Archive for May, 2016

9 Fine Maples

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I have a small garden. So I have to be selective in my choosing of plants. One plant I truly love is the Japanese Maple. It comes in several hundred cultivars and varieties and I have only 9 of them, but I love them all. They’re all unique and none is similar to the others, tho all are Acer palmatums. This first one is a Bloodgood and is considered one of the finest full size Red maples there is. It’s been in cultivation for a long time but it still has admirers. The botanical name is Acer palmatum atropurpureum Bloodgood.

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This one is a dwarf and only gets to 4-6 feet tall. It’ll stay in this pot for as many years as I can keep it there. Its called a Goshiki Kotohime, which means Variegated Old Harp. It’s a choice little plant and has several colors in the leaves, thus the name Goshiki, which means 5-colored. The Kotohime means Old Harp, or Koto as most folks know it. A lovely small tree.

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This is the first Japanese maple I ever bought for my folks back in the early 70’s ( boy does that date me, eh?). It’s called Kagiri Nishiki, or Roseo Marginatum, which is the name I first learned it by. Its unique in that all the leaves are different and are sickle shaped with beautiful variegation in them, from creamy white to a cool bluish green. It’ll get to about 15 ft tall and wide.

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This is another small form that only gets about 8 ft tall and 4-6 wide. It’s considered the best red dissectum there is. It’s called a Red Dragon, as the leaves apparently resemble a dragon’s claws. Very slow growing. I’ve had it for years and it hasn’t grown hardly at all. Oh well, I still love it…

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Here’s another red one ( I seem to like colors don’t I?). It’s a Red Pygmy and gets up to maybe 15 ft in time tho it’s only about 7′ now. It has deeply cut leaves that make it look almost like a weeping willow when it leafs out. It turns a luscious golden yellow in the fall. It’s grown fast  so far. Beautiful!

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This is a well know maple – the Coral Bark or Sango Kaku maple. So called because the red stems look like towers of sea collar rising out of the ocean. It’s a full size one that will get to 25 or 30 ft tall in time. It turns a deep gold with reddish tints in the fall.

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This is my newest acquisition. It’s called Shiraz and has incredible variegation in the leaves of a light red darkening to a darker red on the margins. It’s supposed to stay this way for awhile but I just planted it this spring so I don’t know what will happen next. I expect great things from it.

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This one has confused me all along. It never has grown more than a few inches each year, and tho it’s gotten much fuller it’s still very small and looks like it’ll be a shrub forever. It’s a lovely form called Ukigumo, or the Floating Cloud Maple. It’s supposed to look like clouds in the sky, and it does against a darker background, which I don’t have. Turns lovely shades of pink in the fall. Behind it is a large Blue Peter Rhodie that has been here for 30 some years. A nice background for this picture…

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This is the last one I have. It’s another dissectum called Waterfall. It turns a spectacular golden yellow orange in the fall and is supposed to get to 10 ft tall and 12 ft wide!! Wow! Another time of not reading about the full size till I got home. It’s growing a foot or more a year and I have to prune most of it off because it’s in the wrong place. It’s a beautiful plant still. I’ll get it to fit, just wait…

So that’s the tour. I decided to keep it to mostly pictures this time since I wrote so much last time. I try to balance things out  some… I’m glad you could come along on this walk. More pretty pictures to come. 🙂

Thanks for visiting,

Steve

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Still Growing

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I started this blog to showcase the new garden my partner Louie and I planted around our home beginning in 2008 and 2009 and  continuing to today. There were some foundation plants here to begin with but we added the bulk of the plants I’ve shown you and will continue to show you in the future, as long as I continue to write this blog anyway. It’s been almost 2 years since I posted to this blog and I figure it’s time to start again, slowly… So, to begin with is some of a retrospective of changes we’ve made since I last posted in 2014. The top picture here is a scene of the whole garden as it exists today. It’s changed quite a bit in 2 years but is still the same as well. I hope you enjoy this tour of what’s new and what’s still growing good. Here we go.

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This is a closer view of the picture we just saw. It’s more of an internal view. Since I last posted here we lost a big cherry tree in the center of the yard. It was next to the fountain here and if you look back a few posts you’ll see it and how it looked then. After the tree was removed we planted a new Parrotia persica “Vanessa”, a cultivar of the Persian Ironwood tree that is more columnar and upright in growth so it should fit here well as it grows. It’s chief merit is the amazing colors it turns in fall. It begins in August and continues thru October with colors ranging from deep red to a golden yellow. A very lovely tree, tho it will never provide the garden with the canopy over it as it used to have, but it’ll still be wonderful.

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This is a view of the same inner part of the garden from the side area of the lawn. You can see the new Helmond’s Pillar Barberry at the right – an upright growing form of the Japanese Barberry that is purple and columnar and grows to about 4-5ft. In front of it is a Repandens English yew that is beautiful and large. Behind it is the Bloodgood Japanese maple that has gotten quite a lot bigger in the last 2 years. The left side shows the Sequoia Sempervirens “Kelley’s Prostrate” that is now some 8 ft across and about 1 1/2 ft tall. Not as big as they normally get at 379ft or so! This dwarf is still small but it’ll no doubt get bigger in tim, tho I don’t know where it’ll grow since it’s in the paths already. Above it is the Parrotia again. It’s big and floppy from its new growth and still growing but it’ll stand up straighter once the limbs harden off, I hope…

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This is another side view farther back showing the “Jade Butterflies” Ginkgo very well. It’s about 7 ft tall now and heading to the 10+ ft it’s supposed to get, tho some say it gets to 20 ft. Who can tell with reading the web sites? They all say different things. I can hardly wait till it gets that big. The little Baby Blue Chamaecyparis pisifera on the right has grown into a 4ft cone now and is getting  towards  its 6 ft size as well. Still very full and bright blue, it’s a stand out in the garden.

