British Shohin Bonsai exhibition at RHS Wisley Gardens


My Cascade Olive displayed with a Bronze Heron and Scroll by Sonia Stella

Last weekend I visited the British Shohin Bonsai exhibition at RHS Wisley Gardens in the South of England.

RHS Wisley is without doubt the BEST laid out gardens I have ever visited plus the fact that’s it’s HUGE and really required two days to take in all aspects of the garden.

The exhibition took place in a building within the gardens and was hosted by Sutton Bonsai society with workshops led by Taiga Urushibata (more on this in another post).

The quality of the show was OUTSTANDING, and a good collection of traders made the show a must visit event, and I was happy to take the journey south and accept the challenge that’s the M25.

I was invited to present a tree and did so with my cascade olive. NOT a shohin tree but the exhibition also had Kifu and Chuhin trees displayed.

The event was sponsored by Bonsai Plaza

Outstanding Exhibition at Wirral Bonsai Club UK

Today I was invited to be the judge it what has to be the most dynamic Bonsai club in the UK. The Wirral Bonsai Club goes from strength to strength, I visit this show every two years and I am always pleased at the level of excellence not only in the trees but in the whole presentation shown by the individual participants. The asked me if I would put their trees on my blog on my return to encourage folk to visit them tomorrow and Bank holiday Monday at Gordale Garden Centre on The Wirral. This is indeed the BEST club show in the UK I have every attended.

British Shohin Bonsai: A new beginning

I admire anyone who wants to drive the interest of bonsai onwards and upwards, and also to take in a new direction. Embracing online communication via social media, blogging etc. fully will reach a wider audience, reduce costs and bring immediacy to news and events. I understand that there are those who do not engage or simply do not have access; unfortunately this is there loss. For an organisation to thrive the best way of accessing its members must be addressed, the very fact that you are reading this indicates that you are NOT a Neo-Luddite.

shohin 3Here is the release from British Shohin Bonsai

Last Saturday saw the official “launch” of British Shohin Bonsai and interest in the group is already taking off well.

We have used “launch” in inverted commas as it is more a case of revamping of an older familiar face. BSB has arisen from the British Shohin Association which was the first and only Shohin and small sized bonsai society in the UK for nearly eight years. Sadly, as with many clubs and societies, the BSA was finding it difficult to get people to take on the administrative functions necessary to run an organisation.

But rather than let the momentum of the BSA fizzle out,  a group of members took it upon themselves to progress the group in a manner that involved an entirely new way of doing things.

shohin 1Accepting that a sizeably large number of people wish to source their bonsai knowledge and indulge their bonsai passion online, the BSB decided that they would relaunch using an internet presence as the main method of reaching the bonsai public. A new Facebook group has been established to front this process, along with a new website.

As with the BSA, the aim of the new group is to promote the smaller sizes of bonsai, and while the online presence allows us to this through discussion, we will also be retaining the best bits of the BSA – namely the Exhibition and the Journal. These, along with occasional workshops and demonstrations, will allow us to develop people’s practical skills.

The name change is simply because we felt that a slight change of  “branding” was needed. This is mostly to give due respect to the sterling work done by the officers of the previous incarnation. It is truly good that most of them are coming with us on our new journey and we hope that freeing them up from the shackles of a committee position will allow them more freedom.

shohin 2Although there is no formal membership for BSB, we will be introducing a Supporters set-up whereby in return for a small one-off donation, you get access to the Journals and reduced price entry to BSB events.

Shohin bonsai has certainly taken off in the past few years and the former BSA was instrumental in that happening. We hope to continue that momentum and to take smaller sized bonsai to even greater , erm… heights.


To keep up to date take a look here: The website or here: Their Facebook page (‘Like’ it too)




Creating a Shohin Taxus by cutting the tree in half

Finding a Shohin Yamadori Taxus that displays aged deadwood is very difficult, the solution is to either air layer or as shown here, reduce the height of the tree.

This lovely little 25cm tall Taxus had old deadwood that was weathered and full of character and the live vein well defined and after three years from collecting it had grown well and developed a strong root ball

In its present state it would NOT make a worthy bonsai as the bulk of the deadwood was at the top of the tree with a long straight narrow trunk away from the root ball. The solution was to dramatically reduce the size of the tree.

The live vein was easy to separate from the deadwood using a small branch splitter, this was used up to the point that I wished to saw through the bulk of deadwood. This deadwood was VERY hard indeed, I had to take great care when getting close to the live, one small jump and it would have severed it!

I put a wet tissue next to the inside of the vein and placed two 3mm copper wire struts the length of the vein, this was held in place with rubber tape (this will be removed once the tree is established)

The vein was then coiled close to the truck and the tree planted in an oversize pot to let the roots run. I did this work two months ago; the tree is thriving and growing well. No work on the foliage will take place until next year after the first flush of new growth has hardened off. The tree has been reduced from 25cm to 12cm more than half the original size.