@Mellow Mullet I didn't want to hijack your thread (https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/a-score-maybe.26819/#post-437459) so I started this one in the hopes of showing what can be done with your Ilex. However, I'm sure you already know so maybe others may benefit. I collected this one from my front yard four years ago. The images show the work I've done through the Spring of 2016. I do not have any photos of the tree for this year yet but I will post them when I do. Enjoy. After I got it potted you could really see the desirable Elephant Skin Bark (like yours has): I just left a few leaves on each branch for the most part: Later in the year (2013): I left it grow in the same container until 2016 pruning it often and wiring various branches as needed: Then, it was time for a smaller training pot: That's all folks.