Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Maples’

Beneath the Leaves

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana “Contorta)

I usually like to showcase lush green gardens or individual plants in this blog, with some miscellaneous posts here and there.  But it’s Winter and there isn’t much lushness around now.  So I thought I’d do something different.  It’s always fascinated me to look at the trees in the fall and winter when they’re bare of leaves.  You can finally see the structure of them.  They look so different without their clothes on and you can really see how the buds look and the ways they grow.  I’ll show you a few of the deciduous trees in our garden so you can see this structure and appreciate the trees from a whole new perspective.  They’re still beautiful to look at now, and you can see how I’ve pruned them to attain their current shapes.  It’s something that’s so much harder to see when they’re in full leaf.  Hope you enjoy the tour…

Jade Butterflies Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba “Jade Butterflies”)

Vanessa Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica “Vanessa”)

Red Pygmy Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum “Red Pygmy”)

Diana Japanese Larch (Larix kaempferi “Diana”)

Eddie’s White Wonder Dogwood (Cornus florida x nuttallii)

Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum “Sango-Kaku”)

Korean Butterfly Maple (Acer tschnoskii ssp. “Koreanum”)

Waterfall Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum “Waterfall”)

Dwarf Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum “Peve Minaret”)

Bloodgood Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum “Bloodgood”)

Miss Grace Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides “Miss Grace”)

Weeping Purple Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica “Purpurea Pendula”)

Red Fox Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum “Rot Fuchs”)

I hope this little story has given you a different idea of a new way to look at trees when they don’t have their leaves on them.  It’s a true art to learn to identify them by their buds and growth habits, without the leaves to guide us.  It takes practice, and I’ve personally found that the aspect is an easier way to identify them then the buds are, but that’s just because I haven’t learned the buds as well.  It’s a lot harder to do, but totally worthwhile to try to learn them.   There’s so much more going on beneath the leaves…

Seeing thru them,



NW Flower and Garden Festival

As I mentioned in my last post Louie and I spent several hours the other day at the NW Flower and Garden Festival.  It’s celebrating its 30th year as America’s largest family-owned garden themed show.  It’s truly amazing!   There are a number of of demonstration gardens, which are what I’ll be showing you here.  But there’s also a huge marketplace with hundreds of vendors selling all manner of garden products, as well as miscellaneous show type stuff.   There’s also a large plant market with a number of specialty nurseries who offer miniature conifers, bulbs and tubers, even Japanese maples.  I could only handle it for a few hours before sensory overload hit and we had to leave.  But I got a lot of good pictures and I want to share them with you here.

All of these gardens were created by dedicated teams of volunteers in just the 72 hours preceding the show!  Incredible!  Of course none of them would make it outdoors as planted – they’re not meant as literal gardens themselves and their job is to showcase various themes and styles rather than an actual garden design.  They move in literally tons of rock, soil, mulch and of course hundreds of plants, ranging from a few inches to 20 feet or more tall.  I always get a lot of ideas for my own garden, but of course it’s already so over-planted I don’t really have room for more.  But next year I’ll plan ahead better and get some bulbs at least.  But then the reason we go is just to enjoy the sights.  I hope you do too!

OK, thats about it.  It’d be nice if I’d been able to remember each display, but I didn’t have writing materials and it would have been too hard to remember each one anyway.  But I hope that just the designs themselves will be satisfying for you, as it was for me.  If you have a garden show in your area please do find time to go to it.  You’ll be supporting a good cause and be able to see some amazing garden displays and get your own ideas for your garden at home.  It’s worth the trip.

Happy Viewing,


Welcome to Our Home

I really did mean to publish this when I took it back in October.  But life was too busy then and I just never got around to it.   But it’s a nice image of the entrance to our house and I wanted to put it into the blog, so here it is, a bit late but still beautiful.

From the left the plants here are:  the Coral Bark Maple (Acer palmatum Sango-Kaku), turning its lovely golden fall colors here.  It’s only about 7 1/2 years old and has grown really fast.  I trained it to be narrow at the bottom so we could still walk past it to the steps and into the garden to its right.  It forms a nice arch to enter beneath.

Next to it is a cultivar of the Austrian Black Pine called an Oregon Green Pine.  It’s been here for 8 years and is expected to get twice its present size.  It has beautiful white candles on it in the spring.  It forms the other half of the arch to walk under to get into the garden.

