You can buy one from the big box stores or local garden nurseries. It is not until you select a small tree, make decisions as to which branch or root remains, when it becomes official, personal. This is my first bonsai. I have a prelude with two attempts before this juniper; first to transform a dwarf Christmas tree (a gift from our real estate agent) and the big box mini pine tree into a bonsai.

Both died – the first after heavy-handed clipping, the other after neglected watering and locked in the original planter pot. The lesson was noted.

I was there at the Minnesota Bonsai Society novice spring class. There were dozens of trees and this one spoke to me. In a cycle of searching, pruning, wiring, uncertainty, and just running out of time, I arrived at the end of this session. Did I cut too much? Did I remove the right branches?, Does this make sense? What did I just do?

At the end, I had my first bonsai tree. Still bright green yet open for the sun. I’m sure I followed the instructions for the critical recovery period.

The juniper is an outdoor tree.


My First Bonsai – inside for a day
My First Bonsai – after the heat

The location is a shaded area. Perfect. Unfortunately, the heat was on. After a week, I noticed my bright green tree was going dull brown. Like a desperate friend, I gave the tree more attention in the morning and afternoon: checking the soil, misting the browning leaves and branches, and adjusting the tree’s sun position.

There was dieback. Could it be from over trimming, over temperature, or maybe over watering? I’m not really sure. I’m just starting out. I am not upset about the results of my 1st bonsai (helps to hear that my instructor suffered similar results with his tree from the same session).

The bonsai lesson, unlike the gardener or one who tends planets, these tiny trees demand daily attention. I smile at the tree as I see back budding, new growth, and a sense that the tree is going to be alright. The tree is adjusting much like me – some things die and some things grow. Isn’t that what life is about. Bonsai to continue…