Sunday, December 25, 2011

Plant choice for bonsai: Sentiment vs suitability

India is an ancient civilization and in the course of its long history many plants acquired deep cultural significance. Some of them are loved as food, some for their medicinal properties and some for their religious significance. In an individual this significance manifests as sentiments towards certain plants. To an Indian bonsai grower plant’s sentimental value often has a stronger appeal than its suitability for bonsai. A good outcome is possible only when sentiment and suitability coincide. Peepal Tree (Ficus religiosa) is a good example of that (top left picture). This tree is worshiped in temples, its seedlings grow on top of almost every builing in Chennai and it is a great tree for bonsai. In fact, bonsai trees which impressed me the most in Chennai were figs. Some of them are shown in photos above and below.

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