THE HOBBY OF FOLLOWER AND ORNAMENTAL PLANT GROWING

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The Vietnamese people always prefer to live as close to Nature as possible to satisfy their love of natural surroundings. Wherever they live, either in a small room or in a boarding house or in a spacious mansion they always make some room for the display of flowers and ornamental plant. This is hobby has from time immemorial become indispensable in their daily culture activities. Thus this hobby has been considered to be a sign of a comfortable life, and consequently the growing and selling of such flowers and drarf plants has become a lucrative trade.

One of the most magnificent spectacles, and a particular treat for growers is to watch the blossoming of quynh flower (phyllocactus) at night. As soon as a flower bud emerges the owner of the flower would proudly break the news to his or her friends and acquaintance. The nigh when the flower opens is a nigh of great happiness. Flower lovers surround the flower pot enjoying some hot strong tea or rice liquor awaiting the opening of the race flower. When it opens, the small white and delicate petals raise themselves bit by bit to become a full flower amid the admiration of the spectators.

A part from the hobby of flower growing and ornamental plants, the Vietnamese people are also interested in the tempting fragrances offered by various flowers. They also scent green tea with different flower fragrances to make different varieties. Vietnam's special tea products include lotus scented tea, jasmine scented tea, and chrysanthemum scented tea.

The hobby of growing flowers and ornamental plants is as diversified and time consuming as growers' imagination and sense of aesthetics will allow. However the growing of flowers is simpler and less time consuming than that of growing ornamental plants. To have a beautiful looking ornamental plant a grower should spend at least two year pruning and manicuring. Some potted plants take as long as five or six years to reach a desired posture. Some valuable potted plants have even been bequeathed from generation to generation and regarded as part of a family heirloom. Ornamental plants are divided in to several types:

Posturing plants:

Posturing plants include Benjamine banyan, pine and other plants. The potted plants are meticulously pruned, manicured and shaped by gardeners who have long regarded their products as works of art. The plants gradually bend to the gardeners' wish to form some form of austere looking figures. The it is kept at a desired height and shape to make it fit with the pot in which the plants is grown. Each posture of the plant represents a different kind of thought or ideology, and each has a different name attached to it. A plant growing straight with the lower section of the trunk being rough is called the truc (vertical posture). A plant with its boughs growing horizontally as if jutting out from a mountain cliff is named the hoanh (horizontal posture). Two plants, one large and one small, growing in one pot and sharing the same lower section of trunk are called the phu tu (Father and son posture or posture of blood brothers).

Ornamental plants grafted in a miniature mountain:

With this hobby, a grower may be able to create magnificent spacious natural surroundings in a limited space. In an aquatint, a miniature mountain is placed by the gardener, who tries to make it look as realistic as possible, by adding mountain peaks, caves that run underneath the mountain, bridges spanning streams, as well as people and animals either on the mountain or stood by streams. The creation of each miniature mountain is intended to represent a certain topic, which tends to be based on a classic episode. Those who love the hobby of growing such miniature designs have to spend time selecting both the proper plants and the magnificently shaped miniature mountains, which are in fact piece of weathered lime rock. The rocks must have some loopholes and sharp edges on top so that when neatly placed in the aquatints they assume the look of a natural mountain scene. Sometimes it is necessary to join several rocks together in a attempt to create a small forest beside the mountain. One of the most indispensable plants and grass on the mountain is moss. Moss is regarded as being vital to the miniature mountain as grass is in a natural forest. The availability of moss brings a pastoral look to the miniature mountain, which is covered with a carpet of the velvety smooth green plant. Growing flowers and ornamental plants has from time immemorial been a typical feature of Vietnamese culture.