At travel to Japan back in 2005, I stumbled upon a small Japanese pre-bonsai maple. It was placed awkwardly on an almost hidden table like it was dumped. And it was. The owner of the bonsai nursery in Takamatsu has dismissed it as potential future bonsai, most likely due to a dead middle of the trunk. This is in Japan viewed as a fault. Most likely because the dead wood on a soft wooded tree, like most deciduous, does not cope with that in the moist Japanese climate. And the eternal matter of traditions.
In Europe though, we have a lot of those kind of trees (deciduous with hollow trunks and deadwood) and they cope with that. Pears, apple trees, oak and many others do live long with dead parts of the trunk, showing great will to stay alive and great strength is expressed by this.
Therefore I asked to buy a small tree. I could see some potential, and it talked to me because the nature I have around behaves like this. It was a struggle to be allowed to pay for it because the owner wanted to just give it to me. This stupid foreigner who doesn’t know. But I managed to pay a very small amount as symbolic as it might have been.
Today, twelve years later, the small Shohin has developed very well, and I have it for many more years to come I hope. Its development can be seen in the picture series below. I have treated the deadwood middle of the tree with some lime sulfur to prevent it from rotting. But only once some years ago. It seems not to be harmed in any way, but I will seal it again to be sure it stays healthy.
It will be added to the case story I am writing up for the new website launched in 2018, as part of the new Shohin Bonsai Video Studio.
Click on pictures to view them in a larger sizes.