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McCracken Co. Libary to Host Bonsai 101 Beginners Workshop This Thursday, September 14

The McCracken County Public Library presents "Bonsai for Beginners" on Thursday, September 14, at 5:30 p.m.
McCracken County Public Library
The McCracken County Public Library presents "Bonsai for Beginners" on Thursday, September 14, at 5:30 p.m.

The McCracken County Public Library hosts bonsai enthusiast Jim Gould for a Bonsai 101 Beginners Workshop on Thursday, September 14, at 5:30 p.m. WKMS newsroom reporter Zacharie Lamb speaks to Gould ahead of the presentation about his love of bonsai and what attendees can expect from the free, public class. Gould begins by describing how common bonsai is, explaining how its 2,000-year-old definition is simply "tree in a pot."

"So, if you have an empty pot set out in the backyard and a pine seed lands in that and becomes a tree, technically, you have bonsai," Gould says. "What makes it more special is that the tree, whatever tree you use, is contorted and sculpted artistically to appear to be an older tree than it really is. For instance, a bald cypress, which can grow 60 to 80 feet tall, the goal is to trim the bald cypress, which may be 12 to 18 inches tall, in such a fashion that it appears to be 80 feet tall in stature, thick trunk, lots of needles. It's the artistry."

Gould says that he has been cultivating his love of bonsai since college, citing that the accessibility, affordability, and year-round possibilities are what initially attracted him to the practice. "It's a lot easier than some people might think," he says. Gould will use his own bonsai trees to demonstrate the basics of the practice, including watering techniques, potting techniques, types of soil, how to procure specimens, and how to manage them once you have them. He also plans to share how he creates bonsai pots from materials around the home, like plastic takeout containers.

For Gould, it's the "change" that keeps him enthralled with bonsais. "For instance, I've had a grove of ficus trees in a little pot that grew so richly one year that I had to trim them way back. Another year, they had some sort of crisis. There were no bugs, no demonstrable fungus or bacteria, but it had this big leaf drop, and I couldn't tell you why. Now, a year and a half later, I'm nurturing them back to where they were before the leaf drop. So, to watch these things change, watch the trunks fill out, manage the shape, it's very interesting. It's also very satisfying to manage trees for 15 or 20 years. In fact, I have one that I started from an acorn. It's a live oak like you would see in the deep South with moss [that] I've had for 41 years. It's just fun."

The McCracken County Public Library presents Jim Gould's 101 Series: Bonsai for Beginners on Thursday, September 14, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the library's meeting room. The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the McCracken County Public Library's website contact Bobbie Wrinkle at 270-442-2510, ext. 117, or e-mail

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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