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Shohin bonsai preparations and Vlog 17

Slowly the autumn moves forward. Temperatures drops and it is time to stop feeding the trees. I remove all used organic fertilizers at this time to let the trees slowly slow down and get ready for dormancy.

Japanese maple in autumn clothes.

Deciduous trees will slowly turn their leaves into brilliant autumn colors when it gets colder. Autumn is  great pleasure for me. I enjoy the silence and fresh air.

Bonsai Radio Show

Less silent was Monday morning. This week I went to a national Radio broadcaster to record three episodes for a Japanese culture show running 3 hours every Sunday morning. In Danish only, so i am sorry I can’t share it with you. But we talked about bonsai as culture, how to care for a bonsai, exhibitions and much more. Although  48 minutes seems very short. I had so much more to say 😀  For Danish readers it is available live from Sunday 13th between 09:00-10:00 or as podcast at https://www.24syv.dk/programmer/sukiyaki

Morten Albek (left) with Radio presenter Kristian Ditlev Jensen. Official photo: Radio24syv


Finally the newest Vlog 17. Watch it here 🙂


Kisetsu-en, Garden of the seasons

Finally a Japanese name is settled for the garden. I have been searching for a good Japanese name for the garden for some time now. Something that expresses the mood of the garden, and has a good sound too.


It was so simple as I first found it. Kisetsu means seasons in Japanese. No name could be more suitable. Kisetsu-en, Garden of the seasons, expresses the feeling and spirit of the garden perfectly. Having a fair share of Shohin-bonsai in the collection, where the aim of the Shohin display is exactly focusing on seasonal changes. Also having a love for deciduous trees, furthermore makes the choice of name meaningful.



Winter time has arrived. First days with frosts ahead, so i am preparing the winter shelter for the trees. Some are already under roof. Trees like Trident maples, are more vulnerable for freezing, and therefore they are stored earlier than other specimens. Also Shohin-bonsai are stowed away sooner than larger trees, simply because the small pot will be freezing faster than larger pots with a higher amount of soil.

More about winter storage in the next video coming up in a week from now, at the Bonsai Video Studio.



Tokonoma in the garden

On request I here show how the Tokonoma in my bonsai garden was established. It was built during the summer 2016.

The raw Tokonoma at its first stage.

I did not do a sketch first, so no drawings and precise measures are available. The inner space is a bit larger than a tatami mat, 190 X 80 cm (75 X 31 inch.) The area in my Tokonoma covers approximately 200 X 90cm (79 X 35 inch). I am considering adding another small display area  at the side, having a space for a simple display of a grass, Suiseki or a single tree.

The height of the table area is 70 cm (27,5 inch.). Poles are set in concrete, so they are not having any soil contact. They are treated with an outdoor preserving paint first. The main pole with movement is from a garden tree (Beech).

The placement of the Tokonoma is central in the bonsai garden when guests arrives.

The roof is made of wooden planks overlapping. Back and side wall is wooden boards painted with several layers of protecting outdoor painting so it will last and withstand the weather. The side wall has an open window cut out, decorated with bamboo.

All resembling the spirit and mood of an original indoor Tokonoma.

Tokonoma used all year

I use it most of the year, for both bonsai and simple Suiseki displays. Tokonomas do not have to follow any strict measures and comes in different sizes, depending on the room they are in.

An outdoor Tokonoma like this, is probably not seen before (as far as I know). But I wanted this to add the right atmosphere in my bonsai garden, without having a large building.

Below a gallery of pictures with the bonsai garden Tokonoma for inspiration.

The small wonders of Japanese maples

Maybe it is because of the size of the tree. Maybe the size of the leaves. The wonders of the Japanese maples in Shohin bonsai always amaze me more than bigger amount of colored leafs. The same with the tiny leafs of the Cotoneaster microphylla.

I have always admired the simplicity in bonsai. Especially in the world of the smallest trees. As a headline of my now sold out book says, Majesty in Miniature. This is so true for this special branch of bonsai, focusing on the seasonal changes.

Cotoneaster microphylla.


Maybe I appreciate the small amount of delicate leafs more, because they seems more fragile and adds a feeling of not lasting long. We just have to enjoy as long as they are present. It can be over in a few days. When chlorophyll (the green pigment that helps taking up light for photosynthesis)  draws back into the stems, and shed the leaves. Controlled by shorter days and dropping temperatures. Making a small magic happen, and preparing trees for winter.

Japanese maple.

