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 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. There is the potential for sharis to be added to the significant natural one by looking closely at the trunk and starting the process by identifying the live veins and initiating shari by the careful and modest removal of bark between the live veins, these sharis can be extended over a period of time. This is a really good bit of yew raw stock that we offer here 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 natural jins form a significant element in this example. The tree is genuinely shohin in size despite the main natural jin being a height of 30 cm. Branch spread is 20 cm. and trunk diam. at the base 3cm. The surface rootage or nebari measures 9cm. across at the widest. The root system was so bonsai like in nature that we were able to transplant it straight away into a oval plastic bonsai training pot 31x21x5cm. It is very unusual to find shohin size raw material of a significant age making this tree highly desirable. Hopefully it can be seen from the photos just how well it is growing. An outstanding project to be had in this tree.