June 2016 Shohin Workgroup

The BC Bonsai Society offers a few different bonsai workgroups which focus on particular bonsai topics. One such workgroup is for Shohin-Bonsai which are up to 8 inches high. Shohin have the appeal of being small, and offer the challenge of achieving a beautiful and natural design in a much smaller tree.

Starting out with a Japanese maple that was reduced from 4 trunks to 2, leaving a set of trunks that complimented one another with a narrow fork where they met, a difference in size and similar trunk lines.

The next Shohin material was an azalea with a nice form, given that it only had two trunks instead of the typical, and often challenging, whorl of multiple trunks found in nursery trees. The roots were inspected first, then it was simplified down to what was needed for a Shohin design.

Tak continued his instruction and hands on assistance with a boxwood that had its roots and height reduced significantly. Next came branch selection and finally wire to produce what will be a great specimen.

After the boxwood came an Osmanthus with a very thick trunk. It was pruned back to improve the design and the criss-crossed and obtrusive roots were removed. The trunk on this tree makes it a very powerful Shohin.

There was also a rather uncommon informal upright Ginko at the workgroup, which was thinned, wired and planted at a different angle

Next there was a shohin, sinuous raft, cotonea aster. Tak assistance in reworking the branch placement so that the flow of the design was in the direction of the trunk was an important change for the enhancement of this bonsai.

There were about 6 pine trees at the work group which make great material for shohin-bonsai. Many of the trees had their long sacrifice leaders removed, which were in place originally to thicken the trunks to make powerful shohin. In some cases the strong leaders were beginning to weaken the lower branches and Tak suggested that the easiest way to maintain the vigor of lower branches in this situation, is to plant the tree in the ground.

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