Friends have been asking what I have been doing of late besides reading and drinking Chinese tea for relaxation and my answer is I have been very busy with learning and getting my fingers dirty with cultivating bonsai. It is a new hobby that kills two birds with one stone – I get to sweat out and at the same time I get to ensure that all the bonsai that daddy left for us are being taken care of – especially the pruning and training part.
Yes, bonsai trees need training for it to turn out into certain styles and there are 12 styles in all, from formal upright to root in rock planting to broom. For a perfect pot of bonsai, nothing should escape one’s attention, starting from roots to trunks to leaves and finally, the right pot. Once the tree is mature, adding rocks and figurines are essential to create a high form of presentation called “pen zing” which originates to the Southern Song Dynasty.
Having the right pot is essential for the growth of the tree, very much the same as having different type of Yixing teapots and cups for different type of tea leaves for the best brew. Classical music, a pot of good old pu erh with a beautiful pot of bonsai for aesthetic purposes are indeed a good trio of must have after dinner as the perfect companion to reading and winding down the day. I find a therapeutic sense of inner happiness and relaxation with a pot of old pu-erh tea and a Buxus Sinica bonsai that is on display next to the reclining chair where I do my reading while being serenaded by classical music.
Last but not least, my family and I are thankful to Uncle Eng Hooi, cognoscenti in this field for his valuable guide and gift of some matured bonsai. Without him, I am very sure we will mess up the beautiful plants that daddy so painstakingly cultivates over the years. Sunday is now the designated day for gardening with mom and Yong doing most of the pruning while I take care of the shaping, training and propagating. After some trials and errors, we are doing well, especially Yong with his pruning skills. Hereby are some of the plants that we are currently working on: