Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fake tree is better than a dead bonsai

Today I convinced the kids to buy a fake Christmas tree. Last year we tried a live one, the one with the roots. It was a little bonsai. This is when we learned that buying a bonsai in a grocery store wasn’t a good idea. They need to be properly winterised, can’t be kept inside (and will die if kept inside), and they are more like a pet than a plant—those who are serious about the art never leave on vacation.
We also found out that most bonsais sold in grocery stores and even nurseries, are already dead. Scratch the bark with your fingernail—if what you see is brown, the tree is already dead. The healthy color is green.  Ours was also mislabelled, and it meant hours of trying to identify it, posting photos on various bonsai forums, and finding out that the experts were simply unsure.
We ended up giving it away to a friend with an unheated sunroom. Maybe it did survive.
For my daughter a cut Christmas tree is not an option. What most people would call “live” is dead to her, and she doesn’t want a tree to die just for her. So the bonsai was out too, even she understood that after the last year’s desperate attempts to save it. The only logical choice was a fake tree.
It wasn’t easy to find a tree without lights already attached. We finally found one that looked just like a real one, even from up close.
While we were shopping, it started snowing. By the time we drove home, the snow turned into rain.

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