the passionate, obsessive poster you all know me as.
Haha thats so funny and so cool that you named your tree, im going to do that. What is your name? I dont feel like writing BassandBonsai all the time . Disneyland is awesome i went to the one in Paris.. Expensive but awesome. I really wish this site could make itself like facebook so that people can add pictures to their profiles.. Know what im saying?
Hannah...I luv your story about how Phil came to be. Also luv your profile photos...the one of you praying with the sunlight behind you is so sweet. Where is that one taken? I'm a bit of a rock hound. Thanks so much for sharing!
I have been intrigued with the beauty of Bonsai for many years...so many I can't remember when it started! I hadn't seen any bonsai trees in real life...only pictures and photos but this little 'nasty' critic in me kept telling me things like "oh, it's probably way too expensive a hobby" or "it looks really complicated...I don't think I could ever do that" and so on and so on and....well, you get the picture .
Then, a few months ago, I found out that an online friend of mine who lives in Washington has a Ficus bonsai and she sent me photos of it. So I started thinking "hey, if she can do it, so can I" and I kept ruminating on this for several weeks after.
Finally one day, what?...about 3 or 4 weeks ago I decided to google Bonsai and low and behold, there were the words... "Bonsai Empire" staring me in the face and yelling "pick me, pick me" . I didn't pick that one at first but checked out a few others that were listed...wasn't convinced yet and, my dang cursor kept scrolling back up to the top where that immpressive name was listed..."BONSAI EMPIRE"...like it had some kind of commanding force! I said "okay-fine-already!!! I clicked on the name, and well...there you have it, folks. It grabbed hold of me by my branches and hasn't let go since! I think I'm hooked! OH NO!!! I got Bonsai Fever! The End!
My story goes like this..
a few years ago my brother got interested in bonsai and purchased some trees. Every time I'd go to his house I would admire his collection. They were already finished so all he needed to do was maintain them. He ended up killing all of them with his "care". I didn't know all of his trees were dead so I got him a pine bonsai for his birthday. He had lost interest in bonsai so he never picked up the tree. it's still here one year later.
about that same time I had a privet that was part of a hedge that never got planted. I put it in a pot and it was all down hill from there.
I have always been a gardener so plant care is easy for me.Bonsai was just a natural progression. kind of a "next step".
I have since expanded my collection to about 18 trees.
Haha you guys can just call me Jon. Okay well i got introduced to bonsai from my cousin Justin, who i am persuading to join this site. I went to his house the one day to chill and he said hey have you seen my Bonsai collection so i said yes please and saw amazing little trees in pots. From that i said i would love to start. So he gave me a chinese elm that he got given from his girlfriends mom and that was it, i was so excited that i fertalised it during the wrong season etc, and my mother let it dry out when i was overseas in Europe, THEN to add to it my gardener of all people knocked it clean off of my outside table.. After that i re-potted her and she eventually died.. I lost interest after that, but by then i had introduced two of my friends to the art and they reeled me back in. And ever since, (A Year) i have been involved in this lovely art. Im usually not an arty person. I cannot draw to save my life but Bonsai is my thing.
I have been very privledged to be able to go on two digs for olive trees on a farm in Stellenbosch which is near where i live and i have a wonderful circle of friends, Dillon, Kyle, my cousin Justin and Paul my other friend's dad who is very experienced at the art. To be able to share information with people like them certainly educates me every time i see them. Soon i shall be doing a root over rock style with a Ficus tree.. its going to be awesome!
Leslie, the picture in question was taken in a creek at Brown County State Park in Indiana. It's kind of an annual retreat for our family, considering my dad's a science teacher.
So cool hearing everyone's origin stories! Good thing your buddies were there to reel you back in, Jon.
Welcome to the forum, Justin! Have you posted in the introductions thread yet?