Planting party

Yew Dell Gardens holds
plant sale, garden market

Ancient art of bonsai to be
revealed during eighth annual event

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (April 2010) – Since reading about bonsai in a National Geographic magazine, Earl Ekman has been fascinated with these venerable miniature trees. Growing, shaping and caring year round for these trees has become a passion for Ekman and many like him.

Bonsai Tree

Photo provided

The Greater Louisville Bonsai Society
is always a hit at Yew Dell
Garden’s annual plant sale.

Novices and experts alike are fascinated with the ancient art of bonsai. Ekman has been a member of the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society for the past 24 years. He is in constant contact with others who share his hobby. He is a past president of the society and current Show Chairman
An Oldham County resident, Ekman took a landscaping course under Lee Squires. This fueled his interest in bonsai. Squires is the Superintendent of Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville and has always had an interest in plants, Japanese gardens and landscaping.
The Greater Louisville Bonsai Society is one of the oldest bonsai societies east of the Mississippi. Most members are local, but some hail from as far away as Richmond, Bowling Green, Winchester, Owensboro and Indiana. Bonsai “mostly attracts people who like gardening,” he said.
“Bonsai is a technique,” said Squires who is president of the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society. A tree with a natural dwarf leaf is needed to create a bonsai tree. The process includes trimming, root pruning and dwarfing a tree in a small container.
One of the society’s main focuses is in promoting a beginner workshop each year. With the help of a member, participants can come, style a tree, pot it and leave with the satisfaction of having created something unique.
Ekman says it’s not hard to get starting growing bonsai. The society will “guide anyone that wants to do it,” he said.
Squires said a normal nursery plant or a plant collected in the wild can be used in creating bonsai. Repotting it every two to three years is the secret to keeping it thriving, he said.
“Bonsai is art and horticulture,” said Squires. An artistic touch is needed to shape the miniature tree and knowledge of horticulture is needed to know how to keep the tree alive and healthy.
The Greater Louisville Bonsai Society will take part in Yew Dell Garden’s eighth annual Plant Sale & Garden Market on April 24-25. On April 24 members of Yew Dell Gardens may attend the event at 9 a.m., one hour before it is open to the public. Public hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 25.
A regular admission fee of $7 for adults and $5 for seniors will be charged for non-members. Children 12 and under are free.
As with all Yew Dell events, “any proceeds will be directed towards helping us continue to add to the programs we offer to the community,” said Leah Whitmer, Director of Marketing and Development for Yew Dell Gardens.
The Greater Louisville Bonsai Society will have on display in the Gheens Barn “30 to 40 different types of bonsai trees,” said Ekman. Each will be labeled with a description and information about the tree, and members will be present to answer any questions attendees may have.
The societies exhibit “is always popular and people look forward to it every year,” said Whitmer. “Real, quality bonsai is not something you see everywhere.”
The type of trees used varies, said Ekman, and include junipers, pines, maples, elms, and indoor and outdoor trees. The society is already preparing for a huge bonsai show they will host in Louisville on June 16-19, 2011.
They have participated in the Plant Sale & Garden Market at Yew Dell Gardens for several years, alongside other local vendors. Children’s activities and a children’s play area will also be available, in addition to refreshments and garden tours.
“We always stay up-to-date on great new garden plants,” said Whitmer. For that reason, many new plants will be for sale this year.

• For more information on the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society, visit: www.LouisvilleBonsai.org. Or contact Yew Dell Gardens at (502) 241-4788 or www.YewDellGardens.org.

Back to April 2010 Articles.



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