How my trees have developed over the years

This part of my blog will show you the development progress of some of my trees over the period of their training.
I will update this section periodically, so make sure to check back often.

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Saturday, 10 April 2010

Chinese Elm

This was my second Bonsai, bought for £9.95 in 1994 (the first sadly died shortly after it was given to me as a present).  It was a typical mass produced  "Garden Centre Bonsai" that you will find in many Home Stores, Supermarkets and Garden Centres.  Having learned from my earlier mistake, I read a lot of books and signed up for some Beginners Bonsai Course at Greenwood Bonsai Studio and I managed to keep this one alive.

Having read more books and taken more advanced courses, I soon built up a stock of  "proper" Bonsai and realised that this little tree would never really be a contender.  So I decided to radically change this tree.
It was planted in a garden bed for 5 years and basically left to grow wild.  I chopped it back in the winter and kept it trimmed to a pyramid shape during the summer.  In year three, the roots were undercut to make lifting easier when the time came.  I finally lifted the tree in the winter of 2000 and planted it in a big stoneware pot to recover

The tree was now over 4 feet tall and had thrown up a sucker trunk from the roots.  In order to bring the trunk in to proportion for my planned design, I air layered the top half of the tree and got myself a free tree as a bonus.
The bottom part of the tree remained in the big pot and was wired for shape.  Branches were developed by wiring and pruning and the roots improved through ground layering techniques.

The tree was finally planted in to a round drum pot in 2009 and is a far way from the sad little tree that it started out as.  Development will continue to increase ramification and refine the root spread, which looks a bit artificial.  I will also need to consider a shallower pot to enhance the overall image.

1 comment:

  1. Could you do a bit of blurb explaining refinement a bit more mate?
    Watch your youtube vid which was very informative, but it still seems like a bit of a mystery.
    The things I'm not sure about are how to create branch structure closer to the trunk/main branches.
    In a nutshell, I've a got an Elm (first tree) and I have a lot of secondary branches, where the only growth is on the end of 2inch long secondary branches. If I chop them down, will it produce buds back down the branches or will I just end up with no foliage at all?
    It's well on the way following recovering from loosing all it's leaves due to drying out. Now very vigorous, but don't know how to start building good tight branch structure. It's the one topic none of the books I have got seem to want to go into in any detail.