Over the last Month or so we have been harvesting some of our potential bonsai stock.

Grown locally here in Rutland, locally hardy and in an exposed place.  So the stock is weather worn and also generally tougher and more vigorous that Nursery Grown potted stock.

They are certainly more interesting due to the effect raw nature has on them.

Long before a tree becomes a Bonsai, they have to go through a journey and cycle of growth and survival.

Trees grown in the wild show that story far better.

Having dug this Chinese Elm out of the ground a few weeks back, it has been settling in a large container.  Adjusting to the change, it has shed or started to shed Leaves from some of the longer, now superfluous branches; as it has detected Autumn has arrived and Winter is closing fast.

The tree is balancing itself based on the root it now has and the amount of light it is now getting taking into account the light length and strength are rapidly reducing.

So it gives me a chance to further remove unwanted or unneeded material to start sculpting a basic shape.  One I find aesthetically pleasing, & one the tree lends itself to providing.


So it is now just a case of a Third of the canopy can go, and I can rough shape some of the branching or reduce twigs to grant definition or clear branch lines.  Always sticking to the mantra, no more than a third of foliage or root structure to be removed in each sitting; to ensure the tree can survive.

I set to the task using my Felco Secateurs.

Felco Number 2 Large Secateurs

Once I have hit around a third of the canopy removed, I then go into twig pruning mode and clear out some of the scrub.

The pile of clippings and leaves at my feet telling me I can now longer take any more.

Though the tree is ready for some basic main trunk or branch bending or setting. Either with wire or through other means.

As I now need the main branches to be spread out, so the form and shape can be opened, and also the clouds of leaves can be created.


Further chasing out of the pads of leaves, branches and other elements will start to be applied over time, though no major works will now be attempted till after the tree has again shown it has survived Winter, and sap starts to rise.

The shape we have is now the shape we will work with over winter and into spring.