Why Bonsai shows can be good for Bonsai

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About 2 weeks ago the Puget Sound Bonsai Association put together their Spring Bonsai Show.  As a club member, obviously I was excited and this year decided to show a couple of my trees.  In my mind, I’ve always thought, out the 70 plus trees I have, I should be able to pull a couple of trees to show.  I found out that when I evaluated my trees for a show, I got more critical and found out that only about 5 out all the trees I have are  ready or can be prepared easily for a show.   There is a saying between bonsai enthusiast that “bonsai is never finished”,  the trees are always being developed or improved.   However, when trees are being prepared for a show, there’s a tendency (at least for me) to be more critical of the tree.  If  I can only keep that mind set all the time, I believe my trees will improve faster and here are some reasons why:

  •  Trees must look healthy.   No dying leaves or needles.  Pest should be controlled.  This is number one priority of course.  Keeping in mind, not forcing a tree to be shown only to compromise its health.
  • Wiring must always be put on properly.  It must look nice even if the wires are larger that needed for a show.  I usually try to reduce the visibility of wires when I show a tree but even when in training, wires should still look nice.
  • Pot.  Is the tree in the right pot?  I know that during a trees development, the pot may need to be larger than what it needs to be.  Many of my trees are in plastic pots during the early stage of development.  But when I start to think of tree for future or when someday it will be in a show, I start thinking of the type, color, and size of pot it will eventually go into.
  • Is the tree well balanced.  This is density of the foliage, size of foliage and needles, branch placement.
  • Also, this is less about the tree but other accessories come to mind, do I have stands, accents, scrolls that can go with a certain tree.

I’m sure there are  many other reasons why showing a tree will eventually be good for a bonsai tree but I think the main lesson here is: ” Do I do everything in the best way possible for my trees that when it’s time for me to share their beauty, they look their best?”

Here are more photos of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association’s Show.

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