A twist in the Bonsai tale
With age, one of the things that we let slip is informality. Perhaps, it will be nice to take a leaf out of this bonsai tree’s life and shrug away some of the rigid formalities we have got trapped in, over time. Life will be a lot more relaxed and honest then.
Suganthi Aiyaswamy’s tamarind tree is in the informal upright style termed ‘Moyogi.’ Bending the tree gives it the illusion of swaying movement, besides accentuating its casual ‘feel.’ Come to think of it, the informal style is what is commonly seen in trees in nature. The tree’s trunk is twisted towards the base, and this qualifies the bonsai to be categorised under the Bankan style as well. “Some bonsai experts shape the twisted trunk base into animal shapes, the dragon being the most popular in Japan,” says Suganthi.
The tamarind tree often plays superstar in folk myths. Spirits are supposed to hang around them. But in reality, it is just a hardy and useful local tree with a dark trunk. Normally, the tamarind soars to a height of 10 to 15 metres. Suganthi’s 20-year-old bonsai tamarind remains at a height of 20 inches. Interestingly, tamarind leaves ‘fold’ or go to sleep at night. Its small leaves make it an ideal candidate for bonsai.
The tamarind tree is never absolutely leafless, but at times it becomes a little bare, when the leaves appear dark green and dull. Fresh new fresh leaves appear in the beginning of January, and some times as early as in September. “The transformation is striking,” says Suganthi, and she recommends, “Grow the tamarind bonsai in a soil mixture consisting of two parts of loam and one part of sand.”
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