The Goulburn Bonsai Society of which I am a member had the opportunity to dig a number of English Elm in August 2006, and this tree was dug during that excursion. As the potential bonsai had a very good root system I planted it straight into a bonsai training pot, and then let it recover.
The area that the Elm was growing in was a cattle paddock and over time the stock had pushed on small trees, walked on small trees and mostly just given a large number of these trees some character that you simply cannot get from nursery grown trees. It had been broken off at the top and had a large Shari as a prominent feature. It grew so well that in January 2007 I began work on it.
The above photo shows the tree in its training pot and with a chalk mark where I intended to extend the Shari.
I enlarged the natural Shari and then continued the Shari the entire length of the trunk. Some trimming and the tree was set aside to recover.
In August 2009 I re-potted the Elm into a pot much more befitting its stature and I thought it really gave the Elm a boost.
The leaf size was beginning to reduce and the Shari was starting to become quite natural in the way it looked.
In October 2010 it was shown for the first time at the local exhibition and I was quite pleased with the look. The two dimensional image does not really show it off as it really looks so I need to do some work on that aspect.
In the winter of 2011 I decided that a new pot was in order.
The new pot selected was a Pat Kennedy pot that matched the texture of the bark and also the colour of the bark.
I think the new pot lightens the base of this bonsai and gives it a more refined look.
By November 2011 the Elm was in full leaf so it was time to almost completely defoliate it.
A dramatic change but these Elms are very hardy and respond well to bonsai techniques and it wasn’t long before the Elm was back in full leaf.
In leafless look of winter shows the structure of this tree and its improved ramification.
In July and August this tree was bare but in just a week or two the leaves have opened and the tree is in need of a trim already.
A couple of weeks later and with a trim the tree is looking much more presentable.
This bonsai will continue to grow and mature but for just a few years under bonsai cultivation it is starting to look as I had envisaged it when it was first dug from the paddock.