The tree in the back is a Korean Butterfly Maple (Acer tschonoskii ssp. Koreanum).  It’s only been here for 3 1/2 years and has grown about 8 feet in that time.  It turns this beautiful reddish orange fall color and is the first tree to change color.  It’s also the first tree to leaf out in the spring and the first to lose it leaves in the fall as well.  Balance I guess.

Below it is a gray green Pfitzer Juniper (Juniperus chinensis “pfitzeriana”).  It’s one that Louie planted over 30 years ago.  It’d be huge now but I keep it cut back so we can walk the path and drive into the driveway.  Louie wants to dynamite it but I’ve got him to hold off so far with some selective pruning.  They do get large tho, and it’s going to be a constant chore as time goes on.

Above the juniper is a hedge of Pyramidal Arborvitae (Thuja occidentals “Pyrimadalis”).   Louie planted these over 30 years ago as well and they were only in gallon cans then.  They form a dense screen across the front of the garden so that it’s very private inside it all.  It’s a peaceful place to hang out in any time in the year.

The ones at the far right are a line of Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica “Moyer’s Red”).   They’re interspersed with Oregon grape across the front of the garden and were some of the first plants I planted here in 2008.  The nandinas turn this amazing purple red in the fall and winter and you can see the colors from way down the block as you drive towards us. They have brilliant red berries on them in winter but they aren’t edible, even by the birds.  Go figure…

That’s the entrance to our home.  We hope to see you coming up the walk one of these days to visit.  You’ll be very welcome here.  Cheers!

A Bit Of A Garden Tour

Entering the Front Garden under a Japanese Maple & Oregon Green PineThe Maple you enter under – Sango-Kaku, Wissel’s Saguaro Cypress to the left

In the middle of the front garden – Dwarf Hinoki Cypress, Red Fox KatsuraMoving along – Waterfall Maple, SarcococcaAt the end of it – Korean Butterfly Maple, Blue SpruceHeading into the Back Yard – Eddie’s White Wonder DogwoodThe whole thing

4 year old SweetBay Magnolia, Blueberries in color

The north side – Pine, Golden cedar, Black Dragon Sugi, Rasen Sugi, Taxodium, SequoiadendronIn the back corner – Japanese Umbrella Pine, Alberta SpruceJapanese Larch “Diana”Elegans SugiFrom the other side – Jade Butterflies Ginkgo in frontBack thru the garden – Baby Blue Cypress, Howard McMinn ManzanitaA dwarf Sequoia – Kelley’s ProstrateThe Persian Ironwood above it – VanessaThe Inner Glade – the FountainExiting the garden and returning to the real world. Bye, Steve

Acer palmatum “Sango Kaku”

I wanted a nice tree to walk in under as we came up to our front porch. I didn’t have the room to plant a big tree so I planted a smaller one that gets maybe 25-30 feet tall – big enough for my purposes for sure. In the following pictures I’ll show you how it’s grown so well over the last few years. It was small when we got it and I had to pick one that would allow me to train it so that it wouldn’t block the paths and stairs around it. I did a lot of work to accomplish that, including at one point tying it up so that it was straight, more or less. I dunno if that was really necessary but it worked and now it’s full and big and does the job I wanted it to do. See for yourself!


April 2010 – shortly after planting


October 2010 – with some nice fall color


May 2011 – after a year’s growth


August 2011 – getting a bit sprawly


January 2012 – in a little bit of snow – why’s it leaning?


August 2012 – much fuller now – getting big


May 2013- nice spring growth


November 2013 – bare after leaf drop. See how skinny it is?


May 2014  – lots of growth!


November 2014 – Fall color – see how the tips are going last? Last to grow – last to turn…


July 2015 – still skinny


October 2015 – gentle fall color – it gets brighter!


March 2016 – just starting to grow – see how red the new growth is?


April 2016 – in the rain – makes it look huge and cool-looking!


June 2016 – today – big enough to be a real tree to walk under now – finally!

It’s a bit hard to believe that this tree grew from a few sticks in 2010 to this 20 ft tree in about 7 years of growth. It’s still growing as I write this so I know it’ll get even bigger this year -and it’s still a baby in tree years. I did manage to accomplish my goal of keeping it very narrow so that we can walk up the stairs and into the garden without hitting our heads on the branches.

