I bought this tree at the Caple manor show about 10 years ago, it was in a flower pot. The two pieces shown in the pictures above were originally attached. I thought it had the making of a good raft style which I have always wanted. The two pictures above have been cropped to show the original soil line in the pot.
When I took the tree out of the pot to work on the roots, you can see from the photo on the above, the surprise I had. There was another 5 cm of knarled trunk exposed below the soil line.
My first idea was to air layer the trunk to save the raft which was what I rely wanted. However when I realised how large the hollow was in the trunk it would have been too thin to air layer without killing the tree. I decided to cut the raft part off, pot it up and grow it on as a separate tree, because it had a good set of roots of its own.
Both of the pictures on the above show how they have both developed over the last 10 years. They’ve both been pruned hard and the new shoots pinched early to keep the internode lengths down. This also gives nice changes of direction to the branches, not the curved type that wiring gives you.
I still do not have a raft style bonsai.
Nature as inspiration
If you are seeking more inspiration from nature for your bonsai, or just enjoy looking at trees I have a of suggestion for you.
Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland
If you prefer something more book shaped, Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland by Dr Owen Johnson and the Tree Council is a good choice.