In the past I planted a couple different Japanese maples. This year I noticed how much I like them. Below is the first one I brought home long ago. It’s grown to about ten feet tall, in complete shade, beneath birch trees and big maples.
It’s about ten years old and is named something.
In the fall it is the reddest thing in my gardens.
Here is another one, a little taller, maybe five years old, and happy in afternoon sun.
It has fall color too but not so violent. And it has a name. I’m sure it does.
Now, here are the pro’s and con’s of Japanese maples according to me.
Smallness, relative to oak trees.
Largeness, relative to rose bushes except climbing rose bushes.
Which is to say the little maples are trees which I can plant under other trees which means I can make a tree understory out of trees. The small trees make the garden rooms continue UP so there are layers of rooms, so interesting, but you don’t have to build stairs up to them and stairs are annoying to clean so that’s a plus too.
Native to Japan. This is hardly a con except I have a kind of guiding influence that values local natives first and heirloom varieties next. But the Plant Committee ––the dog and I–– voted about that and agreed to ignore the guidelines yet again, although Max was asleep when this “more maples” motion passed.
So now I have a new Japanese maple, planted to replace the also not-native tangerine tree which died in last winter’s horrific zero-ish freezing temperatures, no matter how many blankets and hot water bottles I provided––and heaven knows I tried, but really when your number is up it’s up and the tangerine tree’s number was way the hell up. RIP tangerine.
Here is the cute new maple located where the tangerine isn’t.
Dear readers, meet Acer palmatum “Koto no ito.”
Aside: Koto no ito, those people looking at you are readers.
There. You’ve met. This little tree’s name, which you notice I completely know what is, means something about the leaves looking like the strings on a harp. It likes shade for those wispy, threaded leaves, with a tiny bit of sun filtered through aspen trees and the cozy comfort of a south house wall. Or anyway that’s what it’s getting and has been doing well.
In the fall it too will be all pinky golden and festive. It will grow 8-10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide, just right for it’s location, and it is very hardy and will not require so much as plant socks in order to survive the winter. I call her Koto for short and we are getting along famously.
Although I’m hoping it might help somehow with my cell-phone reception.
Then too the balloon flowers are popping and snowy beside the Fairy roses…
…and the Lagerstroemia, another wonderful small tree, is in bloom by the porch.
It’s more commonly known as cr*pe myrtle. (Choose your own vowel.)