Winnipeg Weekend
 By Jerry Meislik


In June 2005, I was invited to Winnipeg, Canada, to spend several days working with the Winnipeg Bonsai Society. During that time they held two workshops and a lecture demonstration.

The members of the Winnipeg Society graciously extended their Canadian hospitality and friendship. In the rare moments of free time, Paul Collard took me on a downtown excursion. We were able to visit the River Walk area in downtown Winnipeg where the two rivers, Assiniboine and Red meet. There is a lovely pedestrian area loaded with shops and an outside ampitheater. Winnipeg's downtown also has many great architecturally detailed buildings. There even was a multi-mile street exhibit of Polar Bear statues that were each customized by a local artist. Some of them were really quite fabulous and very inventive.

We visited the bonsai collection of John Tran, member of the Winnipeg group. John has a great collection of trees. He is focusing on locally collected materials which include Jack pine, Eastern Larch and White Cedar as well as Black and White spruce. He uses a loose and airy soil mix which allows him to successfully winter trees in this zone 2 climate! Winnipeg can have extremes of weather with winter temperatures plunging far below freezing. The group's success is partially due to growing trees that are native and thus adapted to the weather or by growing tropical trees indoors where the trees escape the weather extremes.

Winnipeg Bonsai Society awaiting the "miracle".

The demonstration begins.

Examining the Ficus demo tree.

Paul Collard helping bend a reluctant trunk.

Linda, John Grande, Kathy Gutheil, ?, John Tran and Paul Collard in front. John's banyan Ficus microcarpa on right.

It was a weekend of delightful bonsai learning and sharing that I will lomg remember.

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