Two weeks ago my wife mentioned that there was little color on the Fernleaf Japanese maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’, below). A small section turned, but colors were not vivid, and larger areas had leaves turning brown rather than mottled reds and yellows.
I advised patience, of course mine is well documented, but I know that the fernleaf and a few other Japanese maples in the garden rarely display much color until November. Several maples in the garden are completely bare by now, but the fernleaf is prized is because it is unlike other maples, and it’s uniquely colored late in the season.
There are Japanese maples with more delicate, finely dissected and brightly colored foliage spring and summer, but the broadly spreading fernleaf, with large, deeply cut leaves remains my favorite. So when it turned a few days ago, with brown leaves now barely noticeable, I happily pointed out its greatly improved color.
Leaves of native dogwoods (Cornus florida) fell weeks ago. These color early, often in late September, and leaves drop when the first nights approach freezing temperatures. Chinese dogwoods (Cornus kousa) and the hybrids turn much later. Today, ‘Celestial Shadow’ (above) is splendidly colored, and long after most trees have dropped their leaves.