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 a significant shari associated with the jins at the top of the trunk. There is the potential for more sharis to be created 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 and create an apex. The natural jins form a significant element in this example. The tree is just about shohin in size with a height of 30cm. which may be lowered as the styling proceeds. Branch spread is 40cm. and trunk diam. at the base 3cm. The surface rootage or nebari measures 8cm. 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 25x19x8cm. Hopefully it can be seen from the photos just how well it is growing. An outstanding project to be had in this tree.