Bjorn Bjorholm redesigns a mugo pine giving it a more dynamic feel.

Text and photography: Farrand Bloch


Seen on You Tube

We finally managed to get hold of Bjorn Bjorholm to do a special demo for us. During the Bonsai Generation event held at the end of March at Michael Tran's Minoru Bonsai in Germany, I met Bjorn for the first time and discovered that he is, indeed, huge. Tall and very gentle, I have admired his refined work through his many You Tube videos. Now I had the chance to see him work live.

Into bonsai since he was 13 years old, Bjorn has been a full time apprentice since 2008 with Keiichi Fujikawa at Kouka-en nursery in Osaka. His bonsai designs have won awards at the Taikan-ten. Info:


More dynamism for the mugo . . .

'The mugo pine shown here is already a very pleasing tree, says Bjorn. 'It has good movement in the trunk and well developed foliage. However, with bonsai you want to show off the best parts of the tree, especially when it's from collected material like this. A tree should tell a certain story and it therefore needs to be adjusted, because as it looks now it's just a bit dull.

'You can acquire more interest from the tree by raising it and turning it to show a better side of the deadwood. By tilting the base it looks far thicker. A downside to selecting this as the front is that the base looks a little like a pigeon's breast, but in bonsai you need to compromise a bit. The dull S-shape movement has been replaced by one that is more interesting.'

Beautiful curvature that needs to be exposed.  Pinus mugo. Height: 78 cm / 30¾". The original position shown here is quite dull

The new front showing more of the shari

Preparing the tree

Before any work is done I remove the old needles

Cutting out some branches was necessary as they were heavily forked. When searching for unnecessary branches to remove I select heavy ones like this which come from the top of a horizontal branch. I could use it by twisting it down, but there are better ones below so I will remove it.


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