Macy Marks and the Bonsai Tree

Apple to Apple

I once killed a bonsai tree, the most unusual plant I’ve ever owned and a gift from my husband. Bonsai is one of the most intricate forms of gardening, an art that invites you into a world of different dimensions. The aesthetics and techniques and tools are specialized and sophisticated. My bonsai tree died because I treated it like I treated my other houseplants: water once a week along with a dose of Miracle Grow.

And I liked to teach in the same way I cared for my plants—to make a system and expect my students to fit right in. Only Macy Marks didn’t. Sometimes, seeing terrors other students didn’t see, Macy huddled under the corner table, leaving her essay unwritten. Or in a class discussion, she’d hone in on a matter of injustice, say the internment of Japanese who were U.S. citizens during World War II, and not let…

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Sowing the first Seeds

Plants Of Mine

Since Plants Of Mine is just getting started, I thought it would be great to begin with a long term project: growing bonsai trees form seeds.

Plant Types

At a local fair in April I bougth different seeds suitable for bonsai cultivation:

  • Tamarind: These trees originally stem from africa and are tropical trees with small evergreen leaves.
  • Japanese Camellia: Camellias are evergreen plants of the tea family which are cultivated for their unique flowers.
  • Japanese Sugi Pine: Also known as japanese red-cedar, these trees are also evergreen with red-brown coloured bark.

Additionally I collected seeds of, what I think are a kind of acacia, last autumn. I also planted them along side the others.

Planting the Seeds

To increase the probability of successfully growing each variety I decided to use multiple seeds: 3 tamarind, 5 camellia, 8 acacia and roughly 20 pine seeds.

Seeds befor…

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Starting Off

Plants Of Mine

First of all: Hello and welcome to Plants Of Mine!

If you haven´t read my About page yet here is a short summary: As a gardening novice, I decided to share his personal impressions on different gardening topics. I am very passionate about bonsai trees, but I will also try to grow other plants like succulents and vegetables. My blog will feature all aspects of a plants life – from seed to maturity.

Since I am just getting started I decided to begin growing a few different varieties of trees including:

  • A Tamarind
  • A Japanese Sugi Pine
  • A Lemon Tree

I´m going to write about those in my following post, but for now this sums up my first blog entry.

I am really looking forward to your feedback and be sure to visit again.


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Project 366 – Post No. 051 – Purple Martins

The Birds are Calling

What is Project 366? Read more here!

It is difficult imagining getting bored of watching birds. With 6 months and 2 days of birding under my belt in three different countries and on two continents every nature walk is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you will see. The diversity in appearance and behaviour seems never ending. Some birds are colourful, some have eccentric behaviours others have impressive physical attributes or perform remarkable physical feats. Then there are those birds that have style. They have brio. They are the Dany and Rusty (as in the Ocean’s film series) of the birding world. Purple Martins (Progne subis) at Heritage Wetlands Park in Sherwood Park definitely belong to this last category. Here they occupy elaborate multi-story bird mansions that balance on tall stakes high above the reeds. When they are not enjoying the vistas from…

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Project 366 – Post No. 043 – American Avocet

The Birds are Calling

What is Project 366? Read more here!

One of the stops during our Big Day tour of central Alberta with Edmonton Nature Club was Lyseng Reservoir. This 564-acre site is located approximately 60 km southwest of Edmonton and consists of upland, riparian and wetland habitat. During our Big Day tour we drove along the southern edge of the reservoir, stopping repeatedly as more and more birds appeared. The place was just bursting at the seams with birds. In less than 40 minutes we observed 28 different species, many of which were shore birds (all new to us), but also a handful of raptors (including a Great Horned Owl), a gaggle of different geese species and other miscellaneous goodies. One of our lifers here was the funky looking American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana, Life: #133, AB Big Year: #83) which has the notable distinction of being my first bird…

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Project 366 – Post No. 045 – Western Medowlark

The Birds are Calling

What is Project 366? Read more here!

Meadowlarks are handsome and eye-catching birds that are common in grassland and farmland. The male has a predisposition to perch on fence posts and sing his heart out. Our first meadowlark was the Long-tailed Meadowlark (Leistes loyca) in the province of Araucania in southern Chile two days after Christmas last year. We found it sitting on a fence post by a grassy field overlooking Lago Budi while it was serenading. Fast forward 4 months and 11000km to the North on a dusty country road in the outskirts of Camrose. Its the Global Big Day of Birding and we are travelling in a convoy with the birding contingent of the Edmonton Nature Club. On a fence post along a stubble field next to a Hutterite colony (you can see the dark outline of the colony buildings in the background) we spot…

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Project 366 – Post No. 047 – Mother’s Day Owl

The Birds are Calling

What is Project 366? Read more here!

The female Great Horned Owl down at the Whitemud Ravine has now been holed up in her tree for 2 months (that’s 60 days folks). There is reliable intelligence (i.e. picture evidence) showing that her eggs now have hatched and that she has at least two adorable fuzzy chicks. I went down to check out the new family on Mother’s Day (last Sunday). It was a beautiful and sunny spring day and lots of people were out on the trails. The trail was busy with adults and kids walking and biking, dogs taking their owners for a walk and the occasional mandatory fitness buffs. I was surprised to find no other birders or photographers were at the nest site. Mom owl was in her nest, with her tail feathers sticking out. Dad owl was nowhere to be seen but the occasional hooting…

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Project 366 – Post No. 049 – Red-winged Blackbird

The Birds are Calling

What is Project 366? Read more here!

The Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) have been back from their southern wintering grounds for quite some time now, but more and more of them seem to be appearing by the day. During my last visit at the Heritage Wetland Park in Sherwood Park their distinctive metal clanging vocalizations reverberated all over the wetland. I tried to keep a tally of their numbers but I gave up when I reached 30 and instead focused my attention on the other species that were there. While the male blackbirds were very abundant, there was a smaller number of females around as well. This was the first time I have seen female Red-winged Blackbirds. They have the same overall size and shape as the males, but none of the colours. Instead they are brown streaked and almost look like enormous sparrows. Their behaviour differs…

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