Saigonese farmer owns hundreds of rare bonsai
Hidden behind vegetable farms in Xuan Thoi Son commune in Hoc Mon district in Ho Chi Minh City, the one-hectare bonsai garden of artisan Le Thanh Tam impresses any visitor.
The garden is full of hundreds of species bonsai and flower trees that are very rare in Vietnam. Tam said that 100% of the plants in the garden were collected and imported from many other countries.
Tam has spent many years and a lot of money to collect the trees.
“Before the Covid-19 epidemic, I travelled abroad almost every month to attend bonsai forums and exhibitions. From information learnt from these exhibitions, I searched for and bought internationally trendy and rare plants,” Tam said.
Most of the rare and exotic plants in Tam’s garden were imported from Taiwan and Thailand because the land has a climate similar to that of Vietnam. According to Tam, the new, trendy plant species today are almost not found in nature, but created from US biotechnology.
“My plants are unique, and favored by customers. When buying them, the tree is protected for copyright. These plants cannot be crossbred nor created by tissue transplant, so they are extremely rare," he said.
Before becoming one of the most famous providers of ornamental trees, particularly monster species, Tam was dubbed the "king" of bromeliad and imported Tillandsia trees.
In his garden, rare and mutant ornamental species are sold from a few million to several tens of million dong, such as Monstera victory, Pinatum...
Tam said that he usually changes ornamental plants in his garden to keep up with the tastes of domestic customers. He also “tamed” foreign ornamental plants to make strange plants become familiar species to domestic customers by renaming them.
“The plants I imported have scientific names. However, I changed or named them based on their characteristics to make them familiar to Vietnamese such as Hồng phát tài, trầu bà lá to, phát tài kim cương, bàng quý phi, đại hoàng phú, đại gia, tùng hoàng kim,” Tam said.
Tam participated in many flower festivals and won high prizes. Recently, at the Ho Chi Minh City Spring Flower Festival 2021, he won a gold medal in the category of unique and rare bonsais for the tree trầu bà phượng hoàng.
Tam was awarded a certificate of merit by the Chairman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City for his outstanding achievements in collecting ornamental trees.
Tam’s valuable ornamental plants imported from Thailand.
Tam bought this plant (Cordyline fruticose) overseas and its name is "Vietnamized" as “Hồng phát tài”.
Imported ferns in Tam’s garden.
A species of bromeliad.
Tam won a gold medal at the 2021 spring flower festival in Ho Chi Minh City for this species.
The rare Osaka tree is only found in Tam's garden. It was imported from Thailand.
No measure of money can be exchanged for the mark of time. These trees, with a lifetime of over 1,000 years, are associated with national culture and history.
Hoi Vuon Xinh Sai Gon was founded by ‘veterans’ with experience in growing and planting ornamental trees and people with a passion for planting.