I am always drawn to conifers that display some kind of character. True, most of the tiny dwarf conifers that I love so much are very uniformly shaped little mounds, globes or pyramids, but trees with an unusual shape will capture my attention and inspire my imagination in a way the garden gems cannot. The art of bonsai involves many years of meticulous training and care to reproduce, in miniature, forms of trees found in nature; trees that have been struggling to survive on a cliff side, branches bent in a constant coastal wind or by year after year of snow load.
I love when I am introduced to a conifer cultivar that grows naturally in a contorted or windswept form even without the slightest breeze or snowfall. One such tree is Pinus parviflora ‘Fukuzumi.’ This form of the Japanese White Pine grows from a young age with the characteristic look of a pine beat down over millennia to grow at extreme angles giving the trunk nice movement and a welcome aesthetic appeal. The fine textured blue-green needles and prolific cone bearing habit add to the pleasure this tree gives in my garden. In fact, it is quite common to find three years of cones remaining on a tree for cone-heads like me to enjoy.
I can see this tree becoming very popular as more and more people discover its unique beauty. Hopefully, landscape designers begin to realize its usefulness as a low maintenance, rugged looking windswept tree for those special places in the garden.