Vietnamese youth ‘bring the forest back to the city’


The day Hanoi eased the distance, Nguyen Thu Anh’s first job was not to go to a restaurant to eat pho, but to buy 10 pots of plants.

Her 15 m2 room has more than two dozen types of plants, from betel nut and fern to ivy and tianmen. “My mother said my room was like the Amazon,” the 20-year-old student shared. Thu Anh’s number of trees may be “shocking” to her family, but not much compared to other “tree addicts”.

In Cau Giay, the corner of the garden of Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, 29 years old, has more than 70 kinds of trees. In a three-storey house in Ba Dinh district, Dinh Hoang Giang could not count his trees, even though he had only moved back a year and each floor was nearly 40 square meters wide. “Whenever I plant a tree, it gives birth. The third floor yard is now not enough, I have to bring it up to the roof,” said a freelance business man, born in 1996.

Similarly in Saigon, painter Tran Viet Tu and his wife greened a 100 m2 apartment with more than 300 species of trees and called their accommodation “street forest”.

Currently, growing indoor plants is a trend that is supported by young people. Many people even upgrade this trend to “bringing the forest to the street”. On social media, groups of people who share this same passion flourish and often have memberships ranging from tens of thousands to several hundred thousand.

After a year moving to Ba Dinh district, Dinh Hoang Giang greened the house with many kinds of trees such as tiger tongue, betel nut, money needles, honeysuckle, banyan buds. Photo: Character provided.

The owner of a tree shop on Kim Ma Street revealed that sales have doubled compared to the same period last year, even though Hanoi has just undergone a two-month lockdown. A potted shop on Vu Trong Phung Street is even out of stock with many products, waiting for new batches to arrive.

Nguyen Xuan Huynh, an employee of an orchard on Dang Van Ngu Street (Hanoi), said that most of the customers are young people around 20-30 years old. Although there are no specific statistics, this establishment easily realizes that the demand has increased significantly, especially since last year, 5 employees have to take turns on the fanpage 24/7 because “there are always people asking to buy trees”. . “Even the number of trees sent to the garden for care is up to hundreds even though our garden is quite small,” Huynh revealed.

Street forest in the apartment of Tran Viet Tu and his wife.  Photo: NVCC

The “street forest” in the apartment of painter Tran Viet Tu and his wife helps them stay calm even when they can’t go out due to Covid-19. Photo: Character provided.

Around the world, growing indoor plants is also supported by Generation Y (born in the 80s and early 90s). According to the above article HuffPost In April 2021, last year, Americans spent more than $52.3 billion on gardening purposes, a quarter of which were 18-34 year olds. This article also shows that since 2014, Generation Y is the group that spends the most money on trees in the US.

Young people are “addicted” to trees for many different reasons.

Hoang Giang and Minh Ngoc inherited the love of trees from their families, so for them, it is very natural for them to have their own tree corner. Painter Tran Viet Tu wants to “bring nature into every corner of life”, which is not easy when living in the city. Nguyen Thu Anh is again influenced by social networks, preferring to have a house full of trees like pictures on the Internet.

Young people’s love for trees is also related to the need for health care, both physically and mentally. Scientific studies show that plants help people reduce stress and anxiety, increase concentration and memory, improve work performance, and spark creativity. Taking care of trees is just as joyful as achieving something for young people. In the midst of a stressful social environment, these benefits of trees become even more important.

“Whenever I’m tired, I just need to look, learn and take care of a tree and I’m at peace. When people come to meditate, I find a tree,” Hoang Giang expressed.

“Taking care of a tree is also taking care of me. Trees teach me a lot of lessons about growth and self-love,” Minh Ngoc said. Thanks to the tree, she finds herself more emotionally balanced, patient, and feminine, and at the same time more motivated in life.

During social distancing periods that cannot be avoided, Viet Tu and his wife are still close to nature and still, as comfortable as going on a vacation. Even Thu Anh, even though she started with a trend, gradually realized that trees dispel loneliness.

“After a while of being in contact with nature, they feel the intimate connection between themselves and the trees, so they really love it, not follow the form anymore,” said Xuan Huynh, a garden worker, reviews of customers.

Nguyen Ngoc in Hanoi is also a plant addict with hundreds of varieties in his house.  Photo: NVCC

Minh Ngoc grows more than 70 kinds of indoor plants. Photo: Character provided.

Trees bring many benefits, but before bringing them home, homeowners need to consider carefully, some architects and interior designers warn.

According to architect Ha Duc Cuong (Hanoi), homeowners should not display too many trees in front of the doorway because this can reduce the ventilation capacity of the building, which the house needs natural ventilation.

With the apartment, designer Nguyen Quan (Nha Trang) cautions homeowners to be careful when watering plants because water can seep into the lower floor or condense steam, which also leads to seepage, affecting the quality of the building. .

Mr. Quan emphasized that homeowners need to choose the right tree, consider the tree’s living environment and be willing to spend time taking care of them. “Some people spend tens of millions of dong to buy trees but then leave them alone, causing them to die,” the expert shares experience.

When it is suitable for the lifestyle and becomes the passion of the owner, planting trees will become simpler and more meaningful. Hoang Giang is not afraid to spend 30 minutes to an hour taking care of plants every day. In the summer, he roofed the yard to prevent the hot sun, in the winter, he took it away to expose the tree to the sun.

Minh Ngoc takes advantage of 10-15 minutes before going to work to watch and water, mist, let the plants listen to music. On weekends, she cleans the leaves, repots them, builds posts, and arranges the garden. “I never calculate the time to garden because when I take care of plants, I feel like I’m meditating, I forget everything around and just focus on myself and the trees at that time,” Ngoc confided.

Is tree “addiction” a trend that comes and goes? Xuan Huynh thinks the answer is no. “Young people today have realized that if they don’t know how to preserve and nurture nature, the people who are affected are themselves and their children,” the young man analyzed.

With that thought, Viet Tu is hatching a plan to build a farmhouse near Da Lat. Minh Ngoc revealed that “will definitely add more trees to the indoor forest” and Hoang Giang wants to continue taking good care of the garden to spread positive energy to everyone around. Seeing him plant trees, neighbors also made a garden to make the alley more green.

Meanwhile, Thu Anh aims to take good care of the trees so that every tree is healthy. At first, she often forgot to water the plants, until the leaves fell, she was startled. Recently, she has remembered to check the plants every day and move the location so that each type receives enough light and wind according to their needs.

“Trees make me happy, so I also want to make trees happy,” Thu Anh said.

Minh Trang

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