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Wie kamen die Ginkgos von Toronto nach Slowakei
(
Story von Dušan Kuchta, Martin)

Im Jahre 1996 ich flog manchmal als Kapitän des A-310 Flugzeuges von Tchechischen Aerolinien (ÈA) auch nach Toronto in Kanada. I have already paid attention to a no daily hobby - propagation and cultivation of Ginkgo biloba tree. In my free time - between two flights - I was looking for possibility of obtaining the appropriate fruits. Ginkgo is a dioecious plant with male and female trees and it is necessary to find a suitably positioned pair of trees - close one from another as far as possible. This usually ensures that seed fertilization occurs, what is the basic prerequisite for good germination. In Toronto I found a pair of divergent sex trees after a long searching in Moss Park, in front of a hockey club in Sherbourne St., between Shuter St. and Queen St -  see the map. Opposite the club - right across the street - there is the Salvation Army center.

 I used to go to this place during the summer 1996 and I was watching ripening the fruits. In November I saw that they were already mature so I decided to collect them. I was afraid that when they fell off I would not be in Toronto. I reached a few fruits from the ground, but the others were too high, so I found a plastic bottle in the dustbin, I started tossing it into the crown of the female tree and plucking the fruits down. Meanwhile, two young athletes came out of the club and when they saw what I was doing they started to protest very strongly why I devastated the trees in their private park. I explained them what I was doing, where I was from and why I needed the seeds. It was interesting for them so that one of them climbed up a tree and picked full plastic bag of seeds for me. They wished me good luck in the cultivation and we said goodbye as friends. Both took a few seeds also in order to try them grow. After my farewell with the athletes a special phantom came close to me. He was a man, perhaps 2 m high, had an afro-haircut - dreadlocks long to the waist and a backpack. He was hidden behind the corner of the building and  was watching us all the time. In all he looked clean, not as some homeless characters who quite smelt and were obviously drunk. This man, even if he was to see like some displaced person, was quite credible. He asked me what I would do with my seeds. He did not accept my explanation,  he tried to convince me the ginkgo fruits were not edible raw and caused allergy. He told me that across the street there was the Salvation Army center and that they could give us very good soup free of charge. However, we needed to register, but he would help me with it. I could not convince him that I did not need his help and that I was fully assured foreign tourist (I did not say him, that I was the captain of ÈA). He said, that he saw on me that I was just beginner on the streets in this city. He apparently knew very well as the beginning was heavy, winter was approaching and I needed to secure myself because I would not have to survive. He offered to show me his dwelling as to be ready for the winter, and also would show me the place where I would be able to build a similar dwelling too.
 I could not get rid of him, he was still convincing me that I went to taste the soup and explained to me how important it was to have at least one hot meal a day in winter. I have already started to be worry when he did not stop to call me into the park behind the building of the hockey club and wanted to show me his dwelling. He was tempting me, that it was very convenient here, because I would have close to the building of the Salvation Army center where I could get some soup and sometimes there was even possible to sleep there. Finally, I was already so startled that I ended our friendship by a long “jogging“ away through at least two street blocks. I stopped running after I was assured that nobody was chasing me. Thanks God I managed to protect ginkgo seeds. Now they still grow as beautiful trees in Slovakia - see photo,
 

Den Ginkgos von Toronto geht es gut in der Slowakei (Foto D. Kuchta, 2006)
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