European yew, Taxus baccata, is one of our classic coniferous bonsai subjects.
It has great characteristics for bonsai and being native is very hardy and easy to grow. It responds well to living in a pot and all other bonsai techniques. It is also probably the UK’s old living tree species, the years of the most venerable examples being measured in the the thousands rather than the hundreds .As a bonsai the species will typically be created using three main elements, deadwood features using both branches and trunk, Jin and shari, prominent live veins and the contrasting green of the foliage areas. The extent to which you follow this recipe is, of course, down to your own personal preference.
This example of yamadori [ wild collected ] exhibits all the natural characteristics that cannot be found in nursery or garden type of material. Natural deadwood by way of jins, mature lower branches , interesting trunk movement and tight foliage. These bits of raw material are collected as dense bushes of browsed foliage. All we have done to start the tree on a bonsai path is to eliminated enough surplus branching to be able to see into the tree and gauge it’s potential and decide upon a rough direction. We have also highlighted the potential sharis by looking closely at the trunk and starting the process. On one side of the trunk at the base is a natural shari that is as yet undisturbed. This is one of the best bits of yew raw stock that we have been able to offer and there is plenty of interesting and rewarding work to be carried out especially in the upper part of the tree where much is still to do to reveal structure. The tree is chuhin in size with a height of 60 cm. Branch spread is 54 cm. and trunk diam. at the base 8 cm. The root system was so bonsai like in nature that we were able to transplant it straight away into a bonsai pot, a Chinese round ceramic 36×7 cm. An outstanding project to be had in this tree.