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Going around the corner on the path to the left of both of the last pictures leads us to a new plant I just put in last year. It’s a “Diana” Japanese Larch -a deciduous conifer that looses its leaves in the fall after they turn a golden yellow that can be seen from the house. It was planted in the spring of last year and still it grew about 3 1/2 feet the first year! I was amazed with it. It’s grown out to 14 inches already this year so I have high hopes it’ll do well again.

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This tree was planted in 2013 to replace the first cherry we lost, and it was only 5′ tall then. In the 3 years it’s grown now it’s up to 13 ft tall. It’s a variety of Cryptomeria, or Sugi as it’s known in Japan, called Radicans, similar to the better know Yoshino but it doesn’t bronze in the winter like the Yoshino does. It’s a real presence in the garden now and tho it will never replace the cherry it was planted for it will still be able to grow to 50 ft here. Next to it is a new Camellia called “Pink Icicle” that was just covered with pink blooms with yellow centers from January thru March. It gets to about 8-12 ft they say.

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Moving along the north side of the garden: On the left is the Pendulous Giant Sequoia and next to it is the “Peve Minaret” Taxodium I profiled a little bit ago. You can see it’s grown a lot since the last profile of it. Next to it used to be a Bailey’s Creek Dogwood, but it got way too big so I had to remove it. I replaced it with another Cryptomeria, (I love them…) called Rasen which means barber pole in Japanese. It has rings around all parts of the tree – the leaves curl around the stems and the stems curl around the tree and the bark even has this distinctive swirl to it. Fascinating! It’ll grow to some 20 – 40 ft tall in time and likely will be a bit wonky but most unique. I’ll profile it soon. To its right is another Sugi called  “Black Dragon” and next to it is a “Nero” black choke cherry that is the new super fruit called Aronia and is very high in anthocyanins like blueberries, only more so. By it is a fastigiate “Inverleith” Scots Pine that is certainly larger than the 10ft the label said it would be. So much for labels, eh?

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I’m jumping to the front yard with a Japanese Katsura tree called Rot Fuchs or Red Fox, for its beautiful reddish blue green color. It’s another fastigiate that will get to 20-40 ft and will grow well here. It contrasts nicely with the  Cornus Bailhalo ‘Ivory Halo’ in the back corner (the white one) and the Gracilis Nana Hinoki cypress at its feet in front of it.  It’s leaves smell of cotton candy in the fall and turn a luscious golden yellow with reddish tints. Lovely!

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Backing up a bit again now to this Japanese maple called Sango Kaku or Coral Bark maple. Can you believe this tree has only grown here for 6 years so far? This will be its 7th year in the garden and it’s grown from a 6 ft tree to a 16 ft one, or more, since it’s really too high to measure it now. It’s so nice to be able to walk under it as you enter the house. Next to it is the Oregon Green Pine variety of the Austrian Black Pine. I’ll show you a picture of it next.

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This is the Green Pine with its new candles on it.   They look so classy with their bright white color against the dark green of the tree itself. I can hardly believe how big this has gotten in its 7 years there. It provides good cover for the birds and a screen to enclose the garden in front now and makes it all feel like a sanctuary there. It’ll get up to 20 ft tall and wide and it’s about 10 1/2 ft tall now. Not bad for a 4 ft shrub a few years ago…

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This is another new tree from a year and 1/2 ago. It’s a truly rare and unique tree – the first rare tree in America. It’s a Franklinia Alatamaha or Franklin tree, named for Ben Franklin himself by the friends of his – the Bartram brothers, botanists to King George III, who discovered it in 1865 along the Altamaha river in Georgia. They couldn’t find it again after 1803 and it’s never been seen in the wild since. All the existing trees come from the ones the Bartrams collected in the 1800’s. It has lovely white camellia like flowers (it’s in the Theacea with camellias) and turns a brilliant shade of reddish purple in the fall. I’ll profile it someday soon too.

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While we’re still in front I’ll show another rare tree. It’s an Acer Tschonoskii ssp Koreanum or Korean Butterfly Maple. It grew 4 feet last year and blew me away totally. It’s too huge now to measure of course but it’s huge. It turns a lovely reddish orange in the fall and is the very first maple to leaf out in mid February, before anything else is moving. It also loses its leaves early, so it balances itself out I guess. A unique specimen and a lovely place to sit on the bench to read or relax.

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I’m going to end today with a new garden area we planted this year. In it is a “Teddy Bear” Southern Magnolia. It’ll grow to about 20 ft tall and not very wide. This space used to be a hedge, which you can still see in the back. But we took out about 12 ft and turned it into a tiny garden. This magnolia is going to be blooming soon as you can see with its huge buds and new growth just starting.

So that’s it. I’ve enjoyed showing you some pictures of how the garden has grown. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too. I also hope I can keep up these posts this time but I have some health problems that make that difficult at times. The garden helps me so much with that.

Thanks for reading and happy gardening to you always. It’s nice to be back…

Steve

 

 

 

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