While my neighbors invested many hundreds - and perhaps thousands - of dollars in loud fireworks, I spent the last few minutes of my Fourth of July looking at a nine-year-old Japanese juniper, the plant in the accompanying image. Yes, friends: I am now the proud owner of a bonsai tree thanks to my wife, who bought me the plant this afternoon.
Perhaps "owner" is too strong of a term, and maybe I should exchange it for a word such as "caretaker."
It should be no surprise to regular visitors of this blog that I would eventually gravitate toward the cultivation of such plants, given my affinity for horticulture and my periodic dabblings into philosophical traditions such as Zen Buddhism. Yet I have to admit my interest really grew after I repeatedly passed an outdoor vendor on a local thoroughfare who parks a van in front of vacant building.
I would post the corner where he occasionally sets up shop, but I would hate to tip off the city bureaucrats about an unlicensed merchant. After all, the city of Toledo cannot adequately repair the roads or keep a lid on crime, but they sure know how to harass citizens who run afoul of legal technicalities, like the folks who were ticketed for building gravel turnarounds on their own property.
If nothing else, caring for the bonsai tree will give me something to do between the end of fantasy football season and the last frost, when I start planting seeds.