Nagercoil resident D Raveendran has become popular by planting bonsai plants worth Rs 1000 to Rs 1 lakh. Raveendran, who is a merchant and lawyer, has started to experiment bonsai cultivation during early 70s and he continues his mission.
At first he planted bonsai trees on the terrace and courtyard. Later he converted the garden to a one-acre land near Padmanabhapuram palace due to limitations of land.
Many people, including foreigners, visit Raveendran’s Bonsai garden. Over 100 trees which are one year to 70 years old are grown here.
The little trees which bloom and bear fruits like big trees looks amazing in the garden.
Oldest bonsai trees which are the great grandfathers have great demand in the market.
“It is not an easy task to cultivate a big tree’s sapling in a pot which has three-inch depth. But if we are ready to work hard, we can grow a tree according to our imagination,” said Raveendran.
Trees include banyan, tamarind, mango, veeti (blackwood), pine, Gulmohar, mazhamaram (raintree), bamboo, Arani and kattadi (Casuarina) can be grown as bonsai trees.
Pots made of cement, clay and wood are used to cultivate bonsai trees. A hole should be made to allow water to drain out from the pots.
Clay tiles should be layered in the base of the pot. Sapling which is one-year-old should be planted in a poly bag placed over the tiles. Cow dung powder, dry leaves mixed with soil and sand should be mixed in the ratio of 1:1 to fill in the poly bag.
We can convert scrubby banyan trees which are grown on walls as good bonsai trees by cutting its old roots and branches.
Small saplings will have a pencil-like look after one year. The trees will grow stunt after rolling the leaves with branches and wood using a bronze string. It will grow completely after 4-5 years.
Unnecessary branches and roots should be removed accordingly. When the growth gets stunt, the pot should be removed. In this time, the tree and pot should be connected with a bronze string to make the tree fixed without moving in the wind.
Adequate amount of water should be poured twice a day and manure, including cow dung powder, veppin pinakku (neem cake), Nilakadala pinakku (ground nut cake) should be added for the trees.
Raveendran has been taking classes on bonsai cultivation in the seminars across India.