Bonsai creations fetch handsome sums as Tet symbols

By Quynh Tran   January 19, 2020 | 08:45 pm GMT+7

Yellow ochna and kumquat trees carefully crafted and nurtured can be hired for thousands of dollars in Saigon to invite Tet abundance.

Bonsai trees are gracing sidewalks major streets in Ho Chi Minh City, attracting admiring looks from passersby. Most of the trees are not for sale, only for rent. I’ve brought around 100 ochna trees here, says Ngo Minh Phong says as he waters a large tree on Thanh Thai Street in District 10. The tree is  five meters high, has a canopy of over one meter and is now in its 80s.

Bonsai trees are gracing sidewalks of major streets in Ho Chi Minh City, attracting admiring looks from passersby. Most of the trees are not for sale, only for rent. "I’ve brought around 100 ochna trees here," says Ngo Minh Phong says as he waters a large tree on Thanh Thai Street in District 10. The tree is  five meters high, has a canopy of over one meter and is now in its 80s.

Phong said the tree would costVND2 billion (over $86,000). He bought it from the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang two years ago.I’m leasing it at VND200 million ($8,600) for Tet. Many customers have showed interest but do not accept the price. But I cannot reduce it. I’ve already spent up to VND40 million taking care of it during the past year, not to mention other work, and accepting the bargain could mean no profit or very little profit for me, he says.

Phong said the tree would cost VND2 billion (over $86,000). He bought it from the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang two years ago.

"I’m leasing it at VND200 million ($8,600) for Tet (Lunar New Year festival). Many customers have showed interest but do not accept the price. But I cannot reduce it. I’ve already spent up to VND40 million ($1,724) taking care of it during the past year, not to mention other work, and accepting the bargain could mean no profit or very little profit for me," he says.

Ho Tien Dung has also lined up his yellow ochna bonsai trees along Thanh Thai Street. Apart from leasing, he also sells trees of small and medium sizes. The cost ranges from several hundred to several thousand dollars.In southern Vietnam, yellow ochnas are considered an indispensable as a Tet symbol that invites good luck and prosperity. Trees with many buds that will bloom at Tet time are considered ideal.

Ho Tien Dung has also lines up his yellow ochna bonsai trees along Thanh Thai Street. Apart from leasing, he also sells trees of small and medium sizes. The cost ranges from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

In southern Vietnam, yellow ochnas are considered an indispensable as a Tet symbol that invites good luck and prosperity. Trees with many buds that will bloom at Tet time are considered ideal.

A customer looks at huge bonsai crafted by Dung.This tree is more than 150 years old, he says. This one would cost VND1 billion, but is not for sale. I’m leasing it at VND100 million, says Dung.

A customer looks at huge bonsai crafted by Dung.

This tree is more than 150 years old, he says. "This one would cost VND1 billion ($43,103), but is not for sale. I’m leasing it at VND100 million," says Dung.

This 50-year-old ochna can be rented for VND40 million, including the decoration service. Normally people hang red ornaments, expressing their wishes for good fortune. Vietnamese people will break for a week this Tet holiday, starting next Thursday.

This 50-year-old ochna can be rented for VND40 million, including the decoration service. Normally people hang red ornaments, expressing their wishes for good fortune. Vietnamese people will break for a week this Tet holiday, starting next Thursday.

Chi Hung (L) and a porter carry an ochna tree to a truck for delivering to his customer.I do not sell trees of high value. I lease them because it is difficult to find another one of the same value and quality. Besides, customers prefer hiring the trees because the cost is much lower, and in fact, they only need the tree in their houses during the Tet festival, he says.

Chi Hung (L) and a porter carry an ochna tree to a truck for delivering to his customer.

"I do not sell trees of high value. I lease them because it is difficult to find another one of the same value and quality. Besides, customers prefer hiring the trees because the cost is much lower, and in fact, they only need the tree in their houses during the Tet festival," he says.

At the Hoang Van Thu Park in Tan Binh District, Nguyen ThiTuoi is leasing out 20 kumquat bonsai trees. Her trees are now all over 30 years old. I am leasing this one at VND50 million, the most expensive one, because it is the most beautiful, she said, while pruning the tree. She said she has already found it a customer.

At the Hoang Van Thu Park in Tan Binh District, Nguyen Thi Tuoi is leasing out 20 kumquat bonsai trees. Her trees are now all over 30 years old. 

"I am leasing this one at VND50 million ($2,155), the most expensive one, because it is the most beautiful," she said, while pruning the tree. She said she has already found it a customer.

At 15 years old, the orange bonsai tree can be rented for VND30 million. People believe that the more fruits that a tree bears, the greater the luck and prosperity that will visit the household. A perfect kumquat bonsai tree should have four elements at the same time: flowers, ripe fruit, young fruit and buds.

At 15 years old, the orange bonsai tree can be rented for VND30 million ($1,293). People believe that the more fruits that a tree bears, the greater the luck and prosperity that will visit the household. A perfect kumquat bonsai tree should have four elements at the same time: flowers, ripe fruit, young fruit and buds.

Many gardeners choose to graft their kumquat trees with the roots of the Dien pomelo, a strain of high-quality pomelo native to northern Vietnam, to give the kumquat trees their best look.

Many gardeners choose to graft their kumquat trees with the roots of the Dien pomelo, a strain of high-quality pomelo native to northern Vietnam, to give the kumquat trees their best look.

Do Quang Binh has decided to hire a kumquat tree for VND30 million. He gets a deal to keep it for half a month starting Sunday.

Do Quang Binh has decided to hire a kumquat tree for VND30 million. He gets a deal to keep it for half a month starting Sunday.

Two staff of a bonsai company get ready to transport a kumquat tree to a nearby truck. Most owners said the cost of buying or renting bonsai trees are higher this year.

Two staff of a bonsai company get ready to transport a kumquat tree to a nearby truck. Most owners said the cost of buying or renting bonsai trees are higher this year.

 
 
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