There’s a change in the air, and for once I'm not talking about politics.
You can probably sense it as well. When the hailstones and the wintry gales abate long enough to step outside, there’s a smell of spring about the place. Has been for a few weeks now. It’s like a switch was flipped in the first week of February (co-incidentally, when we passed the halfway point between the darkest day of the year and the Spring Equinox) and I can’t describe it, but in my bones I feel a primal urge to dig out the running gear, or strip on the gardening gloves, or head out to the seaside, and let the fresh air blow off all the winter cobwebs. Hibernation's over.
To date that urge hasn’t been getting much time to dig in before it’s quashed by a Biblical downpour, a deep freeze or another anthropomorphised stormfront, but like the tremors that precede an earthquake or an eruption, it’s there, threatening to burst free given half a chance.
Until the storm season subsides, I’m indulging my springtime joie de vivre indoors. On Sunday I decided to bite the bullet and try to revive my little IKEA bonsai tree. In a fit of helicopter parenting back in December I repotted and then overwatered the poor thing. When I returned from Christmas with the folks, it was in a bad way. The internet’s advice seemed to be to leave it the hell alone and eventually do some remedial pruning to salvage what's still alive.
Sunday was the day for that radical surgery. I amputated any twigs that felt dead, which accounted for kind of a lot of my little ficus. Post-op he went to a sunny windowsill with a drop of water. (Apparently bonsai are assigned binary genders by their tenders, depending on the shape they grow. Looks like mine was raised as a boy.)
On Monday he was joined on the sill by a Bee Bar I picked up a while ago in Hodges Figgis. If you haven’t seen these, they’re compact bars of 12 seedlings swaddled in coconut coir for quick and easy germination. I probably could've bought three packets of seeds for the same cost and got ten times as many plants out of it, but I'm an absolute noob at gardening and wanted the idiot-proof millennial version.
Now, since Tuesday I've also been growing the most darling little upper respiratory tract infection. “Sure look," I shrug, phlegmatic in every sense; "It’s just That Time of the year.” Same as I do whenever anyone catches anything ever, because frankly I’m a sitting duck 24/7/365. The upshot is that the plants on the windowsill have actually been tended for the past two days with me home.
The upshot is that the plants on the windowsill have actually received some of the attention they deserve for the past two days. And to my surprise, my bonsai has some green shoots. He's not dead!
And if he can survive two months of trauma and neglect, I can probably get through a bit of a virus. It's not coronavirus, like.