Now that’s something to think about. A definite milestone in my internet bonsai journey. 300 blog posts. To be honest, there have been a few times, especially of late, where I’ve contemplated just giving up the blog and, as a corallary, the life of a traveling Bonsai artist. My wife would enjoy the latter part, I’m pretty sure. She gets just a little stressed when I’m not home. But I’m not ready to give up traveling yet (sorry dear) and, much to my enemies dismay, I still have something to say, so, long live the blog.  The reason I’ve been a little defeatist of late you see, I am writing this from my luxurious guest room at the Orlando Regional Medical Center.   I’m recuperating from another surgery that should have been a step forward towards healing but, because of the enigmatic and uniqueness of my malady, I find myself and my health have been pushed two steps back. Oh, woe is me. I’ve been describing my health problems too much in the last few posts and won’t go in depth with the details. I can just hear the readers navigating away to the next bonsai site whenever I talk about myself. I would also like to apologize for the length of time between posts. Therefore, let’s get to the subject matter for today, this portulacaria afra: 

 My wife brought it for me to have something to fiddle with while I’ve been here in the hospital. I must admit, I needed something to do. I even stretched out the work, made it last or, as they used to say, I goldbricked it. My brother-in-law is a Master of goldbricking. But that’s another life amd probably one reasons I’m here and…hey, it’s time for my vital signs. BP, temp, pulse rate and heart rate, and blood/O2 level. Since I’ve been in here, my vitals have been textbook. I usually have a bit more stress in my life out in the real world but being in a hospital bed must be calming.  It’s that or the dilaudid. Hard to say. What’s not hard to understand is breakfast. It’s here.    One thing I will pursue when I get the gumption outside: the plate warmers. If I can find a good used source, I think they will make good training pots. Here’s the bottom half.  It’s heavy duty, insulated, and even has an aesthetically pleasing style to it. And the bowl my grits came in would make a good planter too. , 

Speaking of dilaudid (or perhaps the dilaudid was just speaking, I mean, hospital cafeteria plate warmers….really?),  just after the surgery, I was able to administer my own dosage with a comforting green button.   They would take the button away soon enough (one can’t go home with it) but it was a comfort when I had it. It’s more psychological than anything, the dose one can give oneself is not that high. But it helped, especially during the wound debridement. 

Nowadays, I am wired for speakers, so to say. Or a more efficient drug delivery pathway.   This is called a PICC (A peripherally inserted central catheter. It is a form of intravenous access (as opposed to a regular I.V. line) that can be used for a longer period of time than the I.V. In my case, for extended antibiotic therapy, and parenteral nutrition). It was inserted into my bicep area using mysterious algorithms and cryptic magic. The line goes up, inside my arm, following my veins, across my chest, and dumps the meds right into my heart. 

For a couple of weeks I had an E.T glowing finger.   Just like him, I want to go home. 

I would show you my most significant souvenir, my vertical, midline, open wound on my belly. It’s about a foot long, with my belly button at about the middle point. It’s lovely. But I won’t. This was my reaction to seeing a photo of it.   Quite a shocking site it ’twas, as you can tell by my grimace. If you want to see the wound, please send a self addressed, stamped 8″x10″ manilla envelope, along with $19.95 (plus tax, where applicable) and I’ll send an autographed, numbered, glossy and photo-paper quality copy, suitable for framing and willable to your favorite offspring or sibling spawn.  I warn you though, it’s shocking. Truly shocking. 

Let’s get back to the tree.    This tree is a good example of being able to change the character of a tree just by adjusting the front. Let me do some pruning, then I’ll show you what I mean. To the scissors!   The idea with the development of jade, as with most trees, is to increase leaf ramification. The only way to do it is pure hard work and time put into the tree.  

Here we have a drawing of a port branch.  

I’ll cut here:  from that cut we will get four new leaves from the base of the extant leaf.   The old leaf will eventually fall off….  But now you have doubled your leaf yield. This is all done to create the well nigh impenetrable canopy so loved in a jade bonsai.  

This is Richard Turner’s jade at Old Florida Bonsai. It won the Best Tropical at the National show a few years back. Notice the thick canopy.     In this pic, it could use some pad differentiation, which has since been done since I’ve visited last. 

And speaking of visitin’, my favorite visitor (this should be taken in a sarcastic tone btw)    At least the kitchen doesn’t call themselves anything but “Nutrition Services”. That’s really all they are, no pretense there. At least I got my scotch on the rocks.   

Last time I was hospitalized I didn’t want visitors. I even ignored my personal communications device (what used to be called a smartphone). This time I had quite a few visitors. Ronn Miller, Seth Melon, Anthony and Clarina (who brought some yummy apples and green tea)   Nick Alpin, who gave me a desert rose he had grown from seed  Rick Jeffery, who sang me a song on my guitar (don’t let him fool you, he’s a great guitarist with a strong voice). Dave came all the way from Puerto Rico to visit. Mat brought me some fine bonsai picture books to look at.  Of course, my family visited, all four kids, my sister and her daughter and my son’s GF, Vanessa. 

