Jaya’s bonsai: A botanist and her bonsai garden | Kochi News

Don’t throw away that little Banyan tree you find under your water tank or on a cracked wall, it could make a good bonsai,” advises Jaya P Nair, a bonsai enthusiast and secretary of the Kerala Bonsai Association. One is inclined to heed the advice because Raj Bhavan’s controller, Thiruvananthapuram, who is due to retire at the end of this month, practices what she preaches.
Jaya is currently busy moving her 200 bonsai trees from Raj Bhavan’s comptroller’s quarters to her home in Maruthankuzhy, and even though the renovation is ongoing, she is making sure her bonsai trees get all the comforts they need. And why not, she has been growing them for 25 years.
These days, after work, she rushes into her Bonsai garden and takes each pot and places them with great care on specially designed iron supports on her balcony. “I don’t want their surroundings disturbed too much as I only recently moved them from the space they have adapted for 25 years. One of the plants died because of it,” she says. Jaya’s bonsai collection largely includes Indian varieties of Ficus species as they are easier to grow in the tropical climate of Kerala. “They adapt easily because they need less water and sun to grow.”

Jaya’s love for bonsai first blossomed when she attended an exhibition in Kanakakunnu in the late 90s. seduced by Bonsai and its greenery. I was also inspired by my friends, who are bonsai lovers and that’s how I started collecting my own plants. It’s hard at first, but you learn to be patient, just to see the plants grow,” says Jaya, who also owns foreign plants such as Beggars Bowl, Baobab, Candle Tree and the ornamental Pony Tail Palm.
While she says Bonsai gardening can be expensive, she explains, “We could get a Bonsai from `500. One is enough if you like the plant. You can prune its small branches and create one yourself in a pot. One can even grow the parasitic plants found in cracked walls or on tall trees as a Bonsai plant. In this way, we also promote green living. I would like to give away the stems for free to those who would like to make their own bonsai.
Bonsai cultivation could also be a new way to enhance greenery in urban buildings, she says.
“We now have space constraints in the apartments. Thus, growing even two bonsai on the balcony is enough to start a green life.
On the process of growing a Bonsai plant, she says, “Feeding a Bonsai plant is similar to growing life-size plants. It can take years to see the plant turn into a good bonsai as it follows its natural life cycle. The taproots are initially cut and we feed the surface roots of the tree species resulting in a miniature version of the plant.

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A Bonsai plant should always be grown in one of three triangular shapes – acute, obtuse and scalene, she says. “Add mud, sand and manure in equal proportions. For manure, neem cake or dilute cow dung can be used which would help them grow fast and healthy. More importantly, keep in mind that Bonsai is not a houseplant.
Jaya, whose plan is to spread bonsai cultivation in the state, is excited about her life after retirement. “I want to focus more on my Bonsai gardening and for the next six months I will be busy with them. I can guarantee that if you can grow a Bonsai plant, you will become patient, develop perseverance and achieve peace of mind. mind. I had been through a lot of professional and personal stress and what helped me keep my mind clear through it all was my bonsai trees. Highly recommend this to the younger generation, especially boys, because it will help them to become tolerant, responsible and control their hot temper which is often seen in most men these days.
Photo courtesy: Satheeshan Karicheri
look A botanist and her bonsai garden

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