Monday, 5 August 2013

Windswept Taxus

In January 2011 I was fortunate enough to be invited to a coastal limestone scree hill in Northern England to collect Taxus baccata. I selected one promising chuhin sized tree and managed to collect it with a good portion of healthy root. Upon arriving home, a custom size wooden box was immediately made and the tree was potted in pure Danish pink litter with a little limestone chippings added.

Initially there was some die back, mainly in the long lower branch, but generally the tree recovered well. Here is the tree pictured in August 2011.

The tree survived its first Winter under a frost blanket and the following Spring I cut back the dead area in the first branch, and adjusted the planting angle slightly, while disturbing the roots as little as possible.

May 2012

July 2012, I accepted an invitation to visit Tony Tickle at his home where we met for the first time. We discussed styling options for the tree and it was a great opportunity to see some of Tony's fine Taxus and other excellent bonsai.

Tony & Myself with Tony's "Big Taxus"
Tony talked me into attending his infamous Burrs workshop, taking place in that November where we could perform the tree's first styling. Here is the tree in November (pre-Burrs).

Attending artists at Burrs were Terry Foster, Will Baddeley, Hans van Meer, Enrico Savini and of course, Tony Tickle. I worked closely with Enrico who had a similar vision for the tree as myself - a windswept form. I thinned and wired the branches before Enrico positioned them and then Enrico chalked out a shari for me to cut.

Enrico Savini at work

The Taxus at the end of Burrs workshop
In the Spring of 2013 the tree was repotted into its first (over-sized) bonsai pot. The root system was very healthy and packed with fibrous roots. The remaining mountain soil was combed from the roots and the tree was potted into a mixture of cat litter, Akadama and crushed pumice.
In the last few week I have done refinement work to the deadwood - now extending up into the apex. Below is the tree pictured today.
The tree is progressing well towards my goal. The virtual below gives an idea as to what direction I would like to head in the future.

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