ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 9, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 15

Getting to know the pleasures of Bonsai

By Shanti Fernando

"Natural Images" an exhibition of bonsai by the members of the Sri Lanka Bonsai Association will be held at the Art Gallery, Green Path, Colombo 7 from September 14 to 16 between 9.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. Demonstrations in Sinhala and English will be on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 at 11a.m. and 4 p.m. Kiyoshi Araki, Ambassador of Japan and Madam Araki will open this exhibition on Friday, September 14 at 11 a.m. This is the 15th exhibition organised by the Association.

The translation of the word Bonsai is simply a plant grown in a shallow container. It does not define what type of plant or what sort of container. It also does not tell the novice bonsai grower of the many hours of happiness to be found, by lovingly caring for and training your own bonsai trees.

If you have a plant in your house that is growing very well and becomes too large, you have a number of options. First to move it somewhere else, the second, to give it away or throw it away but you may not want to do that because you are fond of it-perhaps, a favourite person gave it to you or it reminds you of a special occasion. If none of these alternatives are available to you, one way of being able to keep this plant is to prune it.

Pruning in this instance simply means reducing the whole of the plant to a more manageable size. However, then comes another consideration – If you had pruned it slightly differently would it have looked better? Without realizing it, your thoughts are turning to the art of bonsai, even if you might know little or nothing about their training.

Learning to grow bonsai is not as difficult as people think. Care of bonsai requires a few minutes a day to check whether they need watering, also pruning and fertilizing them when necessary. Watching and helping this living art become what you imagined, gives many hours of pleasure. The fascination of these miniature trees is the fact, that with the increasing number of people living in smaller houses and flats, often in congested towns, there are fewer opportunities to appreciate nature. If you live in a small apartment and are stressed out due to your demanding lifestyle, then a visit to the exhibition may start you off on a wonderfully relaxing pastime.

(The writer is President, Sri Lankan Bonsai Association)

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.