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He’s stands six-foot-eight

He thinks plants are great

He’s Pete. He’s Bonsai Pete.


When last we met, Hubs had put the Hedgemony up on Craigslist—a last-ditch effort to save it from almost-certain destruction. While we had a few smatterings of interest, there were no serious bites. Until Pete.

I had my doubts that anything would come of it when I responded to Pete’s query—Craigslist is often a repository of dead-ends, empty promises, and email collection services, plus I still couldn’t believe that anyone would want a behemoth hedge. But Pete was sincere—he belongs to the Bonsai Society of South Jersey—and was looking to get new plants to grow and cut.


Hedge vs. Beast

“I’m speechless!” said Pete when he first saw it. Hedgestrosity truly was a sight to behold. It and the Great Wall of China are visible from space. In truth, I’d never known anyone to be so giddy over a waxy plant. But Pete isn’t like we regular humans. He is serenity personified. He oozes Zen. He picked up his first Bonsai snips twenty years ago as a New Jersey State Trooper in effort to learn patience. Two successful decades later, he embodies the calmness and stillness of a mountain, perhaps because, at 6’8”, he’s the size of one. “Maybe you should take up bonsai,” Hubs turned to me and said.

The Man himself: Bonsai Pete.

The Man himself: Bonsai Pete.

Pete let me know he needed to trim to get an idea of how many plants there were and if it housed a wasp nest. While no wasps, it was home to a large spider whom I named “Clarence” in honor of “the Big Man” Clarence Clemmons—its body was the size of a penny—and who weaved his web on our porch every night. His speed and precision were mesmerizing and I nearly wept at the natural beauty of it. I’m soft like that sometimes. We, of course, were happy to let Clarence stay and help himself to the smorgasbord of insects that graced the front porch, though I’m sure the neighbors worried that the Addams family had moved into the neighborhood.

Atta boy, Clarence!

Atta boy, Clarence!

For the next few weeks, Pete—whom I now refer to as “Bonsai Pete” because, well, wouldn’t you?—methodically trimmed back the hedge, which he guessed to have sprouted sometime around the Kennedy administration. Occasionally, he’d pull up a limb that had fallen and rooted itself in the dirt, which was once farmland dating back to the last 1800s and very rich in nutrients. “That kind of soil never goes away,” Bonsai Pete informed me. “No wonder that hedge grew like crazy.”

It took several trips

To make cuttings and snips

For Pete. For Bonsai Pete.

Little by little, Hedgemony whittled down to five manageable stumps. The porch, once completely hidden by greenery (and a whole other story), emerged in its place.

I couldn’t be happier that the stumps have found a new home and an excellent caretaker.

The hedge may be gone

But at least it still lives on

With Pete. With Bonsai Peeeeeeeete!


This one is now called "Frog's Mouth."

This one is now called “Frog’s Mouth.”

Hedgemony's new home.

Hedgemony’s new home.

One of the cuttings making a new start.

One of the cuttings making a new start.