It’ll get a lot wider and still another 10 feet of of height perhaps and pictures I’ve seen of big ones make me kind of shudder – it’s going to be a big tree here, despite it’s being classified as a “small tree” in my books. It doesn’t get quite as big as the straight species which will get over 40 feet – even 50 for a really big, old one.

This one will do for us. It’s also known as the Coral Bark Maple for the bright red stems it puts on when they first come out. It’s supposed to resemble a tower of sea corral in Japanese, thus the name – “Sango Kaku”. Its lovely in winter, especially with a bit of snow on the ground around it. As they age the limbs turn an undistinguished brown but I still like it fine.

It’s pretty common in nurseries and even the big box stores (where I got mine! – eek!), so if you like this you’ll probably be able to find it somewhere in your area, depending on where you live of course. But common doesn’t mean it’s not great ya know – just that a lot of us like it… 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip thru memory lane with this wonderful tree. I only had a couple of good shots of the really excellent fall colors it turns – from the yellow I did show to a striking reddish orange that you can see from up the street. It’s a beautiful tree and I’m happy to have it to walk in under when I come home. Maybe you could do this too…

Rising from the sea…


9 Fine Maples


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.


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.


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.


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…


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!


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.


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.


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…


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,


Maples in the Sun


We’ve been lucky to get some sunshine lately and I happened to be out in the back yard the other day when I saw this shot. So I went in and grabbed my camera and took a few photos. (You can click on them to get a larger size shot). I was struck by how beautiful the Japanese Maples look in this picture. From the left is a small dark red one called Red Dragon. It’s a Dissectum type maple and is supposed to be “the best red dissectum”. I’m leery of superlatives but I will say it’s quite beautiful tho it hasn’t grown much in the 4 years it’s been here. But I like it just fine as it stays this dark red all summer long.

The one in the middle is called Red Pygmy and is a Linearlobum type maple. It has strap like leaves that are deeply cut, almost like a dissectum but not as much so. This tree looks almost bronzy golden in the sun but its leaves are actually a light burgundy and look lovely. This tree has grown immensely from a small stick to over 6 feet by 7 or 8 wide. It turns a spectacular golden in the fall.

The third one on the right is a classic Palmatum type of maple called the Bloodgood. It’s an Old standard that has been in cultivation in this country since the Civil War and is named for the Bloodgood Nursery on Long Island in the late 1700’s. It gets to 20 feet tall as opposed to 10′ for the Red Pygmy so it’ll get larger here and fill the space it has to grow into fine.

You can see several other plants in this shot. On the far right is a newish favorite of mine from just a year ago. In that time it’s grown 4 feet and is amazing. It’s a Cryptomeria called Radicans. I have several of the Cryptomerias and I love them all. All are unique and interesting. On the far left is a spreading yew, or Taxus repandens. It’s grown quite a lot in its years here and is a low dark green presence at the corner of the yard. Next to it on the right is a Wintercreeper called Gaiety, or Eunoymus fortunei. It’s trying to grow up the Plum but I’m not letting it do so.

To the left of the Plum is a Manzanita called Howard McMinn that shows off its reddish bark for you tho it’s a bit hard to see. I’ll do a full shot of it soon and show a bit more of it. In the center of this shot is a Leucothoe fontanesiana called Rainbow that turns lovely purples and reds in the fall, tho not as much as I expected. I love the fountain like display it puts on. It loves the water it gets when we clean the fountain too.



In this next shot of the garden a few steps closer, you can see the maples better and also the Blue Star juniper in the middle of the front row. Next to it is a Mugho Pine called Pumilio. It’s done well so far but not gotten too big which is fine with me. It holds down the corner of the garden there near the path. I should mention the two big trees you can see as trunks are an Italian Plum on the left that feeds many of the food bank folks we give the plums to. We like to eat them too but we get so many it’s good we can share them with others. The other tree trunk is a Queen Anne cherry that gives a lot of fruit to the birds but we rarely get any of them. Oh well, it’s a lovely tree and gives some shade to the otherwise open garden.




