Well, some of you all may have noticed I didn’t give a report last year on the 2017 Epcot Flower and Garden/Bsf trees in the Japanese Pavilion. I do apologize (I had a few reasons, of which I don’t need to go into now) and I hope to make up for it with this post. Anyway, goody for you because, here you go, this years trees.

Since this is my blog, here’s a video of my entry for this year.

You may recognize it from this YouTube video: Green Mound Ficus Fast Forward

The night before I moved the tree from The Nook where I had mossed and photographed it, to a stack of pallets closer to my vehicle. My wife yelled at me because I’m not supposed to be lifting heavy things.

The process for choosing Epcot trees is simple: Bsf members from around the state (and sometimes at-large members from out of state) send in photos and descriptions of trees they wish to be considered, and a committee, consisting of several presidents of local clubs and the Bsf president, headed by Paul Pikel (of the Orlando Bonsai YouTube channel), has the task of whittling down the entries. I believe there were close to sixty this year, and there’s only space for 21.

My sons head for scale. The consideration for entrance is not just for how good a tree might look on a single day or a weekend, the tree has to survive three months at Epcot, and that means we think about watering, light, pruning, and the suitability of the species for long term display as far as repotting needs (there won’t be any) or serious bonsai techniques (like de-candling a pine).

That night, my wife and I put the tree into her minivan. She had “plans” for the next day. You see, we have to be at the backstage of Epcot at 7:30am on the morning of the first day of the Flower and Garden Festival, to install the tree, so Disney puts us up for the night at a Disney hotel. This time is was at the Beach Club. My wife decided that our children could swim at the pool while her and I had dinner (and drinks!) with the other exhibitors.

Thankfully they went home for the night with my sister (sleepover at Aunties!).

Well, after dinner (and drinks!) I stumbled into bed and I am proud to say I was not late (not the first nor the latest) the next morning.

The previous night, in order for my sister to take the kids to her house, we had to transfer the tree to my PT Loser. It filled the space pretty well, with my crate of wire and box of carving tools for ballast and bracing.

That morning, we all seem to open the vehicles to show off our trees.

Here’s Ed Trout’s Elm.

Bobby Blocks willow leaf ficus.

Reggie Purdue’s green island ficus.

We usually mill around in the parking lot waiting for the word from the Disney workers that they are ready for us.

Hi Rob! I believe he had an 11 o’clock tee time.

And then we drive on into the World Showcase.

Really. Now that’s not something you see everyday. My PT Loser by the Tori Gate.

I must give kudos to the load in crew, they are always on the ball and ready for the prima-donnas that we bonsai people are. Especially me. I’m like a mother hen when it comes to my tree.

Well, not really me, but some are. But I’m not allowed to name names. They did a fantastic job this year, as usual. They even had a cart, I was impressed.

Here are the trees, as best I could photograph them in place.

As usual, I’ll give some thoughts on the trees as I show them. I can’t help myself really, but that’s why you all love me. Or hate me.

First up, of course, is my tree, ficus microcarpa “crassifolia”. What some call the pointy leafed green island ficus or the Long Island ficus. But it could be called green mound ficus. Or should be. At least that’s the accepted common name in academia.

Paul’s Neea buxifolia

These are in an area Disney calls “The Meadow”. It’s on the way to the quick service restaurant and the restroom. We get much more foot traffic than everyone else for that reason. Hah!

Then we have another spectacular neea buxifolia from Christian.

Here’s a good time to point out the difference in perspective when it comes to the Art of Bonsai. Both Paul’s and Christian’s trees are Neea, but Christian’s has a “far view” meaning it’s like a tree you are seeing in the distance, maybe on a mountain or in a valley. Paul’s is a near view, meaning it might just be across a field, on a short hill. Look back and forth at the two and you’ll notice the difference. One perspective isn’t any better than the other, it’s just the artists vision, but this adaptability to different perspectives is what makes neea a superior bonsai subject.

The Meadow is an area that is difficult to photograph the trees, too much green behind them, but one must try.

