This is an Escallonia collected from my garden back in 2001. It had previously been growing in another garden unchecked for 50+ years. I collected it along with about 10 others that I gave away to club members over the years. This one I put into my own garden as I didn't know what to do with it at the time being brand new to bonsai.
Having a look to see if there was potential
Cut back in the bed.
Trenched to allow ease of collecting
Out at last. Not an easy task as it was well rooted in the bed.
Close up of trunk after lifting
A few decisions made and the stump has been cut back.
It didn't take long before budding appeared.
What made me think of using an Escallonia for bonsai? Answer: This tree displayed by Mr Oakton at Gingko Award 2001. When I saw it in the show I couldn't wait to get back home to get this one out of the ground!
Oakton Escallonia Gingko 2001
I let the tree have a period of free growth and then did a little branch selection. Peter Snart of Willowbog Bonsai was over for a visit and he helped with some of the initial carving work which I refined the following year.
One of the angles
The tree filled the box with roots and I decided to repot.
Exposed for repotting in November 2002
In the new pot
I posted a few photos of the tree on the IBC for comment and possible virtuals. I did a few myself and was pleased with the results. Here are a few I did and a few from IBC members.
First attempt back in 2002
Possible multi trunk version
This one is getting close to current image
Luis Fontanills from the IBC made a few changes to my virtual
This was an earlier virtual from Mark Morris a regular IBC'er back then.
By September 2003 the tree had grown rapidly. I allowed the apex free growth at help with the taper of the trunk line at that point. Marco Invernizzi was over for a workshop and he gave me some guidance with the future of the tree and helped define the live veins. The tree has 3 veins spread around the trunk.
Further refinement in September '03. Very late flowering that year!! Possibly a second flush.
I disappeared from bonsai for a few years. Work, family commitments and health reasons kept me from doing any real work on my trees. Water and the odd trim was all they received. This means that I don't have many photos of this period. The next few photos are from 2009 when I managed to dig the camera out.
Filling out and ready for another trim in 2009
After a trim
February 2010 fresh lime sulphur and a 50p piece for scale.
Free growth allowed for a few months to allow flower buds to develope at growth tips.
Looking up at deadwood and veins.
Escallonia June 2010
I've been thinking of going for a new front next year to make better use of the deadwood and veins. Here's a few options.
ESCALLONIA ANGLE 2
ESCALLONIA ANGLE 3
ESCALLONIA ANGLE 4
Hope you like it. Plenty more refinement required but I have really enjoyed working on this tree over the last 10 years. So, if you see one in a garden, give it a go. I have my eye on another three :-)
15th November 2010 Update
As an update to the above case study I have added this to show the repot that has just been carried out.
I decided to repot in the Autumn/Winter as I was troubled by some of the rotting deadwood. I wanted to inspect this and treat asap as leaving to Spring could result in further rotting.
I had been considering a change of angle as the front to improve the tree. The forward facing branch was bothering me.
This is the original front
This is a possible new front with some adjustments needed.
When I checked the deadwood I found two areas that needed attention. Part of the trunk was hollow and one area of deadwood was going soft with rot. These where treated with wood hardener. On removing the tree from the old pot I wasn't surprised to see the amount of fine root. The tree had been particularly to water this year as the density of roots wouldn't let the water penetrate.
Plenty of roots which shows the tree is in good health.
I was able to remove a lot of the root which assisted with treating the deadwood.
After clearing out the root base.
I had asked Peter Snart from Willowbog Bonsai to look out for a nice pot for the tree. He knew the tree well and selected a pot that he had been keeping for himself. It's an oval with a reddish glaze from Walsall Ceramics.
Checking the new pot for size.
After much consideration about changing the front I opted to tilt the tree more to the right and remove the forward facing branch. This was trimmed back with a view to removing it in the Spring.
Decision made and tree potted up.
This part of the deadwood is now more exposed with the new angle. I will need to refine this to make it fit better with the image.
The area that will need some attention to look right at the new angle.
The tree as it sits today. It will over Winter in my Poly Tunnel for protection.
Below is also a video clip showing the tree in 360 degrees.