Life Life

19/10/2021 - 09:09

The boy with a passion for cactus

At the age of 31, Mr. Pham Xuan Tung (living in Thuy Duong Ward, Huong Thuy Town, on the southeast side near Hue City) has attached himself with cactus for nearly 20 years.

This thorny kind of plant did not betray the grower’s yearn as it helps Mr. Tung achieve a stable life with an income from 200 million VND to 300 million VND per year.

Finding delight in the cactus garden

Fate with cactus

The cactus garden of Tung locates in the city’s urban area, being around 1km away from the Southern Bus Station. This is the place where Tung germinates and displays over 300 different kinds of cactuses with thousands of cactus pots of all sizes, designs, and colors.

Tung has been charmed with cactus since very young age when he was only in his grade 6. It was unforgettable that his father had a gorgeous pot of cactus. Unfortunately, it was broken by Tung.

Knowing about his father’s adoration for that cactus pot, Tung managed himself to mix the soil and re-germinated the plant from the broken cactus chunks. Time did not betray the grower’s yearn, Tung gained success in germinating over 10 pots of cactus that was even more beautiful than “the old version”. From there on, Tung started keeping his eyes on cactus, then spending time taking care of and collecting cactus everywhere.

At that time, everyday when he went to school, Tung often secretly skipped his breakfasts, as well as denying any demand of spending money to save it for the trip to the flower market in front of Phu Van Lau Pavilion, which was held at the end of the year to by his favorite pots of cactus. Then, the process of multiplication on his own kept on going. Not so long, the balcony of his house was full of adorable cactus pots.

The plant did not betray the grower’s yearn

Tung clearly remembered the Tet holiday when he was in grade 11. That was the first year that boy made money from his little pots of cactus. On the days near Tet, Tung set the little but adorable cactus pots on the table in front of his house and sold it to passersby.

With Tung, at that time, 500.000 VND earned from selling cactus was not a chicken feed. However, until next year, when he was in grade 12, his startup plan officially started; his cactus products were sold at Tet flower market.

During the years studying at Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, thanks to the cactus, which is thorny and full of gratitude, Tung can stand on his feet, pay both tuition fee and other subsistence expenses by himself. In those years, at a small corner at the foot of Truong Tien Bridge, many people going on for a walk at night would bump into the image of a handsome boy sitting by the small pots of cactus and sold it for those in love with this thorny plants.

Tung shared that each type of cactus requires a different kind of taking care. However, the 3 most important factors that help cactus well develop are soil, water, and light. The plant players have to be subtle in observing the change of the plants every day to gain realization. Those experiences were always shared with everybody coming to Tung’s cactus garden.

Not only being sold on the spot, Tung’s cactus products are also on sale at bonsai shops throughout the Southern and Northern regions. In the recent 2 years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tung has not taken his cactus products to agricultural fairs, but he has moved to use his gorgeous cactus pots for decoration in coffee shops, restaurants, and homestay instead.

The little pots of cactus, through the creative hands of Tung now become more and more brilliant when they were set as adornment in the corners of the coffee shops, restaurants, and homestays that are decorated by Tung such as Root café, Home café, Mém café, Trong lemon tea shop, etc. With the passion for cactus, the love with this kind of plant that lasted for 20 years has not been lessened.

Tung said that he loves cactus, and fortunately, this plant does not betray his yearn. Therefore, Tung is living his stable life with the income from cactus, and he is absorbed in pursuing the passion for cactus as the beginning.

Story and photo: Ha Le