Assessing a Garden Shrub for Bonsai


At about this time of the year I usually start lifting material from the garden and assessing how suitable it is for use as future bonsai.  I am fortunate enough to have a reasonably large garden with lots of established and mature shrubs, some over thirty years old.  One or two species have been worth considering and are being developed as future bonsai material.

The photo above shows a variety of cotoneaster that self seeded in the flower bed before my arrival at the property.  I’ve been trimming the top growth each year but nothing else. I’m clearing the bed to make way for bonsai/vegetables so this shrub was being lifted anyway.


The leaves are a bit large but an attractive shape and colour. I thought I would lift it and have a look at the trunk line and any surface roots.dsc_0416dsc_0417dsc_0418

My conclusion? Put it somewhere else in the garden!  The surface roots are one sided and a bit lacking, the lower trunk curves and is then very straight with little taper.  Pretty unappealing and very little worth keeping as a future bonsai.  Still a nice garden shrub though so it went in a gap in a new flower bed out the front.