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Meet Phil Malhiot

All Workshops and Demonstrations will be conducted by guest artist, Phil Malhiot in the Ellen T. Leslie Botanical Classroom of the Waterfront Botanic Gardens.

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My Story

Phil Malhiot’s fascination with Bonsai began when he opened a friend’s refrigerator and saw a tiny tree on the shelf more than 40 years ago. That first winter he lost all but one of his fledgling  trees in the harsh Midwestern winter. After that loss he started taking workshops and lessons to learn how to better care for his trees.  In 1986 he visited the Midwest Bonsai Society show at the Chicago Botanic Garden for the first time.

“I was so inspired I started doing workshops and lessons every chance I got,” said Malhiot, who would go on to win Midwest’s Best in Show for an elm forest planting 20 years later. He has also been an active member of the Prairie State Bonsai Society where he has served as a board member and President.

Over the years Malhiot has taught many students throughout the region from his early years at Ivan Watters Yasukanai Bonsai shop in Morton Grove to his own bonsai garden in the Chicago’s western suburbs. He has demonstrated the art of Bonsai throughout the Midwest and judged a variety of exhibitions and shows including for the Midwest Bonsai Society show at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Milwaukee Bonsai Society, and others.

Among his many awards is the American Bonsai Society’s Award of Merit for yamadori, Best in Show at the Midwest Bonsai Society show in 2006 and the Best in Show and People’s Choice at two Prairie State Bonsai Society shows.

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