Japanese maple fever! acer palmatum et al
Removing the plums and apricots created voids in the landscape that needed to be filled but what to plant? I was prowling through a big box home improvement store's garden section as I am prone to do and saw several named cultivars of japanese maple which was quite unusual. Normally only no name varieties are sold as "red/green leaf japanese maple". The price was very good for a 4-6 foot tree so we bought three a "Beni Otake and two "Villa Taranto". Now there's a 33% off sale so I couldn't resist and bought another. Also earlier this spring I spotted another unusual variety "Seiryu" a dissected leaf green maple. It's unusual because this one has an upright growth habit. All of the dissectums are weeping. So of course I had to buy this tree also. Now five fairly large JMs grace our yard.
Of course being obsessive I did some research on the web and also read some books on japanese maples. Apparently there are over 400 different cultivars and related maples! Oh joy! I've previously been interested in JMs for about 4 years but had not followed up on the interest. Now the dam has broken and I am buying tiny grafted trees online. I recently bought "Ao kanzashi, Green Trompenburg, Sazanami, Osakazuki, Katsura, Koshibori nishiki, Butterfly, Aka shigitatsusawa, Hubb's red willow, Kinran, Kihachijo and earlier in spring Koto no ito, Oridono nishiki, Beni kawa, Sango kaku and the related acer shirasawanum aureum, acer japonicum "Otaki" and "Maiku Jaku" (dancing peacock) and a "Tsumagaki" that died of fusarium disease.
Now where to put them all? Someone on the Gardenweb forums wrote that all this wanting is a disease. OCD. Apparently there are some who have almost all the 400 plus cultivars in their collection. I wonder where they plant them all? There are new varieties available every year. The japanese maple seeds readily mutates into interesting forms and colors. There are the cut leaf dissectums, upright trees, weeping forms, dwarfs, colored bark, variegated leaf, speckled leaf and different leaf colors when the leaves appear in spring then change to their summer color and of course the fall red, yellow and orange color. Well, as you can probably guess I'm in hog heaven and will be no doubt writing about this ad nauseum. Above I've included pictures of "Seiryu green upright dissectum on the left of the first photo and "Beni otake" (big red bamboo)next to the deck railing and "Villa taranto" in the photo on the right, a tree discovered on the grounds of the Italian resort Villa Taranto.