Kusamono and Shitakusa

New bonsai book. Shohin – Through the seasons.

The English and french version of the new book “Shohin – Through the Seasons” is now ready for preorders for the English and French language. The book is launched in February 2020.

It has been a great pleasure writing a new book, after my first Shohin – Majesty in miniature was sold out a long time ago.

Four chapters

The book has four main chapters, each dealing with the seasons; spring, summer, winter and autumn. Taking care of the trees, techniques and styling. Each chapter ends with the the display of the season, and how to display Shohin bonsai.

The book is now ready for pre orders in English and French language. 

Order your book today and save 30%

English edition can be ordered here: https://www.esprit-bonsai.com/A-18531-shohin-through-the-seasons.aspx 

French language – Language francaise: https://www.esprit-bonsai.com/A-18515-le-shohin-au-fil-des-saisons.aspx

 

Horsetail Kusamono

The Kusamono Dwarf Horsetail, Equisetum scirpoides, is a gift from a good bonsai friend. He didn’t remember the name, so I had to research a bit to find the correct name of it. I like the elegant structure with the tiny dark knees dividing each of the stems. Also it`s black, pointy cone is distinctive.

Dwarf Horsetail, Equisetum scirpoides.

Growing together

Placed in a pot by Eimei,Youzan Tokoname, Japan, underlines the elegant small plant. Actually a pot I found difficult to use, but now it shines with its new guest. Planted this spring, and developed nicely through the season. Dwarf Horsetail, needs a moist environment, and is therefore placed on top of a water tray, to keep humidity high.

Time will add a more established expression and age to the Kusamono. When the plant begins to fill the pot, it will look more aged and with a timeless feeling. As with bonsai age and harmony is important. Not achieved at day one.

Equisetum scirpoides, Dwarf Horsetail.

The pot

The pot I have had for some time, trying different plants in it. None with a good result so far. Not before now. Sometimes it is about trying different solutions, and some day it turns out just right.

The pot was bought only because I really liked it. Not because I had any plans with a tree or accent to go in it. So we do. Get lost in the beauty, finding out later, that there was no idea at the moment the money were spent. Now I am just glad I did it.

Tokonoma display and workshop

At my studio we had a nice little workshop before the holiday starts. Ulf and Michael brought along some material to work at, and we had a very good concentrated workshop, almost forgetting talking in long periods. That´s how you recognise concentrated dedicated people, just working quiet.

At today’s Tokonoma display I set up a needle juniper (Tanuki style) I have been working on since 2003. It have come along nicely, and now I think I have to add some open spaces in the dense canopy. A task for the up coming holiday season leaving a little more time for this sort of work.

The accent planting is a mixture of a grass planting and cloves just flowering right now. At the scroll a summer theme with scrimps and mountains are suggested, making this summer display joyful I think.

Humidity and heat

Shohin bonsai may dry out faster than other bonsai because they simply have a very limited amount of soil. This small amount of soil will dry out because the tree uses water to cool down by leaf transpiration at hot days, and it will dry out because the surface may be large compared to pot depth at some trees too.

The soil structure of course also influence on the ability to keep a moist soil, were a well draining soil needs to be watered much more often to keep a fair amount of humidity throughout the day. The health of the tree is therefore relying on the factors of the weather, the soil structure, the depth of the pot, and the volume of the leaf mass transpiring water taken up by the roots.

Keeping trees healthy demands some considerations depending on the area where you grow your bonsai. Right now the summer is in front of us here in Denmark in Northern Europe. Already we have had a very warm period of sunny weather, demanding especially taken care of the smaller trees in the shohin collection. The water needing trees like Chinese Elm and Japanese maples e.g. needs to be kept from drying out totally. Conifers needs to slightly dry out between watering, so different tasks for different types of trees. A White Pine who prefers dryer conditions will be place at a more airy spot without avoiding humid surroundings.  By the way, it is worthy to notice that trees needing strong growth in general needs a strong draining soil, and needs more attention to avoid drying out too much on hot days, because it is a delicate balance not to harm the tree one way or the other. Moister soil structures holds back growth but also may harm a tree during rainy periods. One type of soil being right for one type of growth, can be harmful in other conditions than purposed. The solution is simple though. It is mostly a matter of watering correctly depending of the weather and the needs of the trees.

But the theme now is the heat, and therefore I have arranged some simple trays of clay were some trees are placed during these warm sunny days, having a small water basin beneath the bonsai pot . A few of these trees have had new moss surface decoration applied recently because they are been made ready for exhibition next weekend. The humidity trays will help keeping a moister climate just around the pot and tree, helping the moss kept green for this purpose. The water tray will help keeping a higher air humidity just around the tree, and depending on how high the tree is raised from the water surface the humidity will help the tree kept more healthy. Small effects but of value.

In a rainy period the tray is either removed or wood sticks are levelled higher to avoid water contact with the pot.

Shitakusa or bonsai accents magic

Accent plants for bonsai, or standing alone? One way or the other, the beauty of Shitakusa is not arguable. In a short time the Magical Bonsai Accents show is held in the UK, and I am pretty sure it will be amazing. Read more at http://magicalbonsaiaccents.wordpress.com/about/

Here one of my own to enjoy. Planted on a rock from Wales I received as a gift from highly respected bonsai artist Terry Foster.

Saxifraga juniperifolia

Kusamono / accents in early autumn

The accents starts to show the first colours of autumn. Especially the Sedum and Saxifraga species have their highlight of the season in autumn I find. Sedum floriferum ´Weihenstefaner Gold´ Sedum

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