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International bonsai event takes place in Louisville

Attention, Kentucky bonsai lovers: The world just got a little snip smaller. Experts in this art of plant miniaturization will assemble in Louisville for four days starting Thursday for a first-ever global convention and learning seminar.

Bonsai in the Bluegrass is a collaboration between Bonsai Clubs International and the American Bonsai Society, and it's hosted by the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society. There will be displays, events and vendors.

Beyond the basics, seminars will be presented by specialists including Andy Smith of Golden Arrow Bonsai, who explores rugged environments such as South Dakota's Black Hills to locate naturally gnarled ancient trees, and Min Hsuan Lo, who grew up in his family's bonsai business in China and has developed a style featuring vertical curves in branches, reflecting the art of calligraphy and ancient Chinese philosophy.

The event will be at Fern Valley Hotel and Conference Center, 2715 Fern Valley Road. Individual programs and costs vary above a basic registration of $295. Go to Bonsaiinthebluegrass.com for more information.

Bluegrass Fair entries

We're a little more than a month away from the horticultural contest and standard flower show at the Lexington Lions Club Bluegrass Fair. It's 3 to 10 p.m. July 16 and 17.

Sponsored by Fayette County Master Gardeners and Lexington Council Garden Clubs, the event will be at Masterson Station Park, 3501 Leestown Road. The contest is free to enter and open to residents of Fayette and surrounding counties. Entries will be accepted from 9 to 11:30 a.m. July 16, with judging at 1 p.m. Ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded.

This year's theme, Blue Grass Goes Green, reflects the popularity of sustainability. Divisions include fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs, foliage plants, roses, perennials, annuals, bulbs, branches and combination plantings. Younger gardeners may participate in "Sprouts," a horticultural division for ages 17 and younger, divided into two groups: preschool to age 12 and ages 13 to 17.

Categories for the design division are reduce, recycle, reuse, leaves of grass and water wise.

Go to the Master Gardeners' Web site,Ces.ca.uky.edu/fayette/mg, for details.

Educational exhibits sponsored by the Master Gardeners' group, The Arboretum on Alumni Drive, garden clubs and specialty flower groups also will be on display.

For more information about the fair, go to Lionsclubbluegrassfair.com.

Charleston, S.C., gardens ooze Old World charm

If you yearn to explore tropical gardens and stroll along sandy beaches but are strapped for time and money, head for the islands and inlets lining the South Carolina coast near Charleston. They're an easy nine-hour drive from Central Kentucky.

In Charleston's old town, gardens behind ornately designed wrought-iron walls and beneath porticos and balconies ooze Old World charm. In spring and fall, the Preservation Society schedules 10 days of tours through gardens and homes. Reservations are being taken at Preservationsociety.org for Sept. 22 through Oct. 23.

A must-see is America's oldest landscape garden at Middleton Place, a 65-acre rice plantation that was the home of Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. There is always something in bloom, from camellias in March to summer magnolias, roses and crape myrtle.

If you visit July 1 to 3, you'll see an encampment of Revolutionary War re-enactors.

Go to Middletonplace.org for details.

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