Holly of some sort: Keep it or not?

bonsai barry

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I found this overgrown holly at a landscape nursery and trimmed it up. Not sure what variety of holly it is, but the unusual roots caught my attention.

I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it. Sometimes I'm intrigued by the roots and sometimes they remind me of a big pile of doggie doo.
 

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jk_lewis

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The nursery couldn't tell you what it is?

I think it's a keeper. Experiement with planting angles and depth of planting. There's more than one way to skin a cat or make a bonsai.
 

october

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I think jkl offered some good advice.. before you make fire wood out of it, check every possible planting angle. I tilted the pic you posted. I suppose at this angle, it could be on it's way to a twin trunk style..

This reminds me of the situation I had with a San Jose. It took me about 2 years to come up with something for it and I almost just gave up on it many times..However, after turning the tree completely on it's side and cutting about 50% of it over time. I came up with something I now like very much.
 

Redwood Ryan

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I like it! I say keep it. It's one of those weird ones you just have to show everyone.

Not meaning to hijack, but when is the correct time to work on a holly?
 
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Smoke

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Looks like yaupon to me...

Ilex vomitoria?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I don't like it. If your style tended toward Chinese, maybe.

Unusual doesn't usually mean good bonsai material...whenever I went after unusual material that "caught my attention" for some strange feature, I often struggled with what to do with it.
 

october

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oops.. forgot to post the angle that I thought might work
 

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sfhellwig

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Many of the leaves only have one point on the tip, maybe a Burford. If the other leaves are multiple point then I guess the single points are juvenile and I don't know which of the many to guess. As you see from the multiple points of view it depends on what you accept on your bench or not. If you are a Japanese purist then this doesn't follow any rules and looks.....many words to describe. But some people are more tolerant of a piece and give it more time to prove itself. I have a Burford Holly that the local shop was going to throw away that I have salvaged. It has some decently thick trunks. It will never be a good show piece with proper branch angles but I will keep it around to practice trimming. But I also appreciate very Chinese influenced pieces and am interested in Niwaki.

I say it is interesting. With a few seasons of growth and trim you might even be able to develop defined foliage areas. Usual bonsai joke: If you don't want it I'll pay for shipping and you can send it to me!
 

jk_lewis

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Youpon holly leaves don't have spines.

It looks to me to be one of the (many) cultivars of Ilex cornuta, Chinese holly. Those leaves range from VERY spiny to one or wo (or no) spines per leaf. Color from dark glossy green to a pale green.
 

Bill S

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They like acid BB, also along the change things a little line, think ground layer to set it on a new foundation, it will lose the long root and put a start on the twin trunk.
 

bonsai barry

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Some interesting responses... thanks for everyone's input. I will be working on improving the health of the plant this year, and possibly redesigning it next year. Again, thanks for the responses!
 

october

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lol..I cannot tell from the pics you posted, it is very difficult to assess things from pics..... That angle offers a sort of twin trunk style... Yes, there is that awful base..What is the other side like???.. However, the tree itself does not have much aesthetic appeal to begin with... Although I believe in making every tree that is going ot be a bonsai the best it can be.. Sometimes you have to consider that a certain tree may not be suited for bonsai... Who knows, maybe in many many years, it could develop into something.
 

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