When taking Army training, I remember Sergeant Anderson, a tough Airborne Ranger sergeant, telling us how to plan a mission. In between four letter words, he said, “You figure out where you have to be and when and work backwards from that.” Well, that turned out to be good advice to use in a variety of ventures, including preparing for a bonsai show. Since we have a couple of events coming up this spring, let’s do somebackward planning with that old Army technique.
What’s the mission: Bonsai Society of Florida Bonsai show. Who: Sponsored by the Bonsai Societies of Florida. When is it: Memorial Day weekend, May 2019. Where: Florida Hotel, Orlando Florida.
What are we going to do: Show a Buttonwood, a Japanese Black Pine and a Bougainvillea.
Show Day (called S-Day): Deliver trees. Set up on stands. Rub camellia oil on pot with soft lint free cloth. Place accent. Admire your handiwork. Enjoy convention.
S-Day -1: Prepare water spray bottle to keep tree moist while on display, and a towel to place on stand so as not to scratch it when moving pot.
S-Day -3: Clean trunk and branches with mild vinegar and water and a soft bristle toothbrush. Cover soil with plastic to prevent cleaning solution from penetrating root pad. Clean mold and dirt off pot with scrub brush. Remove any weeds.
S-Day -3: Remove any dead or damaged leaves from tree. Prune any withered branches.
S-Day -5: Clean stand and apply furniture polish. Arrange transportation for trees.
S-Day – 7: Recoat dead wood with more lime sulfur.(Assuming warm temperature. If not, do this a week earlier) Protect moss, leaves, and pot from lime sulfur drips.
S-Day -10: Moss tree base. Completely cover soil but leaveroot base (nebari) clear of moss. Mist moss each day prior to show. Remove long needles on Japanese Black Pine.
S-Day -15: Start withholding water on bougainvillea. Water only when tree shows signs of wilting. This will push flowers and bracts on thenew shoots.
S-Day – 17: Clean any driftwood with mild water and bleach solution. Place fresh coat of lime sulfur on the dead wood.
S-Day -25: Pinch rapidly extending bougainvillea shoots.
S-Day -28: Prepare accent plants by cleaning, clipping and fertilizing.
S-Day -35: Collect accent plants, stones or other item to show with the tree.
S-Day -45: Prune all the leaves and refresh the wire on the buttonwood. Fertilize heavily.
S-Day -48: Cut extending candles on Japanese Black Pine. Wire outer shoots to make pads. Remove long needles.
S-Day -50: Prune all leaves and thin shoots on the Bougainvillea. Wire branches as needed. Fertilize heavily. Place in full sun.
S-Day -60: Finish procuring stands for display.
S-Day- 120: Start heavy fertilization of all bougy and buttonwood, candle prune Japanese Black Pine
S-Day -125: Complete sign up for convention and workshops as desired.
S-Day-180: Decide what trees to show and plan pruning repotting and wiring.
The sequence of events such as the timing of when you prune a tree will definitely improve its appearance. A little prior planning will have your trees and accents in tiptop shape for the show. Let’s get to work and make this a convention display to remember.