Serendipity in Bonsai

Serendipity. I have heard Ryan mention the serendipity in bonsai several times, on streams, in the archive, on the podcast. The pot that shouldn’t work fitting the tree. The woody stub below the soil line for the perfect tie down. The storm that forced the work that saved the tree because of the root issue that was unknown until it had to be done or else. The pal that walks in the door just as you need an extra hand.

This past week I saw pictures on Instagram of an Austin TX club digging Japanese boxwoods from a landscape. They are a typical foundation shrub in Texas. They look like moustaches on houses in my opinion, and I am guilty of having ripped them out of the ground and thrown them on the curb in a life not so long ago. They are often original plantings, maybe 60 years old at times, but they look dated and in the spring or when the home sells they are sometimes tossed aside. I digress….

I looked on my local Craigslist and found a couple of postings for free shrubs, and/or trees if you come dig them out. I did, and I posted about it later that Tuesday here. What have you collected this season? 2018
That next morning I rough trimmed them out, and started to pot the last ones up. I had run out of soil the night before and needed a larger pot as well. When I was finished I smiled, pleased with the idea of what may turn out of this other man’s trash. My shoes soaked through, my clothes sweaty, my hands dirty I went inside to clean up. My phone was ringing. Long story short—my wife was calling, she was at a routine checkup and we were now having a baby later that day, almost 3 weeks early.

I had been planning on finding a tree to celebrate the birth of my daughter. I liked the idea of she and a tree of mine having a parallel. Without knowing it, the “trash” trees I dug the day before, that I took a half day off of work to plant on a nice spring morning will be “hers”. I’m not sure witch it will be, perhaps in a year we’ll see.



Congratulations on the new addition to the family! When my kids were younger, I hoped one would take to trees like I did, but alas.

There are a lot of parallels between raising a kid and training a tree. The daily attention, the trial and error, the training, and the way you work with what they give you. Don’t push either one into a shape they weren’t made for, or they’ll let you know. Most of all, take the time to enjoy them.


Congratulations! She’s a cutie.