The New Hundred Acre Wood

Dear Liza,

I am sad to say that my bonsai forest, the Hundred Acre Wood, has died. The smoke from forest fires last summer threw off the trees’ seasonal cycle, and they didn’t survive the winter.

Hundred Acre Wood, before the fire
Hundred Acre Wood and unfortunate peasants, in the snow

So this weekend I replanted it with three new trees we got at Portland Nursery.

Cypress, cotoneaster, and larch

Replanting is always an exciting thing! It has the promise of new life and new beginnings. In doing a bonsai, it is creating a miniature world that I can visit right out on the balcony. I can imagine I am in a spinney in Wales or just up in Forest Park.

The New Hundred Acre Wood

Even in regular times, I spend a lot of time in my imagination. But this past year’s restrictions have given me even more reasons to walk around the backwoods of my mind, and it’s nice to have new trees, even tiny ones, to walk under.


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