And, my constant companion, my  bootyful wife Becky.    To quote Mark Twain “…Wheresoever she was, there was Eden…”

And I had some good views out of the window too.  

 Not as pleasant as my wife but at least something to look at when I was alone. That last pic is actually in the vicinity of my nursery.

Anyway, it’s been about a day since I’ve been discharged, let me show you the portulacaria, all finished and from different angles.  

 Gotta love the hospital gowns and no-slip socks. I don’t think I’ve ever worn anything so expensive in my life. 

When I repot, I’ll use this as the front.  

 I’m debating on the pot. Suggestions are welcome. I’ll post a pic in the next blogpost for those in need of closure. 

And now I’m home, a little more restricted than before but still alive. I have about two months of work to do to catch up in the nursery, so if anyone feels the feel to come by, I could use some help. I also have about 3-6 months of healing before my next surgeries. But don’t let that scare you off, come on by and say, “!Hola!” 

20 thoughts

  1. Loving your posts.

    I’m new to the world of bonsai and have a solid collection already. None look like yours yet but…




  2. I wish I could visit you Adam, but Spain is a little bit far from Florida. I am following you for several months now and I find your blog inspiring and refreshing. Do not quit, please.


  3. I have to say… through all my bonsai talk and bonsai books and bonsai pictures, my wife has remained fairly apathetic towards bonsai. YOU, however, have gotten her to look at more bonsai related material than I ever have, even if it is just for the medical discussions… (just between you an me, she actually considered taking you up on that signed wound photo offer LOL)


  4. Hey Adam, I’ve been reading the blog for about a year and a half now and enjoy every post. I wish I could move down to Florida it seems amazing down there and it would be cool to come help you. Hope you heal soon.


  5. Nooo! Dont kill your blog! I have been following it for the last 3 years and I love it! Congrats for the 300! Get well soon 🙂 Regards from Sweden.


  6. Hope you have a speedy recovery where in Florida are you I’m Oakland Park Ft Lauderdale area get well soon I enjoy your blogs strange since of humor though :). Get well my friend


  7. Man, I found the blog this month, so pls dont quit. kkkkk
    Really, i’m reading all the posts. Today i’m on april 2014.
    Hope you get better soon. Sorry for the english mistakes, i’m from Brazil.


  8. Awesome Adam, It was nice meeting you at your societies meeting. Hope to see you again! Regards Carl May PS, this is easily the best blog I get.

    Sent from my iPad



  9. Hey Adam. I wish you a speedy recovery. I’ve been reading your blog for years. I’m always in search of new ideas for cheap/easily accessible nursery/training pots. Your comment on the plate warmer made me wonder what type of things do you use and where do you find them? Keep up the great blog.


  10. Congratulations on the 300th post. Love the blog — it really is one of the very best out there! Feel better and take care of yourself.


  11. I really don’t know how I came across your blog, but I really enjoyed reliving my colon removal experience through your experience. I don’t know jack squat about the art of bonsai but I thank you for your blog and your courage to fight on. The road will get better and the trips to the toilet will even out to ten a day….But life is good. Keep the blog going. I wish you well.


  12. I love your blog just the way it is! (Well, I wish you were healthier, but not because you write about it.). Bonsai seems to be a snapshot of the perfection found in nature, and it can be a little intimidating to a beginner. (How many tree’ icides are in my future?) Actually, I wasn’t smart enough to be intimidated until I’d been doing it about a month, and had three trees – all dying – and found that all the instructions I’d followed so far had assumed certain other knowledge. Six months later, despite chaos and upheaval and health issues of my own, I persist. I’ve learned to purchase less expensive pre-bonsai, and perhaps by the time some of them grow into trees, I’ll have grown into a former tree-killer as well. Your blog gives me hope that I may even create a respectable bonsai one day. Your humor reminds me that if life was perfect, the art form wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t need it.. Get well, and keep on blogging.


  13. Hey Adam,

    I’m from Australia and want you to know that your writing, and photos in your blog are inspiring, educational, funny and as we say here a bloody good read.
    However, I place a large part of the reason I get into trouble from the missus for filling our courtyard with plants squarely at your feet. 😆
    You put a lot of yourself into your blog and give more than just handy hints. At times a comedian, teacher, metal worker, wood turner, flame thrower, tough guy 💪, artist, philosopher, botanist, man of travel and family man 😧. You balance tradition with progress and all in an approachable manner.
    I know you would be laughing and rolling your eyes at that (me a bit too) but its what I get from your blog and congrats on 300.
    I have 3 young kids (4, 2 & 8 months) and look up to you, whilst chuckling half the time. I have had my share of health issues, 5 years on dialysis and a kidney transplant and know hospitals get a bit of a pain in the ahhh… rear end, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do and complaining never seems to get you very far anyway.
    Sorry about the essay length but I wanted to wish all the best to you and your family. And to let you know that your musings on bonsai, even just the occasional blog from time to time are greatly appreciated.



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