With the help of a few like-minded people, Rajesh created a bonsai garden with 70 species of bonsai trees on the terrace of his house. “A minimum of one acre of land is required to grow the same number of real trees. But I have cultivated them as bonsai in my 300-square feet terrace. Bonsai is a Japanese art form that utilises cultivation techniques to produce small trees that mimic the shape and scale of full-size trees. It is not like growing an ornamental garden, you need to have good horticultural knowledge,” says Rajesh.
The entrepreneur advises that one needs to have patience for bonsai cultivation. “There is a misconception that bonsai is a dwarf variety of trees. You can grow any type of tree as bonsai. The maintenance is long-term and you should learn certain methods and techniques. The important things to keep in mind are a selection of plants, styling, trimming, pruning, wiring, grafting, watering, repotting, fertilisation, etc. Plenty of light and ventilation is a must for a bonsai garden. It’s not an indoor plant producing small fruits or flowers. It doesn’t involve any cruelty to the plants or trees rather we make it more beautiful and elegant in sync with nature,” he adds.
A few of bonsai plants include mango, sapota, tamarind, peepal, and banyan
Rajesh says that growing bonsai is one of the best ways to protect rare species of plants and trees. “In Chennai, there was a 180-year old baobab tree that is native to Africa. Without knowing its importance, some people cut it down. I have cultivated two baobab bonsai trees in my terrace garden. We have a club in Chennai where bonsai enthusiasts share their knowledge, conducts workshops, etc.”
Rajesh finds happiness spending time at his bonsai garden. “You can cultivate banyan, peepal, bougainvillea, sapota, mango, jade, Gulmohar, Ficus long island, tamarind, Mysore fig, Arjuna, Barbados cherry, lemon, wood apple, etc as bonsai.”