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

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


Finally the newest Vlog 17. Watch it here 🙂


Bonsai garden tour with Larry on camera

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.

New year – new visions – new name

(Edited January 14). A new year is often followed by new visions. This will be true this year, although we do not make big changes just because of the New Year. We do it when it feels right. That is now. 🙂

Bonsai collection

Changing the expression of the bonsai activities. Most know only about the current teaching and preaching for Shohin-bonsai, build up during the last 15 years. The collection is expanding with larger bonsai, and these will be part of the Bonsai Video Studio lectures released.

Website name change to Kisetsu-en

Maybe you have noticed a slight name change of the website. Changed January 1st, to express the new direction with a more varied selection of bonsai used for teaching. Large and small. Not just small, because we think a lot of bonsai enthusiasts have a much more varied view on bonsai. Not just being interested in one kind of bonsai, but in many different sizes and expressions. We therefore want to accommodate the need of knowledge of a greater variation of bonsai. So more people can enjoy the well produced (so we are told and glad to hear) and educational videos produced.

Inspiring videos

We want to have our focus on that, and during this coming season introducing much new educational content. Showing carving with power tools (up next in the Bonsai Video Studio), arranging larger forest plantings and so much more to look forward too.

The name Kisetsu-en means the Garden of the changing seasons. Fitting with the spirit of the nursery, covering a wide range of trees. We hope you like it. Feel free to sign up, and benefit from the videos already in the library. Get instant access, when signing up. Price is only 13 USD a month. New video aimed to be published every Thursday.

Carving a larger Cherry laurel bonsai for the upcoming video at

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.

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.

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.

Happy autumn

bonsai video

Autumn, (and I do repeat myself year after year) is one of my favourites. When it gets colder here in Northern Europe, the colours of deciduous trees change. For now it is still warm, but this will slowly change. Deciduous trees change their leaf colors from the darker summer green tones to yellow, brown or red. Especially the Japanese maples are stunning in all their variations.


Stop feeding

At this time it is important  to stop feeding your bonsai. Feeding them now will stress new growth, and this new growth will be too weak to cope with the winter colds. It is time to do other jobs in the bonsai garden though. Checking wire applied in the summer or earlier. Ensuring that the summer growth does not overgrow the wire and make marks difficult to change.


Cleaning out any weeds or dead leaf at the soil surface, to secure no pests are hidden. More important, the removal of dead plant material are of big importance because fungus can be a present. Most actions of fungus are good actions. because fungus breaks down dead plant material and feed future trees with nutrients. But that is when it is happening in the ground, in the forest.

In the bonsai pot, fungus can attack weak branches and open wounds. Therefore it is advisable to remove what can cause this. And that is dead plant material. Fungus likes humidity and cooler weather, and just that is the features of autumn.

The good thing, is the wonderful colours at the bonsai. Looking forward to that part.

Follow the seasons

One of the elements in the monthly video updates at the BONSAI VIDEO STUDIO is the report from my garden. Following the changing seasons is one of the important parts of bonsai. What to to when, and the pleasure of getting in contact with nature all year. All 12 months will be covered in the Vlog, so you can enjoy following the garden and trees.


Give yourself (or a friend) a membership and enjoy the ongoing educational bonsai video tutorials.
Sign up and get full access immediately. Ask your questions about bonsai and get video answers.

Follow the four seasons of bonsai, and learn bonsai with high quality video content by international bonsai artist Morten Albek.

First month is a free trial membership.

We will be happy to have you as part of our community.  

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.

Styling a shohin Juniper

Next Monthly Theme at the videostudio will be a full styling demo with a pre-bonsai Juniperus chinensis

Every detail of the styling is covered in a more than 40 minutes video, covering every aspect of aesthetical, technical and growing issues associated with the styling. Watch the raw material turn into a beautiful future shohin bonsai. Released early June. Please enjoy the trailer – play below.


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