One of the things I really enjoy doing is volunteering at the National Bonsai & Penjing Collection of Australia which is in Canberra.
Some time ago a new bonsai was on loan to the exhibition, an olive, and I was quite taken by the presentation the artist had given the bonsai. It was a shohin with a wide nabari and looked powerful and ancient, but retained the beauty of the olive as seen in the wild.
At home I had an olive that had similar characteristics and so I set out to create a bonsai not similar to the one in Canberra, but one that had my creative touch but also gave that look of power, but with some refined elegance.
The following photo is of the tree before I first potted it, and it was treated like most olive after digging, it had all the roots flat cut off. This tree was dug in South Australia and I swapped it for an English Elm I had dug locally. I think we both thought we got a good deal so everyone was happy.
I planted it into a training pot with a bonsai mix that really retained the moisture. In retrospect that was not a good decision as the development of the tree was compromised by being too wet, especially in the winter months. However an errant Eucalyptus seed made its home in the pot, and it did enjoy the moist conditions to such an extent that I needed to cut it back regularly to allow some sun onto the olive.
In December 2012 I decided it was time to get this tree into a more suitable bonsai mix, and also to give it a new pot, one more in keeping with the look I imagine for this tree.
I gave both trees a good trim and then I commenced carving of the Olive to give it some rugged texture and the look of an ancient tree clinging to survival.
The trunk is quite wide and I will restrict the height of the bonsai to accentuate the power of the bonsai.
On 28 January 2013 I potted it into a hand made, one-off pot by Australian potter Lorraine Simpson, and this pot is an integral part of the look that I am creating of ruggedness, but still with refined beauty.
I will continue to up-date this as the tree matures and I hope to show this in a few years as part of a shohin arrangement.
After a few years of growing it has developed, and now I only need about another four or five years and I might be able to display it.