VIE-STYLE

Spring emerges in the capital’s bonsai villages

You can easily feel the spring atmosphere in Hà Nội at bonsai gardens around the capital. As Tết approaches, peach blossom and kumquat gardens in Nhật Tân and Tứ Liên villages are their busiest this time of year.

By Lê Hương

You can easily feel the spring atmosphere in Hà Nội at bonsai gardens around the capital.

As Tết approaches, peach blossom and kumquat gardens in Nhật Tân and Tứ Liên villages are their busiest this time of year.

The bonsai is important to Vietnamese people’s Lunar New Year the same as pine trees to Westerners at Christmas.

Farmers are preparing for a bumper harvest.

Phạm Duy Thắng, who runs Thắng Nga Kumquat Garden in Tứ Liên, said he planted more than 2,000 kumquat bonsai this year and so far, he has sold 60 per cent already.

“Customers like bonsai with big fruits, lush green leaves, flowers, and young buds,” he told Việt Nam News. “This year’s weather is favourable for kumquat bonsai. I’m happy as my kumquat bonsais are beautiful and sold better than other years.”

Chu Thị Hoà, a farmer in nearby Nhật Tân Peach Blossoms Village, said that in general, peach blossoms this year are good.

“After recent rains, the moist wind from the east made the bonsai sprout very quickly,” she said. “The recent gust of cold has done well to slow peach blossoms from blooming so that they can bloom at the right time for Tết. We have to pick young buds on bonsai so that the leaves do not cover flowers.”

Hoà said her duty includes taking great care of peach blossom bonsai; otherwise, there may be insects harming the bonsai.

“We use pesticides and fertiliser and spend lots of time caring for the bonsai,” she said.

Some farmers focus on rare peach blossom bonsai, which offer more beautiful flowers.

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Busy scene at peach blossom gardens.

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Photo Lê Hương

Lê Hàm, whose family resides in Nhật Tân village and has planted peach blossoms for many generations, said he used to plant all genres of peach blossoms.

“Since I know how to plant ‘Thất Thốn’ peach blossoms, I have focused on this rare genre of peach blossoms,” he said.

According to Hàm, “Thất Thốn” is very strong, and is easier to plant than other types of peach blossoms. It can resist worms and diseases very well. Yet the time to harvest is longer.

“A ‘Thất Thốn’ bonsai may take seven or eight years before it can bloom well,” he said. “Some bonsai may take dozens of years. Normal peach blossom bonsai can be harvested after two to three years. That’s why the price is much higher.”

He said “Thất Thốn” peach blossoms offer the best flowers among various genres of peach blossoms. “In recent years, we have made it bloom right at Tết, so many more people know about this genre,” he said.

Hàm said this year’s weather is favourable for peach blossoms to grow with sufficient rains, sunlight, and coldness.

However, a long heatwave has harmed the peach blossoms. Before Tết, weather changes may affect peach blossoms. The flowers may bloom too early or too late for Tết.

“I think people will seek beautiful flowers,” he added. “If the price is too high, growers should reduce the price or plant more bonsai, and cut down costs so that the bonsai can be sold at a reasonable price and more customers can enjoy it. Due to the long time for growing, the number of Thất Thốn peach blossom bonsai is still limited. Though its flowers are beautiful, few people can enjoy them.”

“More and more customers visit my garden as I have reduced the price so that more customers can enjoy it,” Hàm said. “I think soon, Thất Thốn peach blossoms will be more popular.”

These days, many visitors come to the site to enjoy the spring atmosphere.

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A YouTuber films the garden for his channel.

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Photo Lê Hương

Trần Đình Hùng, from the central province of Quảng Trị, visited Nhật Tân Peach Blossom Village.

“I feel the spring atmosphere here in the gardens,” he said. “I think the peach blossoms may come into full bloom right at Tết.”

In Quảng Trị, people have bonsai of ochna, but not peach blossoms, for Tết.

“Hà Nội’s peach blossoms are beautiful,” he said. “They bear the power of spring inside.”

Hùng said he would take a bonsai of peach blossoms home to enjoy Hà Nội’s spring essence.

Come to the bustling scene in the villages and you will get inspired by the spring colours here.

Vincent Dubois, a visitor from France, said he was impressed with the gardens.

“I love the colours and flowers and the resin inside kumquat plants,” he said. “Hà Nội is so beautiful with these bonsai villages inside the city.”

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Kumquat garden owners earn more this year.

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Photo Lê Hương