Shohin Course With Morten Albek

Once again I was delighted to be asked to review the latest Bonsai Empire Course. This time we have a new face in front of the camera. Morten Albek is well known in the European bonsai community and more specifically the shohin side of things. The course was a pleasure to watch, and as we’ve come to expect from Bonsai Empire, of a high production quality and content.
For a non native English speaker, Morten’s English is probably easier to understand than my Northern Irish accent 🙂 He has laid out the content in small easy to follow lessons that you will be able to dip in and out of at your leisure. Content feels a little different to the preceding courses in that you are with Morten in his garden looking at the bonsai and displays with him. A refreshing change. The course covers a lot of basics of bonsai that refer not only to shohin but bonsai in general. We see wiring, repotting, care, and pruning all covered. The highlights for me though were the sessions on display and pot selection. Another plus point for many people out there will be his use of humble material for his creations showing what can be achieved with a little time and effort. Not all bonsai enthusiasts have the ability to afford top quality yamadori, indeed most people reading this blog with be on a tight budget.
If I was to be critical , only two things come to mind. I would have loved to have seen the display lecture being more extensive and perhaps with more content coming in 2019, this may well be part of the expansion. The other thing I noticed was a little bit of repetition in some areas. Morten even acknowledged this by stating that he was saying it again as it’s important. Either way his points were well made. I look forward to seeing what’s added next year and at the $44.99 price, one off payment for life, I think the course is a great starting point for anyone wanting to delve into the world of  shohin bonsai. Morten will be a good guide to get you going in the right direction. Well done Morten and Oscar, another bit of quality content for online learning. Interested, HERE is a link.
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Olive Repot

I picked up this Olive last year and wanted to transfer it into a new pot and examine more closely what was going on at the base and also inside the pot.

Roots looked good and I found a little more deadwood at the base.

Now into it’s new Klika pot.

 

Cascade Japanese Black Pine

I finally got around to doing a little work on my new Shohin Japanese Black Pine. I picked this one up whilst on holiday in Tenerife back in October. A visit to Bonsai Centro Tenerife and a chat with Jose Acuna did the job.

This is it as purchased.

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and after a little work.

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A slightly different angle.

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As a large shohin I like the fact that it has possibilities for reversing it in a box stand to fit different displays. Here’s the back.

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and the other sides just for giggles.

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Jose gave me a few earlier photos of it which I’ll share here too to keeps my records all in one place.

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Shohin Zelkova

This one is new to my collection this year. An old tree that originally was an import to the UK back in the late 80’s, it lost it’s apex when with the previous owner. I got the tree back in June as I saw some potential in making it into an even smaller shohin tree.

This was the tree as acquired. A bit weak with some dead branching. It hadn’t been fed much in recent years.

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when I got it home.

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I cut down the height by about 2 inches and cut the leggy branches back quite hard. After a few months free growth it had produced some new fine growth.

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I was able to do a little wiring once it dropped leaves for Winter. This is it after work. Some branches left long and will be left for another year to thicken branches as required. New beginnings, we’ll see how it goes. Major repot required this Spring.

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Shohin Japanese White Pine

Yes, I know, I’ve been very slack with my posting on the blog of late. A very busy period in my life with business, personal and bonsai elements going full tilt. I am hoping to have a quiet few months coming up and look forward to having more time for my own bonsai and pushing forward with my own education in this wonderful art.

I have still been taking photos and I’ll try and get a few more out over the coming weeks.

I’ve been up to my eyes in the prep required for Bonsai 30, the biggest Bonsai event Ireland has seen so far and have been prepping a number of trees for the exhibit. I would rather leave most of them until the event before sharing here though.

However, here’s a little Pine that was gifted to me by my friend Mariusz. It will be getting a new pot in the Spring but has just had a rewiring in case we need it for the shohin display at the exhibition.

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Shohin Chinese Juniper

I got this little Chinese Juniper in 2010 from a great chap called Bob Snaith.He was clearing out his collection and I got this one at a great price. He supplied me with the first photo below. He’d bought the tree from a chap called Micky Paice who had bought it from Windybank Bonsai back in 1999. Always nice to know the provenance of a tree.

This was it in 2010 as I bought it.

I repotted it and let it sit for a year to gain strength. I then explored the idea of chopping it back to the first branch as I didn’t particularly like the contrived trunk line.

Decision made.

This was it repotted into a smaller pot the following Spring 2012 I think.

It’s been tweaked a few times since then but a few weeks ago I decided to fine wire it and transfer it into a new pot I picked up at Bonsai Europa. This is it prior to wiring.

 

And afterwards

The new pot and chop mark, Yamaaki.

and now after repotting and a new coat of jin seal applied.

A Great Start

I finished work today at 5 and am off now until 13th April. I have lots of bonsai things planned during this time and thought I’d get stuck in by clearing away the mess in the garage left over from the potting up of the collected pines on Sunday. As I was checking the bags before they went in the bin I spotted a missed shohin sized tree in a bag. After a further check I spotted 3 more!! Result 🙂

All were still in good nick as they had been collected with a full rootball still encased in field soil.

This is what we’ve been finding, even small trees with amazing bark and character.

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Higo Gayu Kai 2014

More stunning Shohin displays from the blog of Nekotoban, this time from Higo Gayu Kai 2014.

Syohin Bonsai Kitakyusyu Branch Exhibition

Sharing these courtesy of Nekotoban Bonsai Days Blog which you should all be following if you are a lover of Shohin Bonsai. She has been doing the rounds of Shohin Exhibitions in Japan, many of which we rarely see here in the west. This is a great insight into display and quality at more local exhibitions in Japan.

Shohin Juniper Reworking

Did a little work on this wee one a few days back. Smaller pot required at some point.

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