Joy of Bonsai 2021 – Florida Bonsai Magazine Winter 2020

Article By Benjamin Lorber

On February 27, 2021, the Kawa Bonsai Society will be bringing back its once annual Joy of Bonsai show.  Joy of Bonsai will be hosting Mike Lane, a student of Erik Wigert, as the headliner of the show.  Mike Lane began Bonsai in 2008, won the BSF scholarship competition in 2010, displayed trees nationally, and has since headlined multiple conventions.  Mike will bring his expertise on a multitude of topics to all who want to participate in this one day, learning filled event.

Mike Lane working on a Buttonwood at Wigert’s Bonsai Nursery
Photo from Wigerts

The last time Joy of Bonsai was held was in January of 2016.  Much has changed since the last time it was held.  Kawa will now be hosting Joy of Bonsai at Schley’s Bonsai and Supplies.  Jason Schley has graciously let Kawa use his nursery and will also be offering a 20% discount for everything bought during the show.

Since the COVID-19 Pandemic is not over, masks and social distancing will be required per DeLand mandate as well as by Schley’s Bonsai. We want to prevent an outbreak of cases, so please follow these CDC guidelines and do not come if you are not feeling well or do not want to abide by these rules.

In the past, Kawa has charged a daily registration fee to participate in the event.  But this year only, Kawa has decided to make the event free of charge to the public!  We want to promote Bonsai and the fun of being outdoors in the state of Florida.  Being that this will be the first Bonsai show held since COVID-19 pandemic began, Joy of Bonsai being free is our gift to the Bonsai world.


Photo of Kawa member’s trees from Schley’s 2019 Summer event.  
Photo by Benjamin Lorber

Kawa members will be helping put together an exhibit of trees to showcase our club’s talent.  Trees displayed may be in varying stages of development but will showcase each of our member’s best work.  Kawa will be awarding a people’s choice award that all Joy of Bonsai attendees get to vote on.  Mike Lane will also be conducting a critique of the Bonsai exhibit.  The cost will be $10 and is open to anyone.  Even if you do not have a tree in the exhibit, participating is a great learning experience.

Mike Lane will also be conducting 2 workshops.  One of the workshops Mike Lane will be conducting is on Parrots Beaks ($275) and the other is on Shohin Bonsai trees ($250).  With the Shohin workshop, you get the opportunity to pick any Shohin tree from Schley’s Bonsai and Supplies to work on with Mike Lane.  Some examples of what you can choose are below.

If you decide to take a workshop, lunch will be provided free of charge.  If you decide not to take a workshop, there will be a small fee you will have to pay.  Kawa will be catering lunch.

Some possible choices for the Shohin Workshop
Pictures by Benjamin Lorber

A few larger parrots beaks below.

For those who decide not to take a paid workshop, Mike Rogers will be doing a demonstration in the morning.  Mike Rogers is a highly experienced Bonsai artist, and it is something you do not want to miss!

Another fun event that Kawa will be hosting is a styling competition.  The rules are that 2 people per club can enter to represent your club in the competition.  There will be a $25 entry fee for all participants and the tree gets donated afterwards for auction.  The species that participants will get to style are Junipers. Participants will bring their own tools; wire will be provided.  Winners will receive a prize.  One of the prizes will be a gift certificate to Schley’s Bonsai Nursery.

We will also have Vendors, if you are interested in Vending, please contact Jason Schley at, or at (386) 675-3118 Anyone interested in signing up for a class, critique, or styling competition can also contact Jason.  For payment options, please contact our treasurer Mark Ceskavich at or at (407) 401-1319 Kawa takes cash, check, or card over the phone.

Mike Rogers working on a Brazilian Rain Tree grouping at Schley’s 2019 Summer event.
Photo by Benjamin Lorber
Possible trees that could be used for the styling competition.
Photo by Benjamin Lorber

Joy of Bonsai has always been a very special show for me personally.  Joy of Bonsai was the very first show I exhibited at as a young Bonsai artist.  Even though my tree may not have been 100% ready for showing when I first started displaying, since I was a club member, I was encouraged to bring my tree to enter as part of the show.  We still encourage all our members to display a tree no matter the level.  When I would display a tree, I would always include a timeline with my trees to show the progress that it has made since I began it.  In 2014, I was asked to put together a big timeline display on a trifold showing the progress I had made on multiple trees.  The timelines were meant to give the audience an idea of how far my trees have progressed. 

Displaying trees at Joy of Bonsai taught me the process of preparing a tree for show.  I learned how to properly moss, clean the leaves/pot, find the correct stand, and finally choose an appropriate companion item.  Small conventions like Joy of Bonsai prepared me for displaying at larger conventions like the ones BSF hosts.  This is a goal of Kawa, to have all members learn how to properly display a tree and understand the process of getting a tree ready for showing.

The tree I displayed the most at Joy of Bonsai was my Green Island Ficus that I rooted from a cutting in 2007 off of a Jim Smith tree my Mother had purchased.  The tree has been displayed at Joy of Bonsai from 2012-2016 and once at a BSF Convention.  My Green Island Ficus is in a bit of a rebuilding phase but I hope to display it at a future Joy of Bonsai!  I have not decided what I will display at Joy of Bonsai yet, so you will have to visit the show to see!

Something I would absolutely recommend is for everyone to take an exhibit critique.  Taking a critique is how I got valuable advice from Bonsai masters on how to improve my tree, display, presentation, etc.  I learned a lot by hearing someone else’s thoughts/perspective and I would highly recommend taking the critique with Mike Lane at this upcoming Joy of Bonsai!

The multi-tree timeline display I put together for Joy of Bonsai 2014.
Photo by Diane Lorber

My Green Island Ficus being displayed at the last Joy of Bonsai Kawa hosted in 2016.
Photo by Adam Lavigne

Sean Smith, Ted Matson, and Bill Valavanis studying my Green Island’s Timeline at the 2015 Joy of Bonsai Shohin+.
Photo by Trisha King Walters

            I would highly recommend attending this year’s Joy of Bonsai!  Kawa is very excited to be able to host the very first in person show since COVID-19 began!  Below is our rough schedule of the day.  The finalized schedule and registration packet should be coming out in the coming days and will be posted on our website.  Please visit for more information about our one-day event.  Feel free to contact an officer with any inquiries you may have!

            Kawa Bonsai Society hopes to see everyone at Joy of Bonsai 2021 on February 27 at Schley’s Bonsai and Supplies!!!


Joy of Bonsai Flyer and Schedule
Created by Benjamin Lorber