Shohin Bonsai has gone mobile!

Morten Albek, the Shohin Bonsai master has just launched the first ever Shohin Bonsai application on Android. 

So what does the application offer?

You get access to the Shohin Blog with useful information on guiding you on developing and creating Shohin Bonsai, the Shohin gallery with some beautiful trees that have been created by Morten, access to Mortens personal blog and Mortens studio.

Why are mobile apps so handy?

Your out in your greenhouse and get stuck on a method and what to do next. You reach for the mobile and get a visual or text reminder on what you can do. Very straight forward.

Check out the application yourself and tell us what you think.

To find the application go to the Android marketplace by clicking here or scan the QR code on the left.shohin qr code






What is Penjing

Penjing gets its name from the Chinese word penzai which means tray plant. This art is also known in other terms such as potted landscapes, tray landscapes and potted scenery. It is an age old Chinese craft of growing miniature trees and plants. By skilled pruning these trees are then shaped to depict landscapes and beautiful scenery.

Penjing has been there for thousands of years much before the advent of Japanese Bonsai. It is divided in to three broad categories.

  • The first category is Tree Penjing (also known as Shumu), which is very similar to the Japanese Bonsai and depicts images of trees.
  • The second is Landscape Penjing (also known as Shansui) depicts distant landscapes of mountains using trees and rocks.
  • The third category is Water and Land Penjing, where trees, water and rocks are used to recreate a natural landscape.

The history of Penjing is a mix of myth and facts. Penjing was invented by Buddhist monks travelling from India. In fact a legend even says that Daoist persons possessed power to shrink landscapes and seal it in a vessel. The very first literature on Penjing was a scroll which was written 1200 years ago. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), the practice of Penjing art, was at its peak. Also many scrolls and Penjing manuals were found during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911 AD). The container which holds the tree is called pen (an earthen dish with a foot) and its origins can be traced to the Yangshao culture.
Many cultural and religious ideas have been brought from China to Japan. And it is widely believed that travelling Buddhist monks introduced the art of miniature plants to the Japanese people. So in a way Penjing gave birth to Bonsai. For many years, this art was known as hachi-no-ki (meaning tree in pot) in Japan. Only during the 19th century the word Bonsai was used in the famous Bonsai centre of “Azakusa Park”. Though the Chinese found the art of growing miniature plants it was the Japanese who spread this to the rest of the world.
The initial trees used for Penjing were age old, got from the wild and full of twists and knots and were considered sacred and believed to possess special energies. Later even younger plants were used but even to them special horticultural techniques were employed to increase the age.
The Penjing art is said to be influenced by the principles of Taoism and tries to depict natural beauty through contrasts. It specifically depends on the popular theory of Yin and Yang (two opposing yet complementary forces). The Chinese artists try to capture in Penjing the contrasting variations inherent in nature like upright and curved, dense and sparse etc. Initially the Chinese considered Penjing as an art of the scholar. The Penjing was believed to depict the taste, emotion and education of the creator. Penjing tries to recapture the spirit and moods of natural landscapes.

Since Penjing is practiced in China from time unknown there are various regional styles and schools. These styles vary based on climatic conditions, trees availability and appearance and regional practices. Also the style is dependent on the artist’s skill, philosophy and education.

The northern Yangzhou style in Penjing uses neat, distinctive foliage layers. The Guangdong style is known for its natural appeal. The Sichuan style is simple and well-knit. The Sichuan style is known for its flowering curves and upward spirals. The Liaoning style uses petrified wood and depicts steep mountain sceneries. The Shandong style uses tortoise vein rock and green Laoshan rock. The Shanghai style is based on traditional Chinese painting and this style gave birth to Bonsai. In the Beijing style the branches are horizontal and the crowns of the trees resemble a folding fan. The Zhejiang style is a little contemporary. It is inspired by the Shanghai style but with foliage shaped into, distinctly shaped layers.

You cannot find any classical Chinese garden without Penjing. In fact these are considered as a three dimensional poetry. The artistic value in Penjing is equivalent to poetry, painting and garden art. This art is in fact an innovation in gardening and uses miniature plants to portray landscapes. In fact it is beautiful tribute to mother nature and an excellent example for the Chinese artistic skills.


penjing-bookAnyone interested in reading more about Penjing should take a look at the forthcoming book by the Penjing master Zhao Qingquan. Penjing, The Chinese art of Bonsai. (A Pictorial Exploration of Its History, Aesthetics, Styles and Preservation)

This book is due to be released in April 2012 and will be published by Shanghai Press (ISBN-13 9781602200098)

Satsuki Flower Trophy, France

Initiated by Jerome Hay, President of Satsuki Flower and organized with the support of the FFB and kyookaï, this unique event in France aims to reveal to the public, amateurs and professionals, the most beautiful Satsuki in Europe. Nearly a hundred satsuki will be displayed. Through this initiative, we want to support the work of the various federations and also anonymous persons giving them the opportunity to have their Satsuki come to public attention.