Next, a trumpet tree from Puerto Rico….….presented by Rob. It’s still winter for it, and the new leaves haven’t come in yet.

On the other side of The Meadow, we have Jason’s big (BIG) trident maple. For scale, the name plate under each pic is about 4″x 10″. Look up at the first couple of trees and look at how big this one is by comparing the nameplate. I did say big.

Rob has two trees, here’s a wonderful bald cypress he calls “The Spiceworm”

I love it myself, especially the Dune reference. His nameplate is crooked. Hmmmmm, I might need to bring a drill when it’s my turn to do maintenance……

Going up the walkway, we have Virgil’s well composed schefflera forest. Virgil does well with the species, I’m jealous.

And next, Cesar’s ficus microcarpa ….…..looking like an old rainforest tree.

Next, Mike’s ficus microcarpa

Now, onto the area called “The Zen Garden”. This is an area where we can put smaller trees.

Barb’s sea grape, I particularly like this tree, it has a hollow trunk and great branching. I believe it was collected in Puerto Rico originally. The leaves on the sea grape could be as big as the pot it’s in, so it’s safe to say that Barb has done an excellent job with the horticulture.

The light not helping with this shot. In the pic you can’t see Ed’s Chinese elm very well but it’s there. I’ll try to get a better pic when I go in for maintenance.

This is Bobby’s willow leaf all set up.

Louise’s Japanese black pine.

Now we turn around and look at the Tori Gate left.

Ronn’s tiger bark ficus.Spectacular!

Ben’s Chinese elm.This tree has provenance, at one time it was owned by the American bonsai potter, Dale Cochoy.

Jesus’ raintree.

And, to the right of the Tori Gate, Josh’s bald cypress. It’s just waking up from winter.

Julie’s water elmAn impressive twin trunk that works on all levels. It looks very much like a tree. My favorite entry in the show so far.

Reggie’s green island ficus…..….it’s an unusual specimen because of how tall and upright it is. They usually grow low and squatty.

Jarbas’ buttonwood.I love the deadwood on this tree. It’s like a bat, or a Transformer or maybe even Edward Scissorhands.

And them’s the trees. We all had a good day, but I must give some disclosure, as there are some pics on social media from that day that may incriminate me. You see, it was my birthday. So I celebrated a little.

I advise a visit to The Tequila Cave, should you ever visit Epcot. One tequila…..

Two tequila…..

Three tequila….

But I did not meet the floor that day. I had much more to do. And work down in Ft Myers for one of my Advanced Studygroups the next morning.

The show runs from February 28 through May 28th, 2018, go see it if you can. Pictures, especially my poor ones, can never do these trees justice.

Like I said, a good time was had by all, especially the new exhibitors from the left to right, Josh Brown, Barb Hiser, and her husband Guy. He’s a good Guy, by the way.

And Ben, it’s his first time here as well. He was wearing two hats that day, I guess. Hi Ben!

The Epcot Flower and Garden Bonsai Exhibitors, class of 2018. Good work all, congratulations!

The trees are in the Japanese Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot. Here’s some Disney signage, in case you get lost.

And my car again for the parting shot. Epic, ain’t it? Kinda changes the game when it comes to my Back Bumper Bonsai posts.

Anyway, I think I got all the trees, but if I missed one or two, send me a message. Make sure to look at my Instagram or Facebook feed for updated pics as I visit the trees throughout the festival, TTFN!

9 thoughts

  1. Your trees were beautiful! I enjoyed reading all about your tree after I had seen it. Thanks for the in depth explanation about the art of the tree.


  2. Hi Adam. Great photos and commentary. I found you searching for Ilex (Dwarf Yaupon Holly), which my son discovered to be great bonsai starters- at a recent visit to a nursery here in Phoenix. I have started one, and assume it should always face the same direction as they grow (it stays on a south facing covered patio)- is that correct? Thanks, David


  3. Adam,

    I recently got some Ficus cuttings. I cut the end at an angle, pulled off all the leaves except for the top ones which I cut in half. I made sure to leave the buds. All of the leaves I left have curled up and turned black. Is this normal?


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