Japanese maples in autumn
Andrea Bellamy |

'Ao' Japanese maple

I’ve always thought of our back patio garden as a spring garden, with its ferns and ephemeral natives. It took a positive comment from my husband for me to look objectively at the space and think, “wow, it does look pretty great right now.” I know, duh, right? With three Japanese maples—one normally red, one green, and one yellow—plus a fourth deciduous tree (a European hornbeam) it should look pretty damn good in fall.

So, since my last post focused on trees I could grow if I had the space, I thought I should celebrate the ones I have—especially since they really are giving it their all.

'Beni Kawa' Japanese maple

Here’s Acer palmatum ‘Beni Kawa,’ otherwise known as that totally-out-of-control tree. Despite the fact that it is too large for its space, I do love its colouring. Its new growth (and it always seems to be growing) is deep red, and its leaves are a lovely pale yellow—at least until fall, when it seems to burst into flame.

'Beni Kawa' Japanese maple

Here it is again.

'Beni kawa' maple

And again. I can’t help myself.

'Fireglow' Japanese maple

Here is the aptly-named ‘Fireglow’ Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Fireglow’). Its new leaves are always this vibrant red, which reasserts itself in fall, and whenever the leaves are backlit. It is the only red-foliaged plant on the patio, and it really makes its point.

Ao Japanese maple

And finally, here’s one last parting shot. That’s ‘Ao’ Japanese maple in the black container, with ‘Fireglow’ peeking in at the back.



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