This Kumta Tree Maker Has Hundreds of Bonsai Beauties – The New Indian Express

Express press service

KUMTA: He’s not looking at the trees, he’s looking down. A retired forestry officer, who had mastered the art of “bonsai” cultivation techniques, experimented and educated people about environmental protection.

Caring for small trees takes skill and patience. The growers treat the trees with love and care. Pot-grown mini wonders represent a philosophy, of nature itself. Bonsai is the art of growing miniature trees in pots, where the plants take on the shape and scale of a full-sized tree. This art was developed by the Japanese. People, especially those who face a lack of space in their homes and cannot grow large trees like the banyan tree, have opted for bonsai trees which can be grown in small pots on their patios, outdoors. inside or outside their homes, or even on the stairs. These bonsai trees can be kept alive for over a hundred years. There are those that are over 1,000 years old in the world.

Lakshminarayana R Hegde, 62, the rangeland forest officer, retired from the forest service about four years ago. Before that, he had planned to spend his retirement life setting up a small bonsai garden in his home. And since then, he began to soak up information about growing bonsai in order to fulfill his dream.

After his retirement, he settled in his village of Kallabbe, located about 11 km from the town of Kumta, Uttara Kannada. Next to his house, on a small plot, he developed a bonsai garden named “Kubjavruksha Kalaniketana”. The garden has 36 types of more than 220 bonsai trees.

Hegde says many people dream of having their own garden or a plantation of tall trees near their house. Due to a space problem, they are forced to give up. “Therefore, I decided to use my knowledge of tree conservation that I acquired during my service as a forest officer and educate people on how to grow bonsai at home. Keeping green in and around the house is also good for people and nature,” he says.

He also leads workshops in schools and colleges on the different techniques. ), apart from the cultivation of medicinal and commercial plants. He suggests people grow bonsai according to their zodiac sign as it is widely believed that it will give them good health.

In his garden, the miniature trees have formal and informal shapes, vertical, inclined, etc. Some trees look like groves and others cascade. He gave his trees the shape of a heart, an animal, a human, Lord Ganesha, etc. Most of them are banyan trees. After collecting trees from various places, such as old buildings or forest areas, he cuts the roots and branches to shape them. Over a period of time, the bonsai grows in shape and attracts people. There is a huge market for these trees.
He believes bonsai cultivation is not just a science, it’s an art. “We have to provide water, fertilizer and follow the scientific growth of the trees. At the same time, you can shape trees, so it’s an art,” he says.

MAKING PANS
Hegde does not buy the necessary pots for growing bonsai. He makes his own pots using household items like a bucket, containers, and sometimes cement. He says he hardly invests in any hardware. Its pots vary in shapes like round, square, triangle, hexagon, a boat, etc. He says he must spend a lot of money if he had to buy such different shaped pots and carry them home.

BECOMING ORGANIC
Kallabbe is surrounded by forests in the Western Ghats. This is why Hegde collects the dry leaves and prepares organic fertilizers. He did not use any chemical fertilizers for the bonsai. He advocates organic fertilizers because they give lasting strength to any plant. He spends about 4 hours a day to make and maintain his garden.

HIS COLLECTION
Some bonsai garden trees Calotropis procera, Ficus religiosa, Achyranthes aspera, Ficus racemosa, Butea monosperma, Acacia catechu, Cynodon dactylon, Prosopis cenneraria, Imperata cylindrica

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