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This Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) bonsai was originally collected in 2009 from a hedge growing in west London. Privet is commonly used as hedging material in domestic gardens in England and after a number of decades can produce a fairly substantial trunk. It was thought that the hedge had been planted 60-70 years previously as a boundary to the garden that it was growing in, when the house itself was built.
After bare-rooting the tree and hard pruning the roots and branches. It is always important to remove all of the groundsoil (in this case heavy clay) from the roots of deciduous and broadleaf tree when they are collected. As can be seen in the above image, Privet are a very strong and resilient species, they will successfully recover from collection with very few fine feeder roots. For more details of collecting Privet for bonsai, please see the article Collecting Privet for Bonsai
The same bonsai in 2015, after 6 years development. I was very pleased with this design, achieved in relatively short period of time.
However, as can happen with Privet, the live vein at the front of the tree (to the left of the uro/hollow) died back and the bark fell away leaving a blank wall of deadwood. This dying-back of a live vein had no negative impact on the health of the tree or any of its branches, the live vein was redundant as it did not support any of the remaining branches and simply dried out.
In early Jaunary 2017 I re-styled the Privet bonsai, primarily to add interest to the blank wall of deadwood at the front of the tree. This was followed by semi-defoliation of the leaves, detail pruning of the branches with an emphasis on branch taper rather than ramification, and detail wiring.
The bonsai seen from the front-left.
The deadwood has been stained, first with ash and then with a light coat of lime-sulphur to produce these grey tones. For further details of this technique, please see Lime-sulphur and Ash for Bonsai
Detail of the bonsai pot by Victor Harris of Erin Pottery.
Ligustrum ovalifolium/Privet Bonsai
Height 14"/34cm, 5"/12.5cm trunk diameter.