Behind the Shohin Course

Today the Shohin course at Bonsai Empire went live.

You find it right here:

Behind the production is a lot of work. And much thinking (believe it or not , laughing). It all started in India, after a talk with Oscar from Bonsai Empire, when we attended a large bonsai event there. We have talked about it before, and now it became a reality.

The purpose

The main purpose with such a course is of course to communicate the informations of Shohin bonsai the best possible way. But I also put a lot of effort into the visual part. The pictures have to be of interest, and sound must be professional too. I hope we succeeded doing a both informative and pleasing course, that will bring you the necessary skills and inspiration to do your own bonsai at home in your garden.

Inspiration is as important as exact lectures on how to do what and when. Without inspiring footage you might lose interest in the subject. I always looks for great pictures and inspiring bonsai garden pictures myself, as much as I look for information.

The idea behind

The basic idea behind the course is to bring you the knowledge of doing your own bonsai. I have grown Shohin bonsai for 20 years now. And my greatest pleasure is to bring a piece of simple material up to a professional stage. This can be done if you have a good eye for finding raw material at nurseries, and have the skills to bring them further. And a little time.

The good thing with Shohin bonsai, besides the beauty, is the time span to get success. It is a much shorter travel to do a premium Shohin tree than a large bonsai. It is fun too, using an hour trimming and adjusting a small tree, compared to the full days of work demanded by a large bonsai, doing the exact same. I try to transmit that part too in the course.

The focus is naturally much at handing over the required basic techniques and caretaking of Shohin bonsai. But also the aesthetical considerations are of great importance and covered within the course. Displaying and the importance of age as an example.

I hope you will enjoy. This is part one. In the summer 2019 an upgrade with advanced techniques will follow.

Get access now at and start watching. Thanks for your interest.

A final note: If you are already a paying member of Shohin Bonsai Europe, the subjects and video part is covered by your membership here. 

Gallery with screenshots.


VLOG 11 and the making of a Kusamono

Vlog 11. October shows the beginning signs of autumn where deciduous shifts from green to yellow, brown or red leaves.

Removing the wire from a bonsai in training, should not be made in one go, but in steps. Finally I arrange a Kusamono planting with dry tolerant grasses and plants. All included in the October edition of the Vlog at Duration: 29:38

Autumn mood

I simply love the autumn with all its colours and melancolic decay of leaves. Does it sound sad? Not at all. There is so much to enjoy, and still bonsai are showing their circle of life. Going towards dormancy just means that the trees takes a rest. Getting ready for next years growth.


The cooler air and freshness of autumn is wonderful. When it not storms and rain is changed in favour of sunshine. The season is not ending. It is just replaced with another period.

This is also a good time to arrange a Kusamono planting with drought tolerant specimens. Giving the plants time to settle before winter.

Slowest bonsai demo in the world?

The newest Vlog (just launched) may be the slowest and longest bonsai demo in the world.

Just started on a journey with a Potentilla fruticosa, and found it worthwhile to make a different approach to styling bonsai. Sharing the full process of every step made on a specific bonsai over time.

Often we see trees styled at conventions and in videos, and everything is a one-day work, and we never see the tree again. This demo will be different from anything else seen before. You will be able to watch a monthly update (with exception of a short dormancy break probably), watching every single styling change and technique done on this long termed project.

We will deal with all aspects of styling a deciduous tree following it through several seasons, – including failures and victories. Deciduous trees are almost newer styled at public demos. Simply because they demand long termed adjustments and cutting techniques a short time demonstration will not be able to show. Join the journey and follow from today.

Spring break bonsai video


Buds are bursting like crazy these days. New growth is breaking through and I am crazy busy producing new videos for our members. We will deal with the always popular issue:

How do I make a bonsai from raw material?

On demand the next episodes of the Monthly Theme will focus on right that. From May 1`st we start a new video series dealing with different sizes and aspects of this subject. Probably the most sought after information on video. I will take you through the process from the very raw material and its pre-training to the “finished” styling and aftercare. We will deal with hard cutting back of deciduous specimens, to the styling of conifers. All on different stages and different levels.

First video will be released May 1`st and once a month the next months we will deal with just that. Styling bonsai in different sizes and with different approaches. Step by step we will guide you through the process of designing bonsai, so you hopefully will feel confident doing this yourself.

Before that the monthly Vlog is on. This time from the bonsai garden, and a short visit at a workshop. Stay tuned for that in a few days.


Earlier I posted a video tutorial doing a Yamadori Scots Pine. It was a challenging transformation of a collected material. The good news is that it is coming along nicely and healthy with new buds. Not a single branch lost! I will talk about this in the next Vlog from April. Released in a few days.

If you are not a subscribing member yet, you can sign up  and be ready to watch the video and already launched material. Sign up now and be ready for the next ones, so you don’t miss an episode.

I will finish this post with pictures from a day that was spent with a small workshop group at a friend’s place.  🙂


Bonsai winter pruning

It is winter, and the bonsai season may seem a bit far ahead here in Northern Europe. But soon winter is over. We begin repotting and things starts to grow again.

Juniperus chinensis with frosty needles.

Winter time is also bonsai time. Styling trees are perfectly done during the dormant season. Especially evergreens can be wired and formed, and if protected from frosts some pruning will be fine for both conifers and deciduous. Although scars heal over better in the growing season the advantage of winter pruning is that the trees are less stressed when the sap flow is low and bleeding is at a minimum. Most important is to keep the trees protected from rain and free air where fungus might spread and infect open wounds. Therefore it is advisable to keep the trees in an unheated greenhouse or alike, and cover wounds with a cutting paste to close any possibilities for fungal attacks that will harm the tree.

Scots Pine collected in Sweden. First styling midd way status. Watch the full styling process in upcoming video midd January.

Next bonsai video on its way is the styling of a Swedish Yamadori Scots pine. It is styled in two steps, and the video shows the full process of the first initial styling. Available for both subscribers and nonsubscribers of the Bonsai Video Studio soon.

If you want to join and watch all videos available please sign up for a subscription and get new videos ongoing. Sign up here.





From trash to Shohin Bonsai

At a travel to Japan back in 2012 I stumbled upon a small Japanese pre-bonsai maple. It was placed awkward 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 midd 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, do 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 the small tree. I could see some potential, and it talked to me because of the nature I have around behaves like this. It was a struggle to be allowed to pay for it, because the owner she 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 limesulfur 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 in larger size.

Chuhin crabapple case story

In one of the recent posts I showed a medium sized Chuhin bonsai displayed in the garden Tokonoma. This is the 12 year story of the bonsai up til now. Early spring 2005 I got the tree, that was dug up from a garden. It was a leftover from a bonsai friend who couldn’t use …

Chuhin crabapple case story Read More »

Summer trimming new growth

June means a high level of new growth. Sometimes it is necessary to let trees grow more than normal before trimming, so the health of the tree is ensures. Watch the video where a Cork Bark Elm and an English Yew is trimmed.

VIDEO: Shohin bonsai introduction

In this first episode in a new video series, I explain some basics about Shohin Bonsai.

Shohin-bonsai VIDEO tutorials

New Shohin-bonsai VIDEO events and tutorials to be launched soon on YouTube. In June I will post the first in a series of shohin videos, where I explain case stories, pruning techniques, daily care and more with most focus on Shohin-bonsai. Most from my private garden, showing how I work with my private collection. Also the outdoor Tokonoma will be part of the videos, where I will explain how both Shohin and larger bonsai are displayed during the season. All episodes will be published here on the website too.



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