Last June I published a blog entry called For the Love of Jasmine, dealing mostly with a plant that I bought, a small tribute to my father and grandmother, and a way of surrounding myself with family presence in a natural manner. The trip to Manila shortly thereafter was not taken kindly by the sensitive Jasmine, in spite of the self-watering mechanism that I set up before leaving.
I returned to an offended bush, who showed its displeasure by flaunting dried branches and a few remaining green leaves. This exhibited tantrum was the result of a mere week’s absence! Gone were the fresh and fragrant blossoms and in their place was this assortment of dismal crispy foliage that broke my heart.
I’ve been nursing the dratted plant back to health ever since, with a lot of TLC and patience. At first I asked myself what my parents would have done in my shoes, and had to grin. Mommy would have told me to prune it all the way down and let it sprout new branches, but I am sure it would take at least two years to get it back up to the present height. Daddy, on the other hand, would have done what I finally did today, carefully trim all the branches back and meticulously pluck all the dead leaves and flowers.
I don’t remember when I started doing so, but I’ve always played music for my plants. An article I read many years ago said that plants react positively to the vibrations emanating from music (my age is beginning to show, because clearly this is something out of the 70s…). Now whether there is any scientific proof to this, I have no idea, but this mumbo jumbo has worked for all the plants I’ve owned thus far. Non-flowering types seem to prefer instrumental, whereas my flowering plants thrive better with pop or rock songs.
Like I said, this is all unfounded malarky, but it works. So while trimming the Jasmine I opted for gospel and Gregorian music, since the slow, silent work seemed very prayerful. It required a light touch, a sensitive gaze to gauge how far back to trim, and a clear mind to spot all the details, not to mention a steady hand so as not to cut too much.
After 90 minutes of this, I ditched all future plans of ever owning a bonsai collection. One darn bush was enough, imagine owning four or five bonsais that require similar amounts of care! But I am satisfied with the results and can now see a semblance of structure, and some vague direction of growth.
It takes love to nurture a life, but it takes courage to part with what has ceased to grow.