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The art of bonsai

By Staff | Jul 11, 2012

Members of the Bonsai Society of Southwest Florida are hosting a special day next Saturday, July 21. After a brief regular monthly meeting, they will car pool and caravan to a Bonsai Society tour of several member homes collections and the famed Wigert’s Bonsai Nursery.

All area bonsai enthusiasts are invited to attend the meeting and come along the tour.

Wigert’s Bonsai Nursery has a spectacular variety of bonsai, and one of the few bonsai-only nurseries in the country, said society officials.

Local enthusiasts call bonsai a horticultural art, including past president Greg Lignelli. “Bonsai is a horticultural art that is always changing, so you must be constantly nurturing the trees. It allows one to commune with nature, so we try to simulate the trees in their natural setting.”

Lignelli is a retiree and Pine Island resident.

“I went to see the annual show about five years ago,” he said. “I fell in love with the beauty of it and been doing it ever since.”

The group meets once a month, and draws a membership from many local communities, including Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Pine Island and Lehigh Acres. Dave Hamira from Fort Myers is the current president, Lignelli said.

“Our club is of such a quality we’ve had four members who have been accepted to place trees in the U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition – the nation’s most prestigious show for bonsai enthusiasts. It’s the American Bonsai Society’s national show held in Rochester, New York.”

People call the organization and Wigert’s all the time for advice, he said. He said many members are looking forward to that final stop at the Wigert’s Nursery on the tour.

Andrea Wigert, and husband Erik, are the owners of Wigert’s Bonsai Nursery, which is located in North Fort Myers near Del Tura.

“We’re one of the biggest bonsai nurseries in Florida,” she said. “We offer full services, from plants to pots and classes. People come in from all over the state as well as throughout the U.S. when they are traveling near here. We’ve been doing bonsai for the last 10 years. It’s just an art form that’s natural, very beautiful and relaxing.”

Andrea said Erik is “the artist” and she takes care of the nursery and classes. They do monthly classes for beginners and the advanced.

This week, they had a bonsai master – Pedro Morales teach. Morales is originally from Chicago, but now lives in Puerto Rico and is well known and respected in the bonsai world.

Kelvin Cooper traveled in from Sarasota for the classes.

“I belong to the Bonsai Society in Sarasota and heard about the class. I think this nursery is spectacular and I think Erik is very talented,” he said.

The meeting of the society starts at 9 a.m. the Support Personnel Association of Lee County (SPALC) Building at 6281 Metro Plantation Road, Fort Myers,

For information on the meeting, the organization and the tour event, call Lignelli at 560-3275. For information on Wigert’s, call 543-2234.