This is the closest picture of the garden and in it you can see the Heather blooming in the left of the shot, and next to it is another Cryptomeria called Elegans, for its elegant look and soft quality of its leaves. I’ve profiled it before and it’s one of my “Petable” trees. It’s grown from about 1 foot and 1/2 to over 9 feet in 5 years. Wow! I’m impressed. Also here are on the right side you can see the Variegated Sea Holly with its purple cast of blooms near the white picket fence. It’s the most bee friendly plant I have in that it attracts several varieties of bees and is covered in them at times in the sun. What spectacular sights to see and it holds its color for several months quite nicely. Also in the middle of the shot is the Coast Redwood I profiled a week ago – the Kelly’s Prostrate. It’s just to the left of the Red Dragon maple in front of the Heather.

So that’s the pictures of the garden in the sun. It’s so lovely when it shines thru things like it does now. I like how it illuminates them from behind like this. I was lucky to catch it when I did as we haven’t had much sun since this happened a couple of days ago. It’s still been in the 90’s tho, which is very hot for us here in Seattle. We’re melting…. 🙂

Japanese Maples rock!



Sum Ego Invicte

I Am Unconquered

Old School Garden

my gardening life through the year

A Tramp in the Woods

A nature diary from the Forest of Dean.



Phoenix - The Rebirth of My Life

Raise mental illness awareness. Stop the stigma. Save a life.


Poetry of the Soul

Kitt O'Malley

Love, Learn & Live with Bipolar Disorder

Uncle Tree's House

Putting music to words, and words to pictures ~

Forest Garden

Tips, tricks, and tools for gardening in a forest community

The Tropical Flowering Zone

Photographic Journals from the Tropics

Nodus Tollens

Insanity is relative

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Yes, I sometimes do write, without an apology;

I write without an apology; Because of the end time Evil in our land lately!


Spinning truth to net hearts

Jnana's Red Barn

Come see the world from my loft

Dawne Enlightened

Loving Myself to Overcome Abuse & Violence

The website of Luther M. Siler, Author/Editor/Curmudgeon

Art Attack

Discovering art in everything

Source of Inspiration

All is One, co-creating with the Creator


Riveting Real Estate & Fine Living Content from Las Vegas!!!


The greatest site in all the land!

A Stairway To Fashion


Crooked Tracks

Minnesota nature and photography

Dreamwalker's Sanctuary

A Sanctuary for Enlightenment and Peace through Poetry and Inspirational Thoughts as we go through Life

Social Action 2014

In the Wake of Suicide....trying to understand

I trust in you, O' Lord, my Savior, the One who died and rose again…. the One who brought me in and will carry me out, the Almighty waters and tides that bring us life. I come to You when there is no where else to turn, I come to You when there is. I look to You as my guiding Light, my Savior…. the One who created all I see- created my life and dreams before I knew myself~ created my talents and style before I knew the value~ I praise You and adore Your mystery. I will be strong and conquer as You would want for me. I beg of your blessings and miracles even though I am unworthy of Your power…. Yet, I trust in You~ and know You have already begun Your work. I love You. I don't know if that is a good enough word, "love"~ But I know You on a level---beyond words. Save me Lord. I will not let go of You. Hear me O' Lord. In Christ's Powerful Name Amen ~ By Brandon Heath

Garlic Celery Carrots

Adventures in Urban Farming


Transform your outdoor space


where natural health and fashion merge

Colorado Plateau Gardening & Horticulture

About the Past, Present, and Future of Farming on the Colorado Plateau

The Militant Negro™

Social Justice. Food. The Arts. Ideas. Opinions. Facts. Truth.

The Artistic Spider's Web

Catching Only The Best

Megan Has OCD

About Mental Health, Daily Struggles, and Whatever Else Pops in My Head


My Path is No Better Than Yours... It's A Path.

that cynking feeling

You know the one I'm talking about . . .

The Official Blog For Mental Health Project

Making mental health everyone's concern

Not Another Gardening Blog

Yes indeed another gardening blog.......a Designer's Perspective.

Looking for reasoning to a complicated world


Madeleine Moments

Time Lost, Time Regained

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Eddie Two Hawks

The seeds of peace planted within self sprout everywhere

"A Curious Mind"

We Need To Open Our Eyes To The World Around Us... . . . . . . . . . ♥ "Poetry" & "The World Around Us".. . and some ☺ . ..

everyday gurus

Everyday, Everywhere We Are Guided Towards Happiness

The Demons Of My Insane Sanity



Curious facts and cautionary tales ~ adventures in rural living

The Frustrated Gardener

The life and loves of a time-poor plantsman