Who does not like a green environment in their homes? People bring pots to their homes with great passion and plant plants in them and take care of them. Today we at Gardengiri are going to introduce you to an elderly man from Madhya Pradesh who is doing gardening on his terrace with Bonsai technique.
Sohan Lal Dwivedi, 71, a resident of Jabalpur, has been doing horticulture for the last 39 years. He worked in Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board for a long time. After retirement, he spends most of his time in the garden. The special thing about his gardening is that he himself prepares bonsai.
Sohan Lal told The Better India, “I first read about Bonsai in 1982 in a newspaper. There was a news that a woman from Mumbai has installed 250 Bonsai on her terrace. After reading this news, the curiosity to know about Bonsai increased. So I specifically went to Delhi and went to a Bonsai club there and inquired about it. I came to know that ‘dwarf trees’ are called bonsai and this is a technique by which trees are given such shape. Then it came to know that there are also books about Bonsai technique.
But when Sohan Lal came to buy the books, it was very expensive. At that time the financial condition of his house was not so good that he would have spent five hundred thousand rupees on a book. But his passion for learning Bonsai was so much that he bought a book after saving for his household expenses for about five-six months. He learned the techniques of making bonsai from books and started making bonsai in his own home.
2500 Bonsai made on sight
Sohan Lal told that initially he was not able to master the bonsai technique and hence he was just experimenting. But gradually he matured and he also prepared bonsai of many ornamental plants including seasonal, orange, orange, banyan, peepal, plum, cactus, lemon, jade, etc. Today there are 2500 Bonsai of 40 types on his roof. He has prepared all these bonsai himself. Apart from this, some Bonsai are also gifted to people from time to time.
Sohan Lal’s love for Bonsai was so great that a major part of his monthly salary went to his upkeep. But his family understood his passion, so no one ever stopped him. He told, “From the top officials of my department to the district collector, my work has been praised. When the District Collector of that time came to know that I myself prepare Bonsai, he came to see Bonsai at my house.
Sohan Lal says, “The district collector was so impressed with my art that he asked me to teach this technique to other people as well. He arranged a workshop for me, in which 11 people attended. After that I was invited to many other places to teach and teach about Bonsai.
Bonsai gave a different identity to Sohan Lal. He was even called by an organization in Hyderabad for a bonsai workshop. He says, “Today it feels good if my work is praised from ordinary people to high officials too.”
His garden has bonsai ranging from four inches to three feet. Some bonsai are 30 years old. A lot of fruits also come on the Bonsai tree of fruits up to one and a half to two feet. Sohan Lal says that his terrace looks like a mini-forest of Bonsai. From morning till evening, he is engaged in the service of his bonsai. Along with making Bonsai, he has also taught the techniques of Bonsai to about 400-500 people so far.
some facts about bonsai
Sohan Lal tells about the technique of making bonsai that for this he takes three to four feet tree. He keeps cutting and pruning this tree from time to time so that its length does not increase. “At first the tree lives in a big pot and in normal soil. Gradually the process is started on this. Harvesting is done and its twigs are tied to each other with wires so that it does not spread too much. After some time, the plant just ages and gets stronger. But it is the same size as we have given it.”
He says that it takes about two years for a plant to grow into a bonsai. Also, there are plate-shaped pots for planting Bonsai, in which they are repotted and planted. But bonsai should always be repotted in a season when there is moisture in the air. Therefore, the season before the onset of rains is suitable for this. After planting Bonsai in a ‘bonsai plate’, it is kept in the shade for at least one month. After this, it should be kept in direct sunlight.
Talking about potting mix for bonsai, Sohan Lal says, “I take only three things – small pieces of brick, pieces of cow dung cakes and clay. By mixing these three things, three types of mixtures are prepared. First, the pieces of bricks and dung cakes are broken to the size of a gram. Similarly, small pebbles of clay are also prepared. This is the first type of mix that is poured at the bottom of the Bonsai plate. On top of this, another kind of mix is poured. For this, wheat grain-sized pieces of bricks, cow dung and clay are taken. After the second layer, the third layer is a very fine soil mix.”
He says that brick pieces retain moisture for a long time. Plants get nourishment from the saplings and clayey soil does not allow the plants to move. In addition, bonsai plants should be watered on time so that they do not dry out. “If someone wants to learn to make bonsai they have to give their time and attention to this technique. You have to do a lot of experiments for this. So if you want to learn then work hard with all your heart,” he said at the end.
Arguably, Sohan Lal’s love for bonsai is commendable and we hope that many will be inspired by him.
If you are also fond of gardening and you have also made the balcony, kitchen or terrace of your house a place for trees and plants, then share with us the story of your #Gardengiri. Write to us with pictures and contact details and send your story to [email protected]!
Editing – G N Jha
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