WATCH: A Parkhill resident shows off his impressive bonsai collection
WITH over 1,000 bonsai trees in his collection, Farouk Patel’s garden can only be described as a little paradise.
The 64-year-old, a member of the Durban Bonsai Society, has honed his skills over the past three decades and tends to create a fine range of exotic and native plants as bonsai trees.
Patel explained that the word bonsai is a Japanese term which, literally translated, means “planted in a container”.
“The art began around four thousand years ago in China, where it was known as Penjing. The Japanese took it a step further by using art as something spiritual,” he explained. “Bonsai has been around for a long time and one of its purposes is to create a miniaturized but realistic representation of nature in the form of a tree. I think it is often a misconception, that bonsai are species of dwarf plants, but the truth is that any species of tree can be a bonsai.
The Parkhill resident said his love for gardening started at an early age growing up in Newcastle with an agricultural background.
“For me, bonsai is an art that never stops growing and that spiritual connection extends to you because you grow with the tree you have created. When I started bonsai years ago, I spent every opportunity to wake up in the garden. Even with work and family obligations, I spent my nights tending to the trees. The bonsai trees are beautiful and although I don’t spend as much time in the garden as when I was younger, I still spend hours watering and pruning my bonsai,” he said.
Patel said that although some of his knowledge comes from reading bonsai books, he gained the most experience from the Durban Bonsai Society.
“Before the society, I read books on the art of bonsai for hours. However, the downside was that most of them referred to plants from the northern hemisphere. The climate and the type of species you use in bonsai are vitally important and you can spend a lot of time on trees that look good, but the reality is that not all trees are suitable for our hot and humid climate.
“It’s really the company where I gained a deeper understanding and knowledge of bonsai. My knowledge grew by leaps and bounds because I was surrounded by others who had similar passions and had been doing it for much longer. If I had one piece of advice for anyone with a passion for bonsai, it would be to become a member of the society. Not only are you expanding your knowledge, but you are interacting with people who have similar passions to yours,” he said.
“Although Patel couldn’t choose his favorite bonsai tree from his collection of over 1,000 trees, he said he loves experimenting with Dalbergias as bonsai trees. Dalbergias make excellent bonsai trees. He’s a pretty climber. distinct, it has a beautiful leaf and bark structure. Although it grows slowly and doesn’t get big very fast, I love its character and look. This would be one of my favorite bonsai styles “, did he declare.
Patel encouraged residents to like and follow the Durban Bonsai Society Facebook page.
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