A likely story........

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A likely story........

Post  MKBonsai on Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:49 pm

So there we were, Ryan Neal, Masahiko Kimura and I, standing in a small clearing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and before us was a truly exquisite Pine yamadori, a tree to die for, and we were going to have to toss a coin to see who would be taking it home. It had taken 5 days of hard hiking and climbing to get to this point, and we were hungry, dirty and exhausted - but as we stood there we looked at each other and knew it had all been worth it. I reached down into my pocket but before I could get the coin out my phone went off. I knew it wasn't ringing as there was no service where we were, so I was a bit puzzled by the noise - but I suddenly became aware that I wasn't with Ryan and Masahiko any more, but was actually lying in my bed in Milton Keynes, it was Monday morning and it was time to get up and get ready for another week at work. Right then I realised that I'd had a similar feeling to the one I felt at that moment once before. It was when I had dreamt that I had a really good camera and when I woke up I actually spent a few seconds searching for the camera, only to suddenly realise that alas, it was never going to be found.......

I have a short (7-8 mile) drive to work so off I went that day not feeling particularly over the moon at the prospect of another week of work ahead of me. However, I got about a mile down the road and, (using this strange talent that I have found to now possess where I can spot a potential bonsai at 50 yards or more whilst speeding past in my car at 55mph) I noticed on the grass next to the road that there was a rather interesting tree looking stumplike thing sitting there. It looked like someone had been doing some ditch clearing, and that something interesting had been dug out with the mud and left there, and that it warranted further inspection. I had another look on the way back later that day and it was still sitting there, so the following day I parked up about 100 yards away from the "thing" and went and had a look.

I was amazed to find that this tree like thing was in fact a 4-5 inch diameter elm tree with a large sinuous root attached to it. It didn't really have any branches or fibrous roots to speak of, but appeared to be alive (as opposed to dead and rotten), so I picked it up (as it was just sitting there resting on the grass), took it home and planted it after a bit of preparation into a large plastic container - where it has sat and grown for the last four years or so.

I had to move it this year as we were having some building work done, and when I tried to move it the plastic container it was in literally fell apart as it was clearly more biodegradable than UV resistant. The only suitable sizeable pot I had for it was a nice deep ceramic number that had been housing a large cascade privet up to that point (and that's another story worth telling) - so in it went after taking off about 25% of the very large mass of fibrous roots that had grown since it was hoiked out of the ditch and left to die and rot.

The pot is around 22 inches wide, so the pictures below show what a nice size little monster this sinuous elm is. I've got some serious pruning and wiring to do and clearly have a great opportunity to do some carving to clean up the cut ends, so  I'm looking forward to it and hope to make it a very nice bonsai.

http://i68.servimg.com/u/f68/18/70/81/15/elm_9914.jpg

http://i68.servimg.com/u/f68/18/70/81/15/elm_9911.jpg

http://i68.servimg.com/u/f68/18/70/81/15/elm_9912.jpg

http://i68.servimg.com/u/f68/18/70/81/15/elm_9913.jpg

MKBonsai
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Re: A likely story........

Post  BobbyLane on Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:52 pm

Fantastic material that! and lots of growth to work with, nice carving project, look forward to its progression and thanks for sharing, what a find Very Happy

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Re: A likely story........

Post  JimLewis on Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:42 pm

Raft?

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: A likely story........

Post  Richard S on Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:34 am

This story made me chuckle because believe it or not I've had a very similar experience.

About three years ago I was at work driving between jobs when I stopped in a rural lay-by to eat my packed lunch. In the field opposite the farmer had obviously been digging out a collapsed culvert and there was a pile earth, scrub and bricks next to the ditch and a brand new pipe where the old culvert had been. More interesting though was the rather smashed up Elm tree that was laying up rooted by the pile. It had one long tap root that was broken, hardly any feeder roots and the top looked like it had been driven over by a JCB (which it almost certainly had been).

It did have some very nice mature bark though so more out of sympathy than in hope I picked it up and threw it in my van.

When I got home I cut the top off (smashed) and most of the tap root (also smashed), dropped it the biggest plant pot I had and poured in a bag of TESCO cat litter, watered thoroughly and then left it the garden to see what (if anything) would happen.

Well it's an Elm so what happened was that it grew like a weed!

I'll be taking it out of it's pot to look at the roots this spring and if it's actually grown some I'll put it in a proper training pot. English Elm are great aren't they! Almost indestructible. You have a good one there MK, please keep us updated on it's future progress.

Regards

Richard

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Re: A likely story........

Post  MKBonsai on Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:46 am

Thanks Richard - I'm sure your Elm will have some roots if its anything like most of mine that have been unceremoniously ripped out of the ground by diggers. I've also got a few more stories like that myself too which I will recount some time soon - it just goes to show that it pays to keep your eyes open!

Every time I look at my elm I'm thankful - I have great hopes for it. I'll keep the post updated as it develops. Let us see yours sometime also - trees with good stories behind them are part of what bonsai is all about.

Long live the Ditchadori !!

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Re: A likely story........

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