Start A Family Bonsai Forest

January 4, 2022

Reflections, Day 83

A best friend is the only one that walks into your life when the world has walked out.”
― Shannon l. Alder

“Siblings: children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together.”
― Sam Levenson

Background: The picture shows a bonsai forest containing three dogwoods and an eastern redbud. My brother Tom painted four trees off his second floor back porch every day for a couple of years to document the changes. He named the paintings “The Four Siblings.”

Early in 2020, I asked myself one of my favorite questions,

“What would happen if…”?

So I planted the four trees in a bonsai dish and started the process. In the summer, the trees had beautiful green leaves.

In the fall, the leaves turned to bronze exactly like their larger counterparts.

And, for winter, the leaves fell off.

To prepare for winter, the trees formed growth buds on their stems at the base of the stems. These buds began to grow slowly, and the leaves turned colors and fell off to allow the buds of spring to develop properly.

In honor of the coming freezing weather, the trees allowed most of the sap in their stems and trunks to sink to the ground where it would be stored for spring. This way there would be less expansion from freezing in the tree’s moisture content and this, in turn, would keep the tree from injuring itself.

The tree did, however, maintain enough moisture to nurture the new leaf buds. Unless you look carefully, you’d think the tree is not doing anything—but you would be wrong.

The trees are taking good care of the buds so they can emerge when the time is right in the spring. The buds will wait until the temperature and light conditions are just right and then they will swell up and new leaves will emerge. This is the cycle of life and it is going on all around you.

The names of the four siblings in order of birth are John, Tom, Billy, and Mary. Billy left us in 2012 to go prepare a place for his mother who joined him seven years later.

This winter, look around at the trees and watch the buds swell. It is an amazing process.

—john schulz

Power to the patient.

Published by John P.Schulz

I lost my vocal cords a while back due to throat cancer. The laryngectomy sent me on a quest to find and learn to use my new, altered voice. I am able to talk now with a really small and neat new prosthesis. My writing reflects what I have learned in my search for a voice. My site publishes a daily motivational quote and a personal comment. I write an article a week for my blog, which deals with a lot of the things that I do in the garden. I am also the author of Requiem for a Redneck and the new Redemption for a Redneck--novels portraying the lives and doings of folks around the north Georgia hills. I have an English Education degree from the University of Georgia and very happily married to the lovely Dekie Hicks. You may enjoy my daily Quotes and Notes at

3 thoughts on “Start A Family Bonsai Forest

  1. I like it that you give your plants real names! That you honored your siblings by naming the the bonsai forest trees after them is delightful.

  2. How oes she decide on the names? Similar to picking out a baby’s name?

    All ov the names apply to onee or more of the plant’s characteristics–Vivian for a V shaped evergreen, Cloud hands for a wispy topiary,
    Things like that.

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