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Vietnamese construction worker reconnects with childhood roots by sculpting lifelike tiny garden

Monday, November 29, 2021, 10:01 GMT+7
Vietnamese construction worker reconnects with childhood roots by sculpting lifelike tiny garden
Le My Dam works on a pomelo tree for his miniature garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Originally from central Vietnam, Le My Dam, 29, currently works as a construction worker in Ho Chi Minh City where he spends his free time creating miniature fruit orchards filled with trees that remind him of his childhood in the countryside.

Since moving to the city’s District 12, Dam has only been able to visit his hometown in Quang Ngai Province once a year.

Creating miniature trees is his unique way of coping with homesickness.

Now, after eight years of practice, he has mastered the art of 'growing' palm-sized fruit trees from clay and plastic.

His orchard presently brims with coconut, jackfruit, durian, papaya, banana, and coffee trees made from plastic, electrical wires, chopsticks, metal, tape, clay, and tree bark.

Le My Dam, 29, ‘waters’ his tiny fruit garden made from plastic, electrical wires, chopsticks, tape, and clay in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam, 29, ‘waters’ his tiny fruit garden made from plastic, electrical wires, chopsticks, tape, and clay in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

To make leaves, Dam uses plastic. His miniature fruits are made from clay and each tree trunk is from metal wrapped in paper and covered in real tree bark collected from Ho Chi Minh City’s suburban Hoc Mon and Cu Chi Districts.

The time to create each tree depends on the level of sophistication required to make it look real.

Lifelike miniature bananas in Le My Dam’s tiny garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Lifelike miniature bananas in Le My Dam’s tiny garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

“It normally takes me two or three days to finish a tree, but sometimes it can take up to a month,” he said.

“The hardest and most time-consuming part is coloring the trees.

“I have to do research on each tree’s features so I can understand its shape and bark.

“Crafting these miniatures in my free time after work helps relax and destress.”

Le My Dam works with real tree bark he collected from trips to Ho Chi Minh City’s suburban Hoc Mon and Cu Chi districts in order to make his miniatures more ‘real.’ Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam works with real tree bark he collected from trips to Ho Chi Minh City’s suburban Hoc Mon and Cu Chi Districts in order to make his miniatures more ‘real.’ Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam wraps real tree bark around a metal stick to create the trunk for a tree in his miniature garden. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam wraps real tree bark around a metal stick to create the trunk for a tree in his miniature garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Palm trees in Le My Dam’s miniature garden. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Palm trees in Le My Dam’s miniature garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Tiny pomelos in Le My Dam’s tiny garden. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Tiny pomelos in Le My Dam’s tiny garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam colors a coconut tree in his miniature garden. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam colors a coconut tree in his miniature garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

According to Le My Dam, coconut trees are quite easy to make, with each only taking three or four days to finish. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

According to Le My Dam, coconut trees are quite easy to make, with each only taking three or four days to finish. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam works on a tiny leaf for a pomelo tree in his miniature garden. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam works on a tiny leaf for a pomelo tree in his miniature garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam attaches a leaf to a pomelo tree in his miniature garden. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Le My Dam attaches a leaf to a pomelo tree in his miniature garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A papaya tree in Le My Dam’s miniature garden. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A papaya tree in Le My Dam’s miniature garden in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

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Ngoc Phuong - Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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