Feelin’ the love

This has been a fantastic summer for enjoying our fire pit. Some summers are so hot that at nine or ten o’clock at night, when we feel like sitting around a campfire, it is still 80 degrees outside. Not this year. This year, not only do I wear a sweatshirt, but I actually enjoy the warmth of the fire.

Pinus parviflora 'Bergman'
Pinus parviflora ‘Bergman’ is an elegant specimen in the garden.

Last night as my wife and I were snuggled in our Adirondack love seat near the fire pit, out of nowhere my wife mentioned how much she liked the Pinus parviflora ‘Bergman’ just across the pit from where we sat. Now, hearing this from my wife was quite a surprise because she has always made it crystal clear that she does not like pines.  (Actually, there are a few pines in the garden that she has admired over the years – and now that I am thinking about it, they have all been cultivars of Pinus parviflora (the Japanese white pine).

Pinus parviflora 'Goldilocks'
Pinus parviflora ‘Goldilocks’ appears as a bright golden yellow small tree. Closer inspection of the foliage reveals beautiful two-toned needles.

In my last post I mentioned one of our favored variegated conifers, Pinus parviflora ‘Ogon janome’. My wife loves its soft foliage and variegated needles. Pinus parviflora ‘Goldilocks’ is another brightly colored cultivar that my wife absolutely loves. ‘Goldilocks’ is one the brightest yellows you will see in a pine.  Depending on culture, Goldilocks can be trained as a very straight tree or be allowed to follow the beat of its own drummer and mature into a wonderful specimen with gentle curves that add striking character to this small tree.

Pinus parviflora 'Catherine Elizabeth'
Pinus parviflora ‘Catherine Elizabeth’ is a delightful garden additon – I encourage you to invite her into your garden today.

Another Japanese white pine that has won the admiration of my wife is Pinus parviflora ‘Catherine Elizabeth’. This delightful little beauty is soft textured with short bluish green needles and a compact rounded form. Growing just a few inches a year, ‘Catherine Elizabeth’ will fill her space in the garden relatively slowly. She responds well to a little candle pruning in spring/early summer if you desire a tighter, more compact plant.

Pinus parviflora 'Glauca Nana' seedling under evaluation.
This seedling of Pinus parviflora ‘Glauca Nana’ has quite the character. Tiny needles and miniature habit make this one to watch for in the future.

The last time my wife joined me for a walk around the display gardens at Iseli, she honed right in on one of the smallest Japanese white pines I have ever seen. This is one of Iseli’s seedlings under evaluation. With new growth of two or three centimeters and tiny curled needles, this irregularly formed miniature captured both our imaginations. I don’t expect to see this little fella in the local garden center anytime soon, but it sure is something to look forward to.

I’m excited that my wife is beginning to move past her dislike of pines in general and is finding joy in a broader group of conifers. Go team conifer!

Conifer Lover

3 thoughts on “Feelin’ the love

  1. it is an excellent mini, later known under the name P.p. Iseli no 5
    when I saw it it was love at first sight and ever since I am longing for it


  2. Hello. First I’d really like say that I really enjoy this blog.

    There appear to be a couple of problems, however, with a couple of the cultivar names.

    Pinus parviflora ‘Bergmanii’ is incorrect. The correct name is Pinus parviflora ‘Bergman.’ I’m quite sure that Barry Bergman named it after 1959 when it become improper to use latinized cultivar names.

    Second, ‘Goldilocks’ is no longer recognized as the proper name for the beautiful golden Japanese White Pine. Its original name is Pinus parviflora ‘Tenysu-kazu,’ which is the name that must be used in the trade.

    With more and more cultivars entering the market, it is vitally important that we are very precise with the cultivar names. Using catchy trade names only creates confusion and does a great dishonor to the originator of the plant.

    Here is a link to a concise essay on naming plant cultivars:


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