The event will be held at 

Le Jardin du levant
St Germain du Pinel, Brittany, France on May 19′ and 20′ 2012.

During this first, important personalities are expected such as Master Hiromi Tsukada, who will honor us with his presence. Applicants wishing to participate at the Satsuki Flower Trophy 2012 can register for free until April 15th, 2012. 


Completely free to enter, participation in the contest will also allow three people to be rewarded by a grand jury composed of members of the FFB, professionals and personalities from the world of bonsai such as Master Hiromi Tsukada.

General class (three honors)

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  • 1st Prize: € 500 euros gift voucher and a trophy,
  • 2nd Prize: € 300 gift voucher,
  • 3rd Prize: € 200 gift voucher.


In addition, all satsuki will appear in the book of the event with the picture and the name of its owner.


Professional category

In the category dedicated to bonsai professionals, three trees will be distinguished, no price, nor trophy, but the professional acknowledgment and reputation of the event.
After the event, all the Satsuki presented will be displayed on the Satsuki Flower Trophy website in a virtual gallery, with free access, to serve as an efficient link between amateurs, professionals and the public.


Event Information:

Badge: 2 badges will be provided to each selected participant

Opening hours for the public:
Saturday 19th of May: from 9.30am to 6.30pm
Sunday 20th of May: from 9.30am to 6pm

Installation opening hours:
Friday 18th of May: from 2pm to 8pm
Saturday 19th of May : from 6am to 9am

Packing hours:
Sunday 20th of May : from 6pm

With Highway N157 (E50) : Paris-Rennes, “Piquet” exit, in the direction of La Guerche de
Bretagne (Latitude : 48.002253 & Longitude : -1.1548890000000256)

Hotel Le Cheval Blanc- 1 rue d’Anjou – 35370 Argentré-du-Plessis – Tel: 00
Citôtel Le Petit Billot 5a Place Du General Leclerc, 35500 Vitré- Tel: 0033 2 99 75 02 10
Balladins Vitré / Erbrée – Tel: 0033 2 99 49 49 99

Visitors € 5 : exhibition, conferences and demonstrations (for spectators).
Workshops: €90 per day, € 150 for 2 days with Master Hiromi Tsukada (reservations required)
Free for children under 18
Half price: € 3 for FFB members on presentation of your member card
Free entrance for: The park, the Garden and the Exhibitors Village.

Hay Jérôme
SARL Le jardin du levant – Les Haies – 35370 St Germain du Pinel – France
Tel : 00 33 2 99 96 69 51 / e-mail : [email protected]
All the information is available on the website :


10 Bonsai Tips for American Moms

Most of the time, the first bonsai most people buy is chosen at random on an impulse buy, usually the most reasonably priced.  Most people also learn the hard way that it turned out to be not so inexpensive if it didn’t make it past its first month.


  1. Buy your first bonsai at a merchant who specializes in the cultivation of bonsai (a bonsai nursery). This way, you can be sure that the tree has received proper care before you become its owner.
  2. Understand that a tree is not necessarily a bonsai just because it is in a pot. If you buy a preformed bonsai, make sure it meets the quality criteria of a bonsai cultivation.
  3. The more perfect the bonsai, the more it will cost. Many consider bonsai to be works of art, and this is reflected in the price. It takes many years of careful culture to attain a mature bonsai, so don’t think you will get one for $10 or so.
  4. Look for healthy exposed roots and make sure the tree is well rooted in its pot. You should not be able to move the tree from side to side; the roots should hold it in place firmly. The roots system of a bonsai is very important.
  5. Make sure the trunk of the tree is tapered, wider at the bottom than at the top. The trunk should also not demonstrate too many scars. (Wires are used to shape the tree, but they should be used carefully so as not to ruin the asthetics.)
  6. Look for branches that are evenly distributed around the trunk. The largest branches should be on the bottom, decreasing in size the higher up they are. There should be few to no branches for the first third of the trunk.
  7. Make sure the foliage is dense and healthy looking. The foliage is generally a good indicator of the health of the tree.
  8. The older a bonsai is, the more expensive it will be. (The oldest bonsai in the world is about 600 years old and worth approximately half a million dollars.)
  9. The look of the pot must be consistent with the tree for best aesthetics. Generally, conifers are placed in terracotta pots and deciduous trees are put in glazed pots.
  10. Choose a species that suits your environment. Tropical species require a temperature above 60 ° F all year. However, they do not require a rest period during the winter and can therefore be easier to keep indoors in winter. Hardy and semi hardy species need a rest period each year so they can go dormant. For this, they need to be below 55 ° F for two months of the year.

Don’t expect your bonsai to survive for 600 years, but if you follow these tips and you will enjoy your bonsai for many years to come.

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