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 has been created from garden collected material, possibly from the previous owner’s own garden. It features a pretty impressive trunk that has had a fair bit of carving done on it. Scope we think for a bit of refinement of that carving on some elements if so wished. Both jin, shari and sabamiki [ hollowing out of trunk ] is present which is typical of old yew and is therefore often repeated in bonsai examples. There is a full complement of primary branching whilst secondary branching and ramification are beginning to come. Certainly a bit more girth on the lower branches is to be desired but this will come with a bit of time as the image matures. That impressive trunk features fairly good buttressing and surface roots, good elements for a convincing bonsai image. The bonsai has a height of 67cm. and a spread of 58cm, The surface roots measure 30cm. across and the trunk diam. is 12cm. The pot is a plastic Mica bonsai training oval 44x32x11cm. A worthwhile project which is essential about growing and pruning to create density in the branch structure.