Saturday, February 12, 2011

Acer palmatum - Some of my Favorites

Once again laziness (or hibernation) prevails. I think I need spring, or at least some sunshine and at least a little warmth to get me moving again.
This evening I'll finally post the pictures of the Japanese Maples that I promised. This will be far from a complete list of even those we have in the garden here, but rather the ones I like most or the ones whose pictures I like best.
Japanese Maples are a little iffy north of zone 6 because most are grafted, and after an especially bad winter, if they die back, you may lose the plant you wanted and end up with whatever the rootstock was. We have occasionally had that happen. One of the rootstocks has turned out to be a quite lovely small tree. The others were replaced. The species maples, also small and quite decorative and about which I have written before, may be a better choice for northerners as most are on their own roots and so if they die back you won't lose the varietal. Most of these maples will be happier in light shade or morning sun. You sometimes get some bronzing on leaves in too much sun, or even some burn on lighter colored leaves. Woodsy soil and ample moisture (but no soggy soil) will suit most of these.

So here goes ...

Acer palmatum 'Ao shime no uchi'

I just love these long skinny 'fingers'. The branches tend to droop a bit, giving the plant the look of a rounded bush sometimes. Fall color is yellow to a deep gold.

Acer palmatum 'Butterfly'

Butterfly has tiny leaves which are variable in shape; rarely are two alike. Mostly the leaves have a white edge, though you will occasionally find an all white leaf. In the spring you will see lots of pink on the leaves. In the fall, all of the white parts become a shocking pink. This is a short, twiggy tree, rarely over 12 feet tall.

Acer palmatum 'Inabe shidare'

Inabe Shidare means leaves of rice. I see this one sometimes listed as a dissectum, but I seem to have it listed without that addition. The leaves are a very deep red and hold that color all season. The leaf tips on this one will burn in direct sun. Although not as common in the U.S., it has been grown in Japan since at least the mid 1800s.

Acer palmatum 'Orange Dream'

Orange Dream is a newer cultivar and pretty new in our garden; I think it's been here about 5 years. It is a relatively slow growing cultivar, now about 4 feet tall. New growth is more orange, but the color, although lighter and greener, remains through the season.

Acer palmatum 'Roseo-marginata'

Roseo-marginata is not common and may be hard to find. It is a small, almost tiny tree, and seems to be slow growing. It seems to like a good bit of shade. Ask me more after we've grown it a bit longer.

Acer palmatum 'Sagara nishiki'

Sagara nishiki is really not easy to find. It is a creamy yellow with pink highlights, sometimes even looking lavender in more shade. Each tree seems to have its own particular variegation. A lovely thing that prefers shade.

Acer palmatum 'Trompenburg'

Trompenburg is probably one of the best reds for holding its color all season. Not a really large tree. An older cultivar and very dependable.

Acer palmatum 'Ukigumo'

Ukigumo means floating clouds. The variegation is white (or cream), green and pink. Rather than being edged, this one is splashed. The coloration looks 'soft'. Some of the lobes on the leaves will pucker or twist. It is slow growing, rather short and twiggy, and semi-dense, reaching 10 feet after many years.

Acer palmatum 'Yellow Bird'

Yellow Bird is a larger tree, maybe reaching 20 feet. The leaves are a yellowy chartreuse throughout the season, turning a bright yellow with red petioles in the fall. Our is probably in too much shade and therefore not as yellow as it should be. Too big now to move, but the fall color isn't affected by the shade, so It's not so much of a problem.

Not sure where we're going next. Maybe to the greenhouse or maybe to Hanks experiment with making a jungle in the bay window next to the tub in the bathroom. He is suddenly obsessed (just a bit) with philodendrums and other shady indoors things. Taking a bath has become a jungle adventure of sorts.

No comments: