As I did last year, I will give you all a glimpse of the trees from the Japanese Pavilion at the Epcot Flower and Garden show.
An overview:
Epcot has a spring festival celebrating the season; it runs from the beginning of March until mid-May and in the Japanese section of the World Showcase they use bonsai trees in the display.
The trees are provided by the members of the Bonsai Societies of Florida and they are chosen by the Epcot Committee in a blind jury process.
This year there were over 50 submissions but the committee only chose just over 20.
I did not get good pictures of every tree so if you’re tree isn’t in this post it’s not because I don’t like you, or I think you’re tree is crap, or whatever (some people are so sensitive), it’s because I didn’t get a good pic or it’s not in good form yet (like some of the bouganvillea not in bloom or such.)
The gimmick I’m using is one where I show the trees in the early morning as they are still in the vehicle before installation (which is as I first saw them and, seriously, how I like to see them. I’m a tree guy and displays just bore me, I’d rather be able to walk up to and look into a tree in order to see how it was done than to see a tree from afar. I’m that way at museums with paintings too; I want to see the brushstrokes, the color bleed through and the urgency of the techniques of the artist).
First tree:
Big old ficus microcarpa.
And on the stand:
Now, I won’t name every artist on every tree but I will in some.
For various reasons.
The ficus above lives at Old Florida Bonsai usually.
The next tree is a hackberry, of which there are three great examples of on display this year.
In this case the tree looks good on the tailgate and on display.
This is Jason Schley’s tree, one he collected and has grown every branch on. He is the owner of Schley’s Bonsai and Supply in Deland.
The next tree is bougie,
Of which I did not get a good pic of on the stand. You’ll have to wait a few weeks when I go back for my maintenance duty.
The next tree is an awesome trident maple, which I love the controversial twin apex on.
In the exhibit I couldn’t get a straight on pic, it seemed everyone wanted to stand in front of it when it was on the stand.
But this might be a better front anyway. Haha!
The next tree is a big ilex vomitoria shilling that is a part of the bonsai exhibit at Selby Gardens in Sarasota. 20140308-174111.jpg
It’s a tree that belongs to the Sho Fu Bonsai Society.
I did not get a good pic of it in the exhibit at all. (Or in the back of the van it seems. Epic Failure, my apologies).
Onward brave souls; next tree!
A sweet hackberry from my friend James, say hi James!
The trunk is as big as his leg.
I’d been telling him to submit the tree for a few years now and he finally did, it looks good at Epcot and he deserves the recognition, he’s a great artist (and a fantastic guitarist too).
The next tree is a bougie from my friend Mark.
He’s a student of Erik Wigert’s and fairly new in bonsai but he’s learning very fast.
He had known that it was my birthday on the 28th so he carved this little tiki man for me:
Thank you sir! Nice present, I love it!
The next tree is a bald cypress, of which this is the side view:
The trees that are in what is called the “Zen Garden” look nice in person but the backgrounds don’t really allow good pics from my iPhone camera. So these ones are highly edited and still don’t look good. And this cypress is one of them.
I apologize for the terrible pics.
This next two trees are an ilex (in the back) and a trident maple.
Two fine, old trees:
I didn’t get a good pic of the ilex (it’s blurry) but here’s the trident, and a dwarf powder puff as well:
Now, another good tree I couldn’t get a decent pic of.
It’s a sabina juniper!
I know, what the hell is it doing in the US, never mind Florida?
It’s native to the mountains of Europe.
A little factoid: every part of the tree is poisonous. So don’t go making gin out of it, only Jin.
It’s a great old specimen with great deadwood.
It looks good in the exhibit.
The next tree is a Japanese black pine with a dead tree in it.
That’s the back of the tree above.
Below, the front (sounds a bit philosophical)
The next tree is another hackberry, but a grove this time.
By my friend Bobby.
And the next tree is a fine Brazilian Raintree specimen by the incomparable Reggie
Sweet tree, when I post about the maintenance session I’ll get a close up of the trunk.
Next we have two trees, on the left, Ed’s juniper, the right, Hiram’s bunjin cypress, a pond cypress I believe.
Hiram’s tree is in the pond so it photographs well:
But Ed’s is in the non photogenic zen garden.
Ugg, sorry Ed.
In the home stretch now, the next tree is a bougie that looks good on this bench
But looks awesome on the stand.
It and the next ficus are also Old Florida Bonsai trees.
The trees are Richard’s, his brother’s and Richard’s sons trees. A very talented family.
The irony in this whole episode is that I didn’t get a good pic of Paul’s tree, a wrightia religiosa or my own tree, a neea buxifolia.
Ironic in my case because it’s my blog and in Paul’s case because he’s a professional photographer.
Paul (from YouTube fame on OrlandoBonsaiTV) promises me some good pics soon.
I enjoy the trees but I also enjoy the people and all the partying…..uh, the serious discussions we have when we meet to install the trees.
These next pics are some of my favorites:
Hiram had a great time at the exhibit’s installation.
He said he felt like it was all a dream.
I couldn’t hardly get Bobby away from his tree to photograph it.
But I did catch him photographing his tree-
while Richard and his son look at their ficus in Hiram’s wife’s camera.
And the two old guys, Randy and David, laughing at them.
Installing the trees in the zen garden. 20140308-195321.jpg
And the final shot, stolen from Paul on Facebook, the guests taking pics and enjoying the trees.
Which is why we do it, after all, to spread the art of bonsai to the world.
If you are in Florida, I recommend seeing the exhibit.
Now through the middle of May.

9 thoughts

  1. I enjoy your blog and am looking forward to your trip to Fort Wayne Bonsai club where I am a member. I forwarded your blog to 2 of my daughters who live in Fl. One wrote back as follows:

    HI Dad, Very nice blog and very interesting – glad you are taking his master class. I looked it up and tickets start at 94.00 for 1 adult for 1 day. Ridiculous. That doesn’t include parking, shuttle transportation, or food. Disney is not a good deal! Maybe Sarasota will have an event sometime. Sarasota is only about 45 minutes south of Tampa.

    Love, Mary

    I agree. Disney is not a good deal. Thank you for the pictures.

    Bob Mortenson


    1. Thanks for reading and I can hardly wait for the trip myself.
      It is pretty expensive at Disney.
      There is a club in Sarasota called Sho Fu bonsai that does have an event they participate in every year called Asian Fest at Selby Gardens.
      I also give program’s there from time to time as well.


  2. Thanks Adam, that is a great write up and pics of some beautiful trees! It looks like I’ll just miss the exhibit though, I won’t be in Florida (travelling from Sydney, Australia) until late May. Any other shows in late May I could go to?


  3. I love Epcot my favorite place! Love the food! The Bonsai trees are amazing and enjoyed your photos and article. Nice to see Paul as a judge! Great trees!


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