Japanese maples in bloom

There are dozens of flowering plants in the garden today, but I couldn’t let this week pass without showing off the emerging foliage and flowers of some of the garden’s Japanese maples. Most people don’t think of Japanese maples as flowering, but in fact most trees have flowers of some sort, it’s just that many aren’t very ornamental so they’re barely noticed. Some Japanese maples have flowers that are tucked beneath the foliage, some match the color of the leaves so they blend in, but others are more obvious. None are ornamental enough to be seen at a distance of twenty feet, but I enjoy them in any case. I make a point to visit them frequently through the spring, and I particularly favor several maples that have flowers that contrast with the new foliage.

Later in the spring I’ll take a longer look at the Japanese maples in the garden, but for today, here’s a sampling of flowers and foliage.

The leaves of Golden Full Moon maple (above) emerge a few weeks later than other maples, but it’s worth the wait. It is often recommended to plant to shelter the tree from the late afternoon summer sun, but mine is planted in nearly full sun with no problem.

Fernleaf maple (above) is one of my favorites. The flowers are the largest and showiest of any of the Japanese maples. The common name perfectly describes the foliage, and for six weeks in the autumn this is the most spectacular tree in the garden. 

The foliage of Scolopendrifolium Japanese maple (above) is a mid green, but the deeply cut lobes and graceful form earn this fast growing tree a spot in the garden.

For the smallest garden ‘Shaina’ (above) is the perfect Japanese maple. After five years ‘Shaina’ is barely three feet tall.

‘Viridis’ (above) is a low mounding, wide spreading green leafed dissectum Japanese maple. Its branches arch over the first of five ponds that I built in the garden, so that it has to be carefully pruned each year to keep its graceful form without allowing it to overwhelm the small pond.  

‘Gwen’s Rose Delight’ (above) is sold under the trade name ‘Shirazz’. In spring the red leaves are bordered by a thin pink edge that fades by mid summer.

The variegated leaf ‘Butterfly’ (above) emerges early, and new leaves often feature a bit of pink that fades as the leaves mature. 

‘Bloodgood’ (above) is the standard of red leafed, upright growing Japanese maples. The newly emerged foliage in the photo will flatten out after a few weeks.

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6 thoughts on “Japanese maples in bloom

  1. Completely gorgeous photo montage. Thank you for the glimpse into an aspect of JMs that most of us don’t stop to take notice of. Now I’m really missing the ‘Orangeola’ I left when we moved last year!

    • ‘Orangeola’ is a good one. I’m quite content with my acre and a quarter garden, but if I had five sunny acres I would grow another fifty Japanese maple varieties.

  2. I’ve got a tiny lot so my JM “collection” consists so far of one small fernleaf maple in a patio container. I loved the artistic sweep of the reddish young twigs before it leafed out and I can’t wait to see it in fall. I did put in one paperbark maple (Acer griseum) in the sunny front lawn, though!

    • I noticed yesterday that my fernleaf maple is beginning to occupy a bit more space than I bargained for. It has nearly overwhelmed a nearby holly. I’ve planted so many things too close over the years, and I’m always interested to see which plants win out. In this case the Japanese maple is shading the poor holly , which will disappear completely in a few years.

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