Shohin shuffle

Aside from the accent, the arrangement below is the same as shown at our local club show in May.  For kicks, I moved a few trees through the display.  The fun of shohin is the mix & match of trees, pots, accents, and stands, all within the non-existent rules, which we’ll tackle one day.

The accent is wrong, and none of the trees in the mini rack have a stand under them:

Swap the top jbp for the triple-trunk Shimpaku.  It works on top.  The scale is good, as is the stoic stance. If this was to become the top tree, I’d probably shorten the left-pointing Jin to keep any suggestion of movement going back to the right.  The trident maple over the rock isn’t a shohin, but the scale isn’t bad.  I don’t need 2 blue pots and 2 yellow pots in the display, however.  The root stand adds some texture and height variation to the display below:

Switching it up a bit more, adding a crabapple in a Roy pot in the photo below.  The overall movement is ok, but the display is a bit lackluster.  These trees would need to be part of a bigger shohin display, and the crab would need to pull more weight, visually, with flowers or fruit.  I repotted it this spring from a 1-gallon can down to a small pot.  While it’s healthy, it didn’t flower this seeing.

Swap the outside trident maple for a Chinese elm.  Both work well there, I think.  I’m kinda liking the ROR as part of the composition. Even though it’s taller than 8″, the scale works.

The following arrangement works too, but a few things bother me.  First, the maple and it’s accent really move to the right in this shot.  The maple should “point” back to the display.  The Shimpaku really doesn’t feel right under the pine.  In the mountains, junipers usually live higher than pines.  Part of shohin display is to suggest the natural occurrence of trees; pines and junipers higher in the display, fruiting and flowering below, deciduous at ground-level, and the accent/ground cover at the lowest spot.  I do like the maple as the outside tree, suggesting a lowland stand of trees in a golden meadow.

With that in mind, swap the accent for a pool stone.  This works.  Nothing flashy; a painted pot and something with berries would help, but this is a starter set!

Just for kicks, the Chinese elm at left.  Notice how it takes the eye out of the display?

Since I’m shuffling things around, how about a virt with a 7-point display?


That could work.  The Chinese elm pot could be a bit more exciting?  How about a 5-color Gekkou?


Maybe a brown pot for the pine?  A Wajaku:


Guess I need to talk to David Knittle about a box display and Matthew about some pots.  Glad my wife doesn’t read this stuff!

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Shohin Critique by Kathy Shaner

Kathy judged the ABS, and my friend and ABS member Jim Cook was kind enough to video the critique of this 5-point shohin display. Moral of the story..need a bigger box stand!

Here are close-ups of the trees.


Corkbark JBP, ‘Hachi-Gen’ in a Shibakatsu pot:


6-tree Japanese Maple clump in an Ikkou pot:


Corkbark Elm in a Koyo pot:


Triple-trunk shimpaku juniper in a Shinobu pot: