The first 2 images show a Prunus of uncertain variety that a customer brought in for us to sell on his behalf many years ago.
I think that you will agree that it appeared to be fairly unpromising bonsai material at first glance ! It had been a sizeable garden tree that he had dug up, the large cut stub where the tree had been reduced is quite a significant feature of the material !
In fact not many redeeming features, not much taper ,no real root base [ though admittedly the photos do not show this ] and at this stage no branches, though if the tree grew okay then these could be developed, of course. Unfortunately I have no pictures taken during the ensuing years but I persevered with it in the raw stock area as a potential carving exercise for anyone so inclined. It did grow branches, in fact it grew very vigorously ! so much so that I began to get fed up with keep hacking it back every couple of years or so, I also started to get a bit fed up with watering it as well, given that no customers every seem to pay any attention to it. My guess is that we kept it in this way for at least ten years ! and the exorbitant price that deterred any would be purchasers ? £18.00 !
This is a photograph of the same tree taken today ! Less than 2 years ago I decided that enough was enough and so I got the tree into the studio with the plan of getting the makita to it and doing the basic machine hollow carving that might help a potential customer see the tree’s potential. This is what I found before even getting a machine out.
The trunk was almost completely hollow already , at least it was full of rotten wood that I removed actually using just a small root hook. There remained a core of still reasonably sound timber that I have sought to retain.
The challenge is to prevent further decay of the attractive, natural deadwood, I have been using a proprietary wet wood hardener for this.
The rot had extended right to the base and out through the bottom as well as through at least some of the roots.
The circumference of the trunk was complete, however, with viable , healthy tissue and so as to reveal the interesting hollow interior I did need to use a little machine work to make a narrow opening in what I eventually decided would make the best front of the bonsai. During the previous few years I had allowed at least some branch development as I pruned, so that at the time that I discovered the hollow interior I had at the same time the basis of a branch structure to begin to work with . This has been continued in the past couple of years but still has some way to go.
I liked the tree so much that at this point I decided to add it to the Willowbog Collection and as a result of this planted it in a very nice Duffet pot that I had in my pot collection.
In my opinion, this really is ” silk purse from a sow’s ear ” example !