Shohin off my shohin

Well the nights are definitely getting lighter and the rise of a couple of degrees C in the rain and wind makes me feel that spring is just around the corner. Hah! Anyway, but seriously. The weather has actually been reasonably kind in this area and we have had only a handful of really cold days and nights over the winter. As a result, my trees are looking a lot less bedraggled and woebegone as they have done in previous winters. Because of work commitments I am unfortunately unable to go to the Swindon show this year but I am really looking forward to the Shohin UK event at the end of March. Organised by Mark and Ritta Cooper and Bob Bailey, this event should be a highlight of the UK bonsai year. And actually having been asked to put a display into the event is something extra special for me. I am under no illusions about being a great bonsai artist, indeed I don’t see myself as much more than a practitioner who has a lot to learn. But I have come on a fair bit in recent years and requests to put a display into such a prestigious show do wonders for reassuring me that I am well on track.

To ensure that I don’t let the side down, I used the wet and windy morning to start some real work on the trees I intend to use in my display. The relatively mild weather allows me to do more than I would at this time of year, and the trees being under cover in the glasshouse is an added bonus.

Today’s work was on my Black Pine which is the tree I tend to favour at the top of my rack display. It is a powerful tree – exactly what is called for in that dominant position. It pushed out a lot of new buds last year and these have grown on well. Some of the older shoots were getting quite leggy and the new growth will allow we to trim some of them off and bring the growth back in towards the trunk. A little bit of directional wiring and a clean out of the older needles the tree will be ready to roll at the show. Here it is after today’s minor trimming:

Half dressed

Half dressed

I have not yet decided which other trees will accompany the Black Pine on the rack. I have identified several possibles but a lot will depend on what looks best at the time. Possible include these:

Gardenia - although it is limping its way through the winter a bit

Gardenia – limping its way through the winter

An old favourite - my Ginkgo which may have its new pot by the time of the show

An old favourite – my Ginkgo which may have its new pot by the time of the show

I also have a Potentilla that I have been developing over the past couple of years and is perhaps now ready for inclusion. It needs a bit of carving to get it up to scratch though.

Potentilla 1

Potentilla 1

I also have a second, smaller potentilla that I used in the BSA show last year. At that point it looked like this:

Potentilla before

but I have subsequently removed the back branch to open out the nice twisty trunk a lot and it is now sporting a new pot. It is already popping out some buds so should be in good health by the time of the event. I would lose the heavy moss though.

Potentilla 1

Another contender, although perhaps not this year, is this Yew:



I would like to do some carving though before it goes to a show.

For the sixth tree, I will use either my trusty cascade White Pine as the sixth tree. Here it is at last year’s BSA Exhibition:


but at some point I would like to use this fella who is too big for the main rack I feel.

Azalea neagari

Azalea neagari

So many decisions. But it’s good to have the ability to choose.

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