Inspiration from Tomohiro Masumi

Me and Tomohiro in my garden.

Spending 5 days with Japanese Shohin bonsai expert Tomohiro Masumi did make a difference to me. Tomohiro was invited to the Danish Bonsai Society 30th anniversary exhibition as workshop leader and making lectures.

I had the opportunity to have some long and joyful talks about shohin-bonsai, and got a lot of new things to absorb.  Movement was maybe one of the most important issues to learn. We may have a tendency to make too straight upward trees lacking movement and tension. Because many of our landscape trees looks like that. And because we maybe do not develop our basic material like the Japanese do. We have to prepare it better and to look for more dramatic and interesting curves when searching for material useful for shohin-bonsai.  I have I now know 🙂

The climatic differences also is an issue I think. In Japan the summers are warmer, the seasons longer, humidity much higher, than here. This gives the opportunity of stronger growth, and here we will wait more seasons to develop the same volume in a tree. The advantage to my side, is that the tree will not overgrow the pot as easily as in Japan. Something has to be good living a little colder in shorter warm seasons.

Tomohiro also noticed the pots here often have thicker clay walls than the thinner Japanese pots. this could be an issue in a hot climate, where the thicker pot will be less able to cool the roots than thinner pots. But in the northern hemisphere this may not be an issue I believe. But a point to observe though.

Full of inspiration that I still have to consume, I happily look forward to the rest of the growing season. Already carrying a few tasks out recommended by Tomohiro Masumi. Thanks for the input.


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  • alfredo espino

    Interesting commentaries, Morten. I guess the observation regarding movement is a valid one. Although, the smaller the space the more difficult it is to succed in this. I definitely agree that the starting material is basic and -to an important point- determining.
    I´m always happy to hear from you. Thanks a lot.

  • Shohin-bonsai Europe - Morten Albek

    Thanks Alfredo.
    The smaller space the more need there is for movement I think. It is a more difficult task than on bigger trees, but cutting back deciduous trees hard is one option to make new directions of growth, and conifers needs to be directed from young age to gain success unless we are lucky to find natural twists in the material. The trees is a shohin display needs some movement to bring the display alive. Yesterday I was watching a beautiful selection of trees at facebook. I will post a link to these today.
    Best regards

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