European Yew

Or English yew. Goes under both names. There is only one latin name though. Taxus baccata. This specimen is a headline story in this months seasonal bonsai report from the Shohin Bonsai Europe garden. Also detailed explanation of English yew, pinching and distributing energy to the correct areas of a tree, is part of the 27:30 long video. Ready for subscribing members now. 

In the Q&A video this time, a question about pruning and controlling growth on Lonicera nitida is answered.

Bonsai blog in Magazine

The bonsai and garden on its way to a Magazine.

Blogs featured

Yesterday journalist and Photographer Julie Vöge entered the garden. To do a reportage on my garden and bonsai blogs.

Beside the bonsai blog your read here, I also have a Danish garden blog (only in Danish), and both will be part of the story.

I have to find something to do in the time I am waiting for the printed Magazine Bolius. It will be out next spring. I’ll better go back and do some bonsai in between. 😀

Bonsai artist portrait

Recently I had a visit of a good friend and photographer colleague. Now we are at it, my background is that I in my youth was examined as a gardener (greenhouse) but soon began a career as photographer and video journalist. Along with that I had a growing interest in bonsai, which has developed as it has during the years. The photography interest took the place for my gardener education, so I now have the benefit of both.

Morten Albek Photo: Nicolai Brix www.b-visuals.dk

The portraits are a favour for my friend, Photographer and filmmaker Nicolai Brix at B-Visuals who is doing a personal project, portraying people who has had a big impact at him during his time. Of course I feel very honoured to be such a person for a friend, and I feel lucky to have the chance of somebody else making their portrait of how they see me. I am very pleased with the result and it is a great job from a clever photographer. A big thanks to Nicolai Brix.

Morten Albek Photo: Nicolai Brix www.b-visuals.dk
Nicolai Brix at work. Photo: Morten Albek 🙂

Morning lights


The nice thing about being up early (if you can’t sleep anyway) is the quietness and light. I really enjoy taking a tour around the garden in the morning, viewing bonsai setting new growth rapidly at this time of the year.

New leaves at the old Crataegus Shohin bonsai..

At the moment the Deshojo maple leaves are looking great with their spring red colours. I got this tree as a gift, and as an ordinary small garden tree, from an old friend in bonsai. He passed away a few months ago and I will remember him with this tree in my collection, now having a life as a bonsai. It made a nice shadow play in the Tokonoma this early morning.


Bringing a cup of good coffee and chillin with my trees, is an absolutely favourite time of mine. The low morning light at the garden Tokonoma often happens to be very nice when the sun bothers to be around. New growth needs to be trimmed and wire has to be removed from winters work. Spring is busy in many ways, but remember to enjoy it and just look at your trees too. Thats whats it is all about in the end. Enjoying.

It is not relaxing all the time though. A new area expanding the bonsai garden is in progress these days. Heavy work. Will be good to be finished. Hopefully within May everything should be finished.

A few pictures from today at the bottom of this post after a small 1 min. video made for another bonsai website. Haven’t shown it to my wife 😉



Busy bonsai spring

Spring is always busy. Bonsai repotting, acquiring new pots and new material for future bonsai and so on. Probably one of the most enjoyable times of the year. Looking forward to the growing season.

Pinus mugo buds shows good growth in spring on a newly styled tree. Medium size.

This year the bonsai garden will be expanded a little and improved with new display tables. Both for the daily life and for the video production. New material for video demonstrations have been collected in autumn and this spring.

Styling of raw material have been a request, and therefore the next themes will concentrate on different examples of pre-styling and initial styling. Both shohin and medium-sized trees will be subject for this, and we will be doing some drastic pruning to start future material and show how, why and when.

Right now I do enjoy seeing how life awakens from bare trunks as light improves with longer days and warmer weather. Everything seems delayed this year because of an extended winter period. Now it changes rapidly and will set everything on fast mode it seems. Bonsai is still a slow art though. Enjoy spring. I will clean the benches and enjoy a sunny day.

new tree in collection. Waiting for first initial styling. Will be part of one of the next monthly video themes.


Spring has been strange recent years. Stranger than normal. Now we wait for the spring snow to disappear and warmer weather to enter the property. Come on please. 🙂

Pictures from a white garden that should be green.

Shohin in Focus

The cold days arrived a little late this year. Colours have been reluctant arriving here at the season end. But the deciduous Cotoneaster finally shows some colour now. The bonsai area is a bit better protected from colds, being placed away from open ground, where frost easier finds it way with cooler winds. Winter preparations …

Shohin in Focus Read More »

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