While on vacation at the Oregon coast this month I saw many plants that were wind-influenced. I prefer this term to ‘windswept’ as that conjures up a familiar image, one that we think we know, and still a tree shape. ‘Wind-influenced’ feels broader and open to interpretation. A few examples follow.
A shrub formed by wind only yards from the coast. Looks eerily like the sand dunes just over the crest, where there is no grass. The topiary version of a dune.
More woody plants formed by wind. These are about 1/4 mile from the coast.
In the foreground, another shrub shaped not unlike the first one.
This is an arresting example. With a few exceptions in the bottom part, these are all trees. All spruce, actually. The flattened ones look like shrubs, but it’s the same species upslope, in spruce-tree shapes. (A familiar ‘windswept’ tree is highlighted in the dark alcove.) On the right is a close-up plant, showing individual spruce shoots. Downslope is the ocean crashing on the beach, about 300 yards away.
We may not wish our trees to look like sand dunes. I just found it interesting that the natural stylistic arena of wind-influenced trees isn’t simple or one thing.
The takeaways might be:
- the shapes wind creates don’t always look like recognizable tree forms
- wind results may homogenize, irrespective of material: plants looking like sand, etc.
- wind can be highly localized; a few yards away, a different morphology
- the abstract possibilities of wind suggest a wide canvas.
January 2022 Bulletin Board
- Have free mornings this weekend? Join us for the upcoming Winter Seasonal-lite for repotting skills and design considerations in one of the most creative times of the bonsai calendar. January 22 and 23, with 6 hours total in-person instruction bookend this limited enrollment online course, including a 30-minute private with me. For sign-up send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.