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HomeBonsaiWhat’s a “Drake” elm anyway? – Adam's Artwork and Bonsai Weblog

What’s a “Drake” elm anyway? – Adam’s Artwork and Bonsai Weblog

We see all these elms in bonsai which have “splendidly” descriptive names like “Catlin” or “Yatsabusa” or “Seiju” or, on this case, “Drake”. What do the names imply?

Let’s begin with the binomial identify: Ulmus parvifloria or the widespread identify “Chinese language elm”. That’s our baseline.

Chinese language elms are, as you would possibly guess, native to China (additionally Korea, Japan, Vietnam and far of Jap Asia). Ulmus simply means “elm” in Latin (for these , Latin is utilized in science when describing species as a result of it’s a lifeless language, that means it’s not evolving because of on a regular basis utilization, i.e. the identical phrase “cool” can imply “sizzling” within the vernacular, or “stoopid” that means “cool”. You get the thought. The pronunciation of Latin can be mounted (or it ought to be, however not at all times, some examples may very well be, say “ficus” or “pinus”. Ficus ought to be pronounced “fick-us” and also you’ll hear the English say it that approach whereas within the USA we are saying “fie-cuss”. And the perennial joke for “pinus” is that it ought to be pronounced with the primary syllable sounding just like the phrase “pin”. Say it out loud…..yeah, a bit juvenile, however you laughed, admit it. So what occurred to Latin? It advanced into Spanish, Italian, French, and so forth.).

Ulmus parvifolia is a deciduous or semi deciduous tree (that means it doesn’t drop its leaves each winter) and can be know as “lacebark elm” as its bark flakes off.

Let’s proceed: parvifolia in Latin means: small (parvus) leaf (folium). That’s the simple half. What does, say, “catlin” imply? Or, on this case, “Drake”.

Catlin elms we’re first developed by John Catlin, from California, within the 50’s (that will be the 1950’s, in case you are studying this sooner or later) and it has even smaller leaves than the species. And right here I assumed Catlin was his spouse or daughter identify. Go determine.

Drake means “dragon” in previous English, from the Latin, Draco (it’s additionally the identify of a constellation within the northern sky, named for Draco, the dragon that guarded the golden apples within the backyard of Hesperides. It’s identify was Ladon. Hesperides killed Ladon, and the goddess Hera was so distraught at its loss of life that she created the picture within the heavens).

The Drake elm was developed by the Monrovia nursery within the 50’s and has turn into the most well-liked cultivar within the USA, sales-wise.

I like this one being referred to as a “Drake”, being that it kinda curls up and has lengthy, sinuous motion, like a dragon.

Right here we’re attending to the meat of the names. Cultivar means it’s a cultivated or created selection, often by cross pollinating however generally the tree throws off a mutated twig referred to as a “sport” with a attribute that is likely to be fascinating. I imagine the Catlin is a sport from a Drake elm. And seiju is a sport from the Catlin, with even smaller leaves. Yatsabusa is a Chinese language elm from Japan and yatsabusa means, roughly, “dwarf” in Japanese (cue the linguists…).

It appears to me prefer it was a root slicing, chopped off a big Chinese language elm. Elms have the flexibility (tremendous energy if you happen to would) of rising new timber from the guidelines of the roots. an annoying attribute of you chop one down and don’t get all of the roots up, as a substitute of 1 massive tree you’ll have a forest of little timber. However nice for propagation in bonsai as roots are inclined to have numerous twists and turns.

They heal amazingly we’ll too.

Let me eliminate all of the lifeless suggestions and branches, so I do know what I’ve to work with.

Good department on the left, lifeless department on the precise.

It’s been an odd winter. The timber that dropped their leaves early are all pushing new development. Like this shohin Chinese language elm beneath.

Even the American elms are pushing early,

However then some are simply going dormant. Listed here are Drake elm seedlings beneath.

New buds. These are simply swelling. As the times go on, you’ll see extra inexperienced.

Like this one on one other Chinese language elm.

Again to our topic.

The place’s the entrance?

Don’t know but. When you may’t determine a major composition level, return to fundamentals.

How do you eat an elephant? One chunk at a time. On this case, focus: Discover the residing branches Adam.



Effectively, this department is all lifeless.


On deciduous and timber that backbud, if you need a department in the identical space of a lifeless department, go away the department collar, don’t lower it flush.

You’ll most frequently get a brand new bud coming off that collar.

Let’s get it out of the pot.

It’s just a bit potbound. An previous steak knife is the proper software.

Noticed noticed noticed…. or is it see noticed see noticed?

Ah. There’s nothing extra satisfying than getting a potbound tree out of a pot.

There are these circling roots I talked about within the final publish.

Now, not like the pine in that final publish, I’m going to be aggressive with these roots.

Appears like my beard.

Good roots even after slicing all that off.

Now I’ve to determine the entrance. And the potting angle

I like that.

This too.

Some shameless branding….

I believe I’ll go together with this pot. A Chinese language semi-cascade pot from the 1980’s.

Namako glaze. Considered one of my favorites. Jogs my memory of Van Gogh’s “Starry Evening”

Right here’s a wonderful write up in Peter Tea’s previous weblog about NAMAKO glazes.

Wants just a bit extra root discount.

It’ll match although.

*Housekeeping hack of the day: to cut back the sweeping up on the finish of the day (and offer you extra time to drink beer), put a bin below the ft of your work stand.

Aw yeah? Have a look at these roots!

See? Informed you it could match.

Some soil and a little bit of natural fertilizer….I do know, I informed you earlier than, don’t fertilize deciduous timber once you repot. However an elm can again bud from virtually anyplace, so I’m not fearful about too-long of intermodal area. And I’ve a sense this tree wants some “oommph” in spite of everything this work.

Now we’re prepared for some styling.

Let’s see…

Under, this department obscures the trunk, which is the primary plot line of this timber story.

This department, hmmmm, what to do with it?

The trunk line is straight right here, with little taper.

Even reverse taper the place the three branches have been allowed to develop.

Gotta preserve consuming the Elephant…. snip!

I might bend this department…


Have a look at all that wire, simply ready for use.

However……no, I gotta repair some construction. Like pulling a band support off, do it quick earlier than you are feeling it.




Didn’t need to try this. but it surely wanted it.

Now…some wire.

The tree wants taper, so I went with that department I used to be not sure about because the the continuation of the trunk line.

And that’s that.

It’d develop out like this in about two years. Perhaps even by the top of this 12 months, if it’s an excellent rising 12 months.

You’ll be able to see the trunk now, and the cover and leaves are relegated to only being the small print.

Not a lot left although, besides to let it develop.




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