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.
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.
‘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.
‘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.