I’m an idiot! This is not open to debate. My wife has decided and it’s final. Now, I don’t believe she thinks I’m a complete idiot, just mostly, and certainly concerning anything to do with the garden. There are way too many plants, she says. They’re too big, and she can hardly get around where plants have overtaken the paths. All true, I suppose. I offer (weakly) that she doesn’t have to go out in the garden at all, and then we’d both be happy.
My wife insists that she’s going to learn how to use a chainsaw to clear out some of the trees in our overcrowded garden, but regardless, I’ve been preparing my annual winter list of plants I can’t live without. The list is getting kinda long, maybe too long, so I’ve got some figuring to do.
I suppose that if I had more than an ounce or two of sense I’d realize there’s no room for another tree, but I’ve been eyeballing a few. There are more dozens of trees in the garden than I care to admit to, and at last count there were twenty-three Japanese maple cultivars. Some, I’ve planted two or three of, so what’s the harm in adding one more?
On a trip through nurseries in Oregon last summer I saw a Japanese maple with striking white foliage with pink highlights, and immediately I knew I had to have one. I’m certain that I’ve seen the Floating Cloud maple (Acer palmatum ‘Ukigumo’, above) before, but it has not been commonly available through nurseries, and if anyone grew it the small growing maple was likely to be at an extravagant price. Now, its cost has become a bit more affordable, at least to someone with hardly a lick of sense.
Where I’ll plant it is a mystery. I suspect that the creamy white leaves will burn in the summer sun, so the Floating Cloud maple will benefit from some shade, at least in the afternoon. Shade, I have plenty of, so my primary concern will be finding a spot with a bit of sunlight where the soil isn’t choked with roots from the poplars and swamp maples that border the garden. Will it have adequate space? No, but I’ll be happy in the meanwhile and I’ll worry about that in another ten years.
I’ve already ordered a Dove tree (Davidia involucrata, above) though I’ve not nearly enough space to plant a tree that grows to more than thirty feet. It’s going to be a small one at the start, and I’ll be planting it in a container to sit on one of the patios until it grows too large. The probably ill conceived plan is to someday plant this unusual and uncommon tree with handkerchief-like white blooms at one of my son’s homes, whenever it is that they get around to purchasing one, but after I’ve enjoyed the tree and until it becomes too large and a nuisance to keep around in a pot any longer.
If this sounds like a good plan I’d appreciate some help in explaining it to my wife. I’ve learned not to tell her about my spring planting plans until the plants are in the driveway, figuring that at that point it’s too late to do anything about it. This spring the driveway will be crowded with these trees, a collection of hardy orchids that I’m beginning, a few new hellebores, and whatever else. The plan has worked for thirty five years with no more than a few comments about my lack of intelligence, so why not for another?