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People living in apartments or those who love miniature plants especially like to adorn their homes and balconies with bonsai plants. Plants of different kinds are a delight to most people. But it is bonsai plants that offer a wide scope for experimenting. They add a touch of class to your homes and can bring about a lot of cheer and joy to your surroundings.  

You can grow them in pots or in jugs, have them hanging or have them creeping, they are always a pleasure to look at and be with. Bonsai plants add a certain atmosphere to any house. This art started in China and was refined in Japan. Bonsai translates as “Tree in a tray” and is the replica of a giant tree. Its miniature size is maintained by pruning and transplanting into different trays and cutting its roots slightly.

Minimal watering required:
One can water according to the size of a bonsai. For example, Mame bonsai only need half a cup of water. This is a boon in today’s scenario of water shortage. Apartments can have a wide variety of bonsai plants. It takes around two years to make a bonsai but looking it after takes years.

Bonsais can be of various heights
Bonsai can be developed from seeds or cuttings, from young trees or from naturally occurring stunted trees transplanted into containers. Most bonsai range in height from 2 inches to 1 metre in height. Apart from pruning and re-potting, their branches and trunk are wired so that they grow into desired shapes. A bonsai tree should always be positioned off-centre in its container as not only is asymmetry vital to the visual effect, but the centre point is symbolically where heaven and earth meet, and nothing should occupy this place. Japanese tradition holds that three basic virtues are necessary to create a bonsai: truth, goodness and beauty. 

Bonsai lovers in Hyderabad:
‘Friends of Bonsai Society’ was founded in Hyderabad in 1983 by a few members. Pushpa Jayawant, Founder President tells us how this society has grown over the years. “There were only 10 of us to start with. We would meet every month to exchange notes on our bonsai plants and visit nurseries to buy more plants to pot them in different styles. We slowly started getting more members and had the courage to hold our exhibition of bonsais in 1984. Our membership has really grown now. 

We conduct a grand exhibition every year and workshops every month where different plants, styles and the latest techniques of bonsai are discussed. Demonstrations by different bonsai masters are also held and we have had masters from Singapore, Indonesia, UK and USA. We are also members of the Indo-Japanese Association of Bombay and take part in their activities.”

Rekha Bayanker, founder of Member of Friends of Bonsai Society since it started in 1983, incorporates suitable artefacts to enhance the beauty of her bonsai. She has a variety of bonsai in her collection from 5-inch high Mame bonsai plants, which are 15 years old to rock bonsai and peepal and banyan bonsai, which are both 33 years old.

The basic bonsai styles:
The five basic bonsai styles are formal upright, informal upright, slanting (or windswept), semi-cascade and cascade. All have their own individual beauty and serenity. Bonsai is the art of cultivating miniature trees. In Japanese, bonsai is literally translated as 'tray planting’. But today it has grown into a whole new form. It is the art of dwarfing trees or plants and developing them into an aesthetically appealing shape by growing, pruning and training those in containers according to prescribed techniques. 

Creating miniature plants doesn't mean that you starve the plants or treat them cruelly. In fact, given an adequate supply of water, air, light and nutrients, a properly maintained bonsai will mostly outlive a full-size tree of the same species. Bonsais are ordinary trees or plants, not special hybrid dwarfs. Small-leafed varieties are most suitable, but essentially any plant can be used, regardless of the size it grows to, in the wild. Bonsai is a great interest or hobby and these days many people are even taking it up as a lucrative profession in metros like Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. 


Beyniaz Edulji 


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