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Learn to care for orchids and bonsai

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Orchid blossoms and unique bonsai can beautify your home, but caring for them properly can be intimidating.

A free day-long event March 15 at Shelmerdine Garden Centre (7800 Roblin Blvd.) in Headingley is designed to allay plant owners’ concerns and teach you how to select and tend an orchid or bonsai.

The centre’s greenhouse manager Deanne Cram said the day will include demonstrations by members of the Manitoba Orchid Society and the Bonsai Society of Winnipeg.

Orchid Society president Fraser Cameron said he and other society members are pleased to share their knowledge about the lovely flower, which is becoming increasingly popular.

"We’ll be answering questions about orchids throughout the day," he said.

Cram said most of the orchids for sale at Shelmerdine are Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids which feature large blossoms.

"They will bloom for a long time," Fraser said. "They used to be very expensive, but in the last 10 years, the cost has dropped."

He cautions orchid buyers to select a plant from a reputable source, as orchids are now sold at grocery and other chain stores.

The Orchid Society formed in 1970 and is holding a show in the Assiniboine Park Conservatory from March 21 to 23 featuring displays by local growers. Information on the group is available at manitobaorchidsociety.ca

Bonsai is a combination of the Japanese words for pot and tree. The miniature trees range from four inches to four feet in height.

According to their website, The Bonsai Society of Winnipeg was organized in the early 1980s by a group of enthusiasts who wanted to get together to share their experiences, learn from each other, pool their resources, and enjoy the companionship of others with a common interest.

Cram showed off a variety of miniature tropical tree species, including some that flower, such as bougainvillea.

Society president Paul Collard said even though the trees are tropical, they like to be outside in the summer.

He said society members will demonstrate bonsai repotting and styling at mini-workshops throughout the day.

"We also offer sales assistance," he said, adding that customers can get guidance on what type of species to buy and how to care for it.

The Bonsai Society members meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Caboto Centre (1055 Wilkes Ave.). Information is available at
www.bonsaiwinnipeg.ca

Cram said the garden centre hasn’t held a combined orchid and bonsai event for about seven years and many customers have requested another.

"There are a lot of people really into growing orchids and training bonsai now," she said.

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