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Japanese garden

Private Japanese bonsai collections

Private Japanese bonsai collections may not look like how you expect them to look like. Always we watch photos showing great bonsai at Japanese exhibitions, and from professional nurseries. I think many enthusiasts have a belief that all bonsai in Japan are that great. They are not.

Private bonsai collection in Matsuyama.

The level of bonsai

Walking the streets of Japan exposes ordinary enthusiasts collections being far more average than one might think. Why is that important to tell? Because it is important to know that the small bonsai hobbyist at home is not that far behind the Japanese hobbyist, that doesn’t have her/his trees taken care of at a pro nursery. Or do not have the money to spend at expensive material.

Bonsai have value at all levels. We seek, of course, to do the best possible and strive for excellence. The enthusiast who just wants to spend time and joy on their bonsai, and do not have the money for expensive trees, probably have the same joy as the one who invests in prestige and prices.

Private bonsai in front of a house, along a small river in Hiroshima.

The money

I have always enjoyed bringing up bonsai from good, but not expensive material. I find great pleasure in developing trees from quality material I find in nurseries. Or buying less expensive pre-bonsai, and taking them the next steps. It takes a lot of time of course, but the journey and fun doing it, makes it worthwhile.

Bonsai at the entrance to a house in Matsuyama.

Would I throw in money and buy expensive trees if I could? Of course. But I may not have the same relationship with my trees, lacking the history and satisfaction of doing the job myself. It is great pleasure to walk in the bonsai garden, knowing the history and development of every tree.

Below a gallery showing ordinary bonsai seen of the streets of Japan.






15 years with shohin bonsai

This year the Shohin Bonsai Europe website has been online for 15 years. Worth a small celebration I think, and an excellent excuse for a glass of wine on a Sunday evening. In the start the website was made to spread the knowledge of shohin bonsai when little appreciation and information was present. Today this has changed a lot and shohin bonsai is just growing in popularity day by day. Same is the support of the website and I enjoy continuing the work. Now with the online Bonsai Video Studio added. Teaching bonsai online with video tutorials.

Shohin bonsai is still the main theme, blended with medium bonsai. The beauty of bonsai is not limited to one special category for me. I enjoy the art in different aspects, but my favourites will always be the smallest ones.

Mame-bonsai Cotoneaster in autumn clothes. Morten Albek, Shohin-bonsai Europe garden.

The bonsai garden is being rebuild in spring to take in more space for trees, and room for the video production. It is a feast to live a life with bonsai.

New video is online for subscribers to the Bonsai Video Studio by the way. Sign up if you want to watch and see more when new videos are published every month.

Below a small gallery of shohin and larger bonsai from Japan. Have a nice and peaceful weekend. Now just waiting for spring one month away.


Maple colors

My very good friend Johnny Eslykke send me these photos from his garden, showing the beauty of the autumn/fall season. Johnny is a long time bonsai enthusiast and was the one who got me into bonsai many years ago. He may be the one in Denmark who has the best knowledge and experience with bonsai. He might be able to get a chair to grow if he sticks it in the ground, because his sense for growing trees is simple great. As a byline I can mention he also have a great Japanese garden. Today it is the colours from Johnnys garden and bonsai tree.

Photos: Johnny Eslykke

Autumn arrives a little late

It has been an unusual hot start on this years autumn season. Finally the colder weather has found its way and nature do as nature must do. Leaves slowly changes their colours, and begins preparation for winter.

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