My wife tells me that this garden is full, with some good reason though there are small open spaces to be plugged wherever I look. The larger picture overflows with trees and shrubs planted over thirty one years, and she demands that any more planting will have to spill over onto the neighbor’s property. Long ago she prohibited removal of any more lawn in a manner that suggested she wasn’t kidding around. Today, the lawn is a fraction of the acre of grass that we started with three decades ago, and while I’m not a particularly good listener, there’s a time not to push things too far. This is one, though there are circumstances that dictate that a few inches of lawn are shaved off here and there.
When the small greenhouse was added last year this added a small area for planting, and for this I didn’t hear a word, at least none too harsh. But, I haven’t the courage to carve out areas for Japanese maples that are now sitting in containers on the patios, or for other maples that I’d add in a moment if I could cut out more lawn in good sunny spots. I have little need for grass, and an urge for more plants.
Of course, the Japanese maples already here take up more space every year. Lower limbs of a maple with pendulous branching along the driveway were pruned in late winter to save space, but another green leaved weeping maple (Acer palmatum dissecctum ‘Viridis’, above and below) in the back is now nearly fifteen feet across. Most of the Japanese maples in the garden grow more upright, so they’re easily planted under, though the area of shade spreads annually.
Early spring is the peak, when colors of Japanese maples are most vivid. And while flowers of maples are small and not highly ornamental, I am captivated by the dangling blooms and newly emerging foliage.