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Bid to promote low cost bonsai method to preserve trees
Irfan Khondker

 DHUBRI, May 19 - With an aim of promoting low cost bonsai method by using products easily available in the village markets and preserving the traditional trees found in the State, 53-year-old Jotirmoyee Roy is working hard to maintain his kitchen garden with more than 500 trees in their miniature form.

Roy, a Village level Extension Worker (VLEW) of the State Agriculture Department at Golakganj has been planting and maintaining his kitchen garden since 30 years. His garden hosts trees as old as 28 years as bonsai plants in a pot.

Bonsai is a Japanese method of growing a miniature tree in containers or pots. “It is an art that will help in saving mother nature,” believes Roy.

“At a time when many valuable tree species have been engulfed by deforestation, such trees when preserved by the use of Bonsai method may inspire the upcoming generations to take steps to plant and save tress.”

In his kitchen garden full of pots, one can easily find banyan, mango, litchi, gulmohar, tamarind, jackfruit, pomegranate trees etc., along with varieties of bamboo plants.

“Each tree in the pots is like my child, a continuous effort has been put for every tree. This is the reason I don’t sell them,” Roy said and added, “Now people from faraway places visit my place to see these trees”.

Students of Botany visit Roy regularly to study these plants. “Today students from various colleges and universities visit my garden to study these plants and learn the techniques of Bonsai from me. I teach them my low-cost technique that is suitable for the environment in Assam. I call my technique Assamese Bonsai”.

According to Roy, people who practice this form of living art use various medicines and technology along with green house and artificial weathering methods to maintain these plants but the weather of Assam has it all.

“With the use of manure and natural fertilizers found in every village market in Assam, we can easily sustain these trees” said Roy and added, “All we need is patience and dedication”.

He said anybody can learn and practice this art at their balcony, garden rooftop etc.

Roy said that although he has tried to preserve every kind of tree commonly found in western Assam in their bonsai form, he has failed a number of times. “Only the plants with small leaves survive as bonsai. In my garden there are a few trees, especially those that yield good quality wood, that are rare to be seen these days” added Roy.

Roy has also participated in various exhibitions with his plants and promoted his way of bonsai that he calls ‘Assamese Bonsai’.

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