#Shohin #CorkbarkElm #Bonsai Fresh repot was due. Had this pot for 4yrs, just fits this little tree perfectly. Love the pot and I love the combination. #bonsaipot #bonsaiart #BonsaiWales

The Final Countdown

British Shohin Bonsai

Well folks, it’s the final countdown.  Spirit of Shohin 2016 is a mere week away from us.

In case you’ve been on a lunar mission or stuck in a traffic jam (I’m told on the M25 that’s pretty much the same thing) for the last few months, here is a quick resumé:

Spirit of Shohin is the flagship exhibition of British Shohin Bonsai – formerly the British Shohin Association.  Continuing the tradition of a two-yearly show, this year’s exciting event  is being held in the grounds of the prestigious RHS gardens at Wisley, Surrey.

This premier event will bring together some three dozen of the top shohin trees in the UK and Europe in a two-day show over the weekend of Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April.

The show will be judged by a panel of experts including rising young star Taiga Urushibata who will also be hosting…

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Hershey Gardens Bonsai Exhibit 2015 – Susquehanna Bonsai Club

Susquehanna Bonsai Club

The 2015 Susquehanna Bonsai Club annual exhibit at Hershey Gardens.


(click on first image to enlarge and scroll through gallery)


(click on first image to enlarge and scroll through gallery)

Once again the Gardens enjoyed a successful exhibit, with over 100 more visitors than in 2014 casting their ballot for their favorite tree. Join us at a future meeting where we will present Carl, Jim and Bob with their awards. A hearty Thank you to all of the SBC members who exhibited trees, managed the care and feeding, set up and took down the exhibit, and shared their weekends working and teaching the public about bonsai. We couldn’t have done it without you! 

Roxanne Kamin

Thanks for reading 🙂

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2016 Philippine/BCI Convention– Part 4 (Final)

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


The next two days were filled with demonstrations by bonsai artists from China, Taiwan and the United States. Additionally, two stone lectures were presented by authorities from China and the United States. Photos of all the demos were not taken. I was kind of preoccupied with my missing suitcase containing tools which only arrived six days late and two hours before my program. There was a back up plan, of course, I’m a professional bonsai artist/educator and the show must go on. It was much easier, of course with my own tools.


Shinichi Nakajima from Japan worked on a large size Podocarpus and did a great job resulting in a stunning bonsai with excellent potential. It’s important to realize that most Japanese bonsai artists do not have much experience working on “nursery grown plants” or untrained plants. This is not necessary in Japan as they will simply work on a…

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An Early Spring Visit To Omiya Bonsai Village

Valavanis Bonsai Blog




On the way home from Manila I planned a short visit to Japan. It’s been 46 years since I’ve seen early spring in Omiya Bonsai Village. There is no way I could simply travel through Tokyo’s Narita Airport and not get off the plane to see bonsai. But, because of flight problems with United, I got stuck in Guam for six hours. Since I was “cheated” out of six hours of studying bonsai, I decided to stay in Japan for an extra day. Not too painful, but I’ll pay for it because of a scheduled workshop, show meeting and two more workshops a few hours after my “anticipated” return home, but I’m not there yet…. so who knows what will happen.


The main activity in Omiya Bonsai Village is transplanting. A repotting area was set up in each garden. Loads of soil prepared for each species, and in three…

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Feeding garden birds – good or bad?

Hermanus Bird Club

Most people derive immense pleasure from watching birds devour food they have supplied. Feeding birds also has the undeniably positive spin-off that it may start many people on a life-long interest in birds.

But, in reality, is feeding birds doing them a favour or does it merely serve to gratify our own human pleasure?

This question is asked and dealt with in an article by Charles and Julia Botha which was first published in Africa Birds and Birding seven years ago, but recently re-published in adapted form in a number of South African magazines.

There are many overseas studies regarding the consequences of feeding birds, the authors state.

One concern raised by a research study is that regular bird feeding may create a population level that cannot be sustained by the natural food supply in the area. Thus birds are encouraged to settle where they cannot support themselves once feeding stops.

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Soil test

Nebari Bonsai

All things roughly equal, I decided to test the condition of the roots of these two Chinese Quinces; both 3-year-old cuttings, dug in March ’15, and severely headed back; both above and below. They’re both in roughly the same volume of soil, but here’s the difference:
White pot has soil that is bark, lava, turface, 1:1:2
Blue pot has soil that is lava and akadama, 1:2
Here is the one planted in akadama.


And here is the one planted in turface:

Let’s see how they do:

In October ’15, here are how the two grew…side by side all year long, same exposure, same feeding schedule, and no pruning. The akadama tree grew a full foot taller:

The big reveal was last week. To be honest, both root systems looked similar.


Turface mix:





Akadama mix:


I’d say the akadama roots looked a bit healthier but I’m definitely biased.

I’m also biased…

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