Color shifts of the autumn keeps amazing me. Year after year I am flabbergasted by the beauty the leaves produces. Especially puzzling is when the same species changing colors weeks apart. Where some Japanese maples, Acer palmatum, are in yellow, red and orange clothings, others are still full green.
This is often related to varieties within the specie, that will develop different genetic codes when sown by seeds. When light decreases the tree goes toward shedding the leaves and the green will be broken down. Then the reddish, yellow and oranges hidden beneath will shine. Colors will be even more vivid in colder periods.
Patience with bonsai is a well known subject. Developing a Shohin bonsai through 14 years pays off when the plan is right. I always lowed the rough bark at the Cork bark elm, Ulmus parvifoliaCorticosa. It was mainly because of this feature I back in 2005 bought this small tree. Since then I carefully developed it.
Originally I just wanted to make a better ramification and add a more interesting feature to the tree. Changing it from a mass produced broom style tree, to a tree with its own characteristics.
Changing style and opinion
The first long time project was to thicken up some of the lower branches especially. To add the aged appearance of a tree with thick lower branches, tapering towards the top of the tree. As well as tapering at each branch. Always having in mind that a branch is thickest at the base and slowly tapers towards the end. Adding a natural appearance.
Correcting a fault
At the first stages I created the tree as informal upright tree. At that time a lower first branch was right and an important feature of the tree.
After some time I decided to change the tree into a more leaning positing, giving it more interest. Keeping the lower branch in the new position proved to be a mistake. I fell in love with the lower branch dropping down created at the earlier stages of the training. I always fancied this feature at another three. At a Juniperus chinensis where I developed the same key feature. Working very well at that specimen.
The fault at the Cork bark elm, is that it simply isn’t a realistic feature. A low branch beneath the canopy will be shaded out and die eventually. Maybe not at a bonsai where the light reaches the inside, but we have to keep in mind that it is resembling a large tree in nature. In nature such a branch will rarely survive. Therefore its doesnt work and I decided to remove it after some considerations.
Achieving a simplified and much more harmonic result. Shohin bonsai is, due to their small size, always presenting the tree in a more simplified and suggestive manner, than when designing larger bonsai. Still it is of importance to keep the natural large tree in mind when styling the bonsai.
Bonsai is an ongoing learning experience, and trees develops and changes constantly. Mostly for the better. 🙂
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.
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
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.
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.
It’s a great pleasure to announce that I have e new Shohin bonsai book on the desk soon. At the Trophy in Genk last year the publishers of the Esprit Bonsai asked me if we could do a reprint of my first book. Originally published by Stone Lantern in 2008. I was really not in the mood for a reprise. So many new things to tell, and is was though more than ten years ago it was published. There would be a need for some updates.
Shohin bonsai seasons
After one day of thinking I returned and asked if we could do a totally new book instead. And Michéle from Esprit Bonsai agreed immediately. Therefore I have used most of the time since then to write a lot of new material and some rewriting of the parts needed to be covered again.
The book follows the four seasons and in each chapter there is a lot of basic and advanced growing advices and examples. As well as each chapter finishes with explanations on displaying Shohin bonsai.
I will keep you updated as soon as preorders, prices and so on are in place. That will be soon. I look so much forward to see it in print.
The book will be released February 2020 and available at the Trophy too.
Larry Benjamin and his wife Rose, paid us a visit this summer. And Larry brought his video camera to make a record of the Kisetsu-en bonsai garden. It was a pleasure having you here Rose and Larry.
Larry has been so kind to let me share his video. Here is a small tour and some random stories about trees in early stages and some that have been with me for more than 20 years. Take a tour and enjoy Larrys video.
The tiniest of bonsai, the mame-bonsai, needs extra caution when pruning. Do not trim them regularly, because it will weaken the growth and health. Letting especially evergreens grow a little out of shape before trimming, making the new growth produce energy is essential.
Trimming is done by pruning and pinching. Pinch out the middle and develop the side shoots. Making a nice branch division and natural appearance.
Pruning further back is done by cutting above a sleeping bud or new side growth. Do not prune behind any green, because the branch will be lost. Secure all branches have approximately the same amount of foliage to secure the balance of energy throughout the tree.
This small Juniperus communisGreen Carpet is made from simple nursery stock. It measures only 7 cm / 2,75 inches from the lowest part to the top. Video and gallery below.
After pruning. Juniperus communis `Green Carpet`. Height 7 cm.
Always a treat to watch the new tender spring maple leafs open. Changing colour from reddish green to clearer green, showing subtle changes almost daily.
There can be some days or even weeks between pieces of the same specie starts the seasonal growth. Most is controlled by light and temperature. Or simply due to different locations within the garden, letting one tree being exposed for more light. Also the strength and health of the tree will have its influence on how strong and how early the new growth appears. The rest depends on the genetic code stored in each tree, which both will show differences in leaf size, and when the tree leafs out. All in all complex patterns influencing on spring growth.
The Japanese maples, Acer palmatum, normally shows the first signs of growth. Followed by Trident maples, Acer buergerianum, having a need of warmer temperatures to thrive.
Recently the Bonsai Focus magazine published the article of the Juniper chinensis styled for Bonsai Empire online Shohin course. I am really looking forward to develop this tree for the future. Normally I have a little resistance against these very uniform on a row developed bonsai imported in stacks. This one found it owns spirit by having some special features. Now I will move on to another one. Exiting to do some styling looking ahead and imagine the result as it will be (hopefully) within a few years.
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