KARACHI, Aug 30: The annual bonsai exhibition featuring more than a hundred miniature trees opened at the Zamzama Park on Friday evening.
The three-day event was organised by Pakistan Bonsai Society in collaboration with the Defence Housing Authority (DHA). DHA Administrator retired brigadier Mohammad Abdullah and consul for cultural and public affairs of the Japanese consulate Hiroko Tsuchiya were the guests of honour at the event.
A number of plant species creatively grown in containers were on display that included fig, bougainvillea, dum dum, pine and Chinese elm. Details about the trees, however, were missing that made it difficult for visitors to identify a particular species and have an idea about its age.
Some attractions were a 30-year-old Casuarina, 19-year-old jade plant, 24-year-old bougainvillea and baobab, native to South Africa and a two-coloured dum dum on display (information about the tree age was acquired from organisers). Also exhibited were some grafted trees as well as very small-sized bonsai called mame bonsai.
“It certainly reflects lack of coordination on our part but that wouldn’t happen next year and I will personally ensure proper tagging of each exhibit,” admitted retired captain Dr Saeed Faiyaz Khan representing the Pakistan Bonsai Society when asked about the missing details.
Giving information about some of his exhibits on display, Mr Khan said the jade plant was grown at his home and he had been looking after that since 1994.
“The baobab was gifted to me by someone from South Africa in 2004. It’s considered a sacred and immortal tree in South Africa where you could see trees of this species as old as 5,000 years,” he said, adding that the tree took four years to acclimatize to the weather conditions in Pakistan.
“It used to shed its leaves in summer and grow new ones in winter. We used to call it a confused tree. But no special efforts were made and the tree changed its behaviour naturally,” he said.
Like other plants, bonsai plants, too, were vulnerable to disease and different fertilizers were used to protect them, he said.
“The manure is a combination of nitrogen phosphate and potassium and, though, locally produced manure is easily available and not bad in outcome, imported fertilizers give much better results,” he said.
On bonsai techniques, he said that there were some basic principles that were generally followed while the rest depended on the artist’s own style and preferences.Aslam Suleman, an expert on bonsai, said: “It’s an inexpensive habit that everyone in Karachi especially those living in flats can adopt. You can grow a good bonsai if you know how to keep a perfect balance between foliage and roots.”
Sharing her feelings about the exhibition, the consul for cultural and public affairs of the Japanese consulate, Hiroko Tsuchiya, said that it was an interesting and informative experience. “It’s nice to see how bonsai is growing and developing in Pakistan. The exhibits, however, are a bit different from the traditional bonsai we practise in Japan. For instance, plant size is bigger here and though it’s a delight to see bonsai with flowers at the exhibition, a bonsai is generally without flowers in our country,” she explained.
The show will remain open on Saturday and Sunday from 4pm to 9pm.