Elm Raft Bonsai Progression Series

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As can be seen, the nebari is actually quite good; it is just a great pity that the trunk immediately above it looks so awkward.

someone else wanted to develop the tree as it was and put it up for sale

Spring and Summer 2006: Though the appearance of the tree had improved in a very short period of time, my heart wasn't in it anymore.

I felt that the only way to improve the tree would require work that make the tree look pretty ugly for two to three years. With so many other trees in development in my collection already, I decided I didn't want to take this on as a long term project. So in late Spring I thought I'd see if someone else wanted to develop the tree as it was and put it up for sale.

there was no interest in the tree and it remained unsold

Throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn, there was no interest in the tree and it remained unsold. So, when the leaves dropped in early November I decided to take the tree off the market and invest some more time in developing it for myself. OK, it looked a little strange, but surely there was something that could be done to improve it? The question was what?

I decided to turn the whole bonsai

I decided to turn the whole bonsai 3°-4° anti-clockwise so that the awkward left hand side of the base could rest along the soil surface. This section still lacks any nebari and this will need to be grafted in the future or possibly created by layering that part of the trunk. However, despite this 'fault', this angle, with the left hand side of the base 'grounded', seemed to be far more appropriate for the tree and I proceeded to rewire the the branches into new positions.

While I was happy to wire this tree in late Autumn as the UK has relatively mild winters, bending the very straight trunk in the centre of the raft would produce cracks that might be at risk from frost damage, so this last job was left until Spring 2007.

elm raft was repotted into a shallow rectangle made by Erin Pottery

Spring 2007: the elm raft was repotted into a shallow rectangle made by Erin Pottery and that straight middle trunk was wired. While I was happy with the position of this trunk relative to its neighbours, some subtle movement was required.

The 1"+ trunk was difficult to bend; eventually with the use of a branch bender and 4 lengths of 4mm wire I was able to put a very long and shallow 's' bend into it whilst not actually changing the angle it grow from the base.

What was previously a pretty awkward-looking tree has finally come alive as a bonsai with just the help of a slight repositioning!

Current Height: 20"/49cm

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