HÀ NỘI — The Bonsai kumquat trees of Tứ Liên Village with their unique shapes and sizes are picking up in popularity among shoppers for Tết decorations in Hà Nội.
Tứ Liên in Tây Hồ District, Hà Nội, is a familiar place for many locals every Tết holiday.
In the past, the village was a rich land but it has not been exploited to its full potential. People here mainly grow crops such as corn, potatoes, peanuts, and cassava. After the Renovation Period, Tứ Liên developed into a kumquat village, about 30 years ago.
Tứ Liên kumquat trees are famous for their unique and eye-catching shapes. Every Tết (Lunar New Year), many people are willing to pay from a few million to tens of millions of đồng to buy a tree for their home.
Tứ Liên kumquat trees are famous for their unique and eye-catching shapes. — VNS Photo Bảo Ngọc
In the past few years, gardeners here have come up with the idea of planting kumquats in vases, porcelain statues, or art ceramic pots to meet the needs of customers.
These small plants are only about 80 - 120cm tall, suitable for narrow spaces of apartments or offices. The shape and pot of the plant can be customised by the gardener based on the age and preferences of the owner.
This year, bonsai kumquat trees called ‘Thuận buồm xuôi gió’ (Smooth Sailing) and ‘Mã đáo thành công’ (Win Instant Success) are the most sought after trees ahead of Tết.
Hoàng Văn Luận, owner of Hoàng Gia Garden is one of the pioneers to grow this type of kumquat in Tứ Liên.
Hoàng Văn Luận is one of the pioneers to grow this type of kumquat in Tứ Liên. — VNS Photo Bảo Ngọc
According to Luận, these kumquat trees are specially designed by artisans for the Lunar New Year. They are planted in artistic pots to bring a new year of luck and peace to the owner.
This decorative tree also symbolises Tứ Liên craft village's desire to bring bonsai kumquats to the "big sea" and reach more customers, he said.
‘Smooth Sailing’ kumquat trees are believed to bring peace to their owners. — VNS Photo Bảo Ngọc
Bonsai kumquat trees are suitable for the narrow spaces of apartments or offices. —VNS Photo Bảo Ngọc
Luận said that it takes years for gardeners to grow decorative plants.
“The most difficult and time-consuming step is shaping the kumquats and taking care of them so that they can bear fruit in time for Tết,” he said.
Luận also revealed that, in previous years, kumquat trees were often planted in porcelain pots with shapes corresponding to the zodiac animals of each year but this Tết, everything had changed.
"2022 is the year of the Tiger and according to Vietnamese culture, no one wants to bring a tiger into their house, especially in the new year, so we do not plant kumquats in a tiger-shaped pot this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, mini bonsai kumquat trees grown in small flowerpots are chosen by many customers, especially young people because of their low price and small size.
A mini bonsai kumquat tree. — VNS Photo Bảo Ngọc
Bonsai kumquat trees grown in small flowerpots are chosen by many young people. — VNS Photo Bảo Ngọc
Nguyễn Quỳnh Anh, 30, a customer living in Hà Nội told Việt Nam News, this year she decided to buy a mini tree as a gift for her friends.
“These mini plants are perfect for desk display. They also have strong vitality and can be grown indoors so I think my friends will love it,” she said.
An indispensable part of Tết
This year, despite the pandemic, gardens in Tứ Liên still have a lot of pre-orders. On weekends, hundreds of locals come here to buy kumquat trees for their homes during Tết.
Nguyễn Thị Hà, a seller, told Việt Nam News that most of the kumquats in her garden, which are in good shape, were ordered one or two months ago.
“There were customers coming here to choose kumquat trees from a few months ago. After choosing a tree that they like, the customer will leave it for us to take care of. It wasn't until about a week before Tết that they returned to the garden to pick up their trees,” she said.
At Nguyễn Tiến's garden, 500 out of 600 kumquat trees were sold out in three weeks before Tết.
Tiến said that many people still came to his garden to buy kumquats because they believed that a beautiful tree would bring prosperity to the owner in the new year.
“Kumquat and peach trees are indispensable things in Vietnamese houses during Tết. It is believed that the more fruits there are on a kumquat tree, the more luck will come to the owner. So even though people are not making much money this year, they are still trying to buy a perfect kumquat tree for their home,” he said.
Kumquat trees are an indispensable part of Tết. With the creativity of Tứ Liên gardeners, they have become more and more unique in shape, bringing bright and radiant spring colours to everyone. — VNS