A friend of mine recently sent me two presents. She told me not to open the present that would arrive first until I opened the second present. The first present arrived and, pursuant to the instructions I received, I did not open it. The second present was delivered on November 8, 2023, a few days after the first present. Unlike the first present, the second present came in a very big box. Because I am not accustomed to receiving large boxes, I almost missed the presence of my new present.

Having been instructed to open the second box first, I got to work on opening the big box. The exterior of the box had some clues about what waited inside.

A live plant…

Photograph of a Bonsai Outlet box with "LIVE PLANT" printed on the side.

From Mississippi…

Image of Mississippi printed on Bonsai Outlet box with address for Brueau of Plant Industry of Miss. Dept. of Agriculture and Commerce.

From the Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery, which is certified by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce…

Photograph of side of Bonsai Outlet box with print of letter indicating that Brussel's Bonsai and Nursery is certified by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.

How big was this bonsai? As it turns out, the bonsai itself was not too big. Why, then, was the box so big? See the following photograph…

A small blue recycling bin and gray trash bin both filled to the brim with Styrofoam peanuts.

I filled two small trash bins with Styrofoam peanuts. I must inform you that these were not all of the peanuts. I had to transfer the peanuts in the picture to a garbage bag in order to have room for the rest of the peanuts. But fear not if you worry about the environmental impact of Styrofoam garbage; I knew someone who was eager to re-purpose the peanuts for his own packing needs.

After removing enough Styrofoam peanuts from the box, I was able to free the bonsai.

Photograph of a bonsai tree with its base encased in a Styrofoam block.

It is a Ficus Macorcarpa! I must tip my hat to Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery. They did a fine job packaging the bonsai and making sure it arrived healthy. I only noted it losing two of its many leaves during the process of removing it from its travel accommodations.

Photograph of a small bonsai tree on a table next to a Janet Craig plant. In the background are, among other things, a stuffed bunny with a shovel and a Kokeshi doll.
The kokeshi doll lurking behind my Jenny Craig plant played a feature role in our only previous “unboxing” article.

I was not exactly sure where to put the bonsai. I decided to put it on a table. Now you may think it is not going to get enough sun this far from the window in a New York City winter. You would probably be correct. But remember my friend sent two presents.

A plant light on a table shining on a small bonsai tree.

A plant light!

The bonsai has been doing very well so far despite occasional low humidity and a definite reliance on the plant light. It has been growing new leaves as it sheds a few old leaves. But I want to highlight a different point. Recall that my bonsai arrived on November 8, 2023, and I set it up with the plant light and gravel on November 9. See the following photograph from November 27, 2023, nearly three weeks after arrival:

Above photograph of the leaves of a bonsai tree, which sits on a table. You can see a single Styrofoam peanut on the table that fell from the tree.
The Styrofoam peanut is on the base of the plant light.

Do you see the Styrofoam peanut? That peanut fell out of the bonsai 19 days after I pulled it from the box. The peanut was so far in the branches that I missed it despite moving and watering the bonsai a few times.

Let no one say that packing a bonsai to ship from Mississippi to New York City is easy work.