Back to the Nursery

Dear Liza,

Auntie Bridgett and I had a busy day on Friday, heading back to the Portland Nursery for more spring things. In just three short weeks, the place has gone from winter to spring! Bedding plants are out, with signs that say “Protect from frost”, because we can have frost as late as April. All sorts of plants are on display, enjoying the sunshine.

And it wasn’t just for my garden plot! Bridgett has become obsessed with houseplants. Her latest Art-O-Rama zine is all about them, and she is letting her own green thumb blossom. To see this zine and all her others, you can go to She got a potted coffee plant and twenty pounds of potting soil. We spent quite a bit of time looking at pots and indoor plants.

From Bridgett Spicer’s latest Art-O-Rama zine

We also got the last seeds and plants we will need for the allotment. Nasturtiums and marigolds will make the garden pretty and keep the bad bugs away and the bees happy. A “Thumbelina” English lavender will smell nice and stay small. Tomatoes and basil will be yummy, come July.

And, with my birthday coming up, I got presents! This process was emotional, choosing three trees to plant in my Hundred Acre Wood bonsai forest. The fires last summer put so much smoke in the air that the Wood lost its leaves and went into dormancy, only to ‘wake up’ mid-December, putting on new leaves that didn’t survive the winter. I have had this tiny forest since my first summer in Portland, and am sad that it has died away. But spring is all about renewal.

So Bridgett and I picked out a small bunchy cypress, and a wonky, leaning cotoneaster and an upright latch to re-forest my forest. This was my project for Saturday, gardening that is a little easier on the back.

Spring was always my Momma’s favorite time of year. New beginnings, helping the earth wake up and come to life after the cold winter is healing for all of us. I think I will get out Francis Hodgeson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden” for my reading this week.


Grandma Judy

Surprise Spring

Dear Liza,

About a month ago I told you about my bonsai pot, which I call The Hundred Acre Wood, getting all its leaves droopy because of the smoke from the forest fires nearby. They hadn’t changed color for fall, their leaves had simply wilted.

Wilting leaves!

The Hundred Acre Wood is only a few years old, which is very young for a bonsai. The ones you see in the Japanese Garden are a hundred years old or more, being taken care of by skilled, devoted gardeners. Mine is just a baby!

I was even more worried when all the leaves shriveled. Was my tiny forest dead? How were other trees reacting? I decided to put it back out on the patio once the air quality was back to normal, and wait for spring.

Well, I didn’t have to wait that long! My confused birches are sprouting new leaves as though it was spring already. Not all of them, but two of the five, and now I don’t know what to think.

Spring? Already?

Did the smokey darkness put them into an early hibernation, and have they now moved past their imagined winter into next spring already? Has anyone else heard of this smoke induced dormancy?

As always, with bonsai, we will practice patience. We will wait and see.


Grandma Judy