This one off the BSF website (click here for the whole album)
And I also found a pic on trip advisor (tripadvisor.com) that didn’t list a photo credit.
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is a months long event at Walt Disney World in the Epcot park. It begins in the beginning of March and finishes at the End of May.
All the countries have a gardening theme and the Japanese Pavilion uses bonsai trees that the Bonsai Societies of Florida members loan to Epcot for the duration of the show.
Getting back to my tree, it needs to be repotted. Looking at the foliage
and how sparse and thin it is tells me that its getting root bound. Root bound trees dry out quicker.
This tree is considered an evergreen in part of its native range but, is also considered deciduous in other parts.
It has to do with water. In the dry season this tree will drop its leaves and go dormant. The tree was first discovered on Louis Antoine de Bouganville’s voyage around the world.
The voyage’s botanist was Philibert Commerçon who, as you may have noticed, named it after Bouganville.
There’s a cool story behind the plant’s discovery. It involves a woman, Jeanne Baré, who was Commerçon’s lover, being snuck on board disguised as a man (it was against regulations for women to be onboard official government ships). She was billed his aid and it was probably she who actually discovered many of the plants on the journey; Commerçon’s health was not very good. She was also the first European woman to circumnavigate the globe
Anyway, the tree is native to South America from Brazil to Peru and down through Argentina.
In a bonsai pot it’s best to repot every year. Even the larger ones. I haven’t had much growth on this tree since last year and I haven’t repotted for two.
First, I defoliate and prune
And I’ll clean the deadwood
I’ve never used a carving tool on this tree, except a wire brush, and all the deadwood is natural. In the years I’ve had it (nine) they’re has been very little degradation of the deadwood.
People are always asking about wood hardener or lime sulfur and what I use. My experience is, the less you play around with a bougies deadwood, the better. Let it age naturally. It will rot but it rots faster if you try to preserve it.
Here’s a funny thing, roots will grow through the deadwood
There is only one loose bit of wood I’ll rip off
And then, The Brush
There, that’s better
There are two things people (those who “know better”) don’t like about this tree.
Which I say,
“I like the pot”
and that’s really all that matters now, isn’t it?
If you don’t like the pot, buy the tree and change it, if you’d like.
2. There’s this root
I keep it because I think it’s important to the health of the tree.
And also because it bugs people.
And technically, this is a Yamadori (except for the mountain part of it I guess. Yamadori means plant collected in the mountain. We use the word Yamadori for all collected trees now) and Yamadori are allowed strange roots.
I’ve told the story of this tree many times but I’ll commit it to the digital ether here:
My regular job consists of repairing, selling and renting wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs and electric handicap scooters.
One day, in an old neighborhood in Kissimmee, I was putting batteries on an old scooter and I noticed this ten foot tall bougie with a six inch trunk.
When I was done fixin’ and I was finishing up with the customer I told him that, with all those thorns and the rampant growth (always talk down the tree) I would remove the bougie for free if he wanted to get rid of it.
He said his wife liked the tree.
That was that.
Fast forward a few months and I get a call from him again, he has a flat tire and, even though his wife still loves the tree in the front, he has a smaller one in back on the fence line that his neighbor wants him to remove.
I told him I’d help him out.
After fixing the flat on his scooter I go to the back yard and stop dead in my tracks. What a beast.
It’s been there fourth years and he’s done nothing but chop it back to keep it off the fence.
I play it cool and proceed to dig it up.
What a find.
Like they say, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I even charged him for the new tube on his scooter.
Back to the tree.
Being that this tree is a beast, and I’m getting old, I needed help lifting it. I called Guaracha and he came over to help
Here’re the roots
With a tree this big it’s always tough to repot and that extra set of hands help.
Rake the old soil out.
Wash the roots
Kinda looks like we’re holding down a goblin
Can you see it?
But, I digress.
We remove about 1/2 of the roots.
Clean out the pot and put new drain hole screening in
This next step is important with big trees. Put some soil in and shape it into a cone
This way, when you put the tree in the pot, and you twist it into the soil, you fill in all the air spaces. Roots don’t grow where there are air spaces, obviously.
And when you use your chopstick to get the soil between the roots, do a thorough job.
And make sure you get underneath the edges.
At this point I fertilize.
There’s a lot of misconceptions out there about “burning” the new roots after repotting.
On a tropical tree, I always fertilize at the repot.
On a deciduous tree, I fertilize after the new growth slows and hardens off, to minimize internode length.
Conifers are different as well and different conifers should be fertilized at different times. That’s another post.
To me, there’s never a nicer look than new soil in a bonsai
I’m not a fan of moss (even though I know it’s benefits and I use it on my smaller trees) I just like fresh soil.
A little more pruning, some wire, and back on the bench it goes
Full sun, water everyday, trim errant shoots.
That’s all for now.