Archive for Japanese Maples

Falling for Fall

I am sure we have all heard of Murphy’s Law. I had just been patting myself on the back for not having a cold since we moved to Barbados. I was a bit worried that I would pick one up every time we flew back and forth, but nada! Till this time… darn it! Just before we left, it struck, so there was no turkey dinner for me this Thanksgiving, hope yours was a lot better.  Sorry for the lack of a post last week, I was still recovering.

My two favorite seasons have always been spring and autumn. And now that I am living in the land of permanent summer, they are even more important to me.

I am sure that everyone knows (after listening to it over and over again) how I feel about spring, but I do not know if I ever harped  told you how much I love fall. I love when the nights start cooling down, and you can have a fire. When you can layer a sweater over a t-shirt and you instantly look more stylish, at least I do. When the food changes to heartier dishes, instead of salads. And when the leaves start turning. Oh the glorious colours they go.  Eastern North America is renowned worldwide for the autumn colours and I certainly missed it when I loved in England. Not that they don’t have some lovely autumns, but there is nothing like a sugar maple in the fall. Not to mention sumac, wow could they be any brighter.  Unfortunately we leave Canada before the height of the fall season, but I am starting to get a little preview.

Looking forward to it getting a bit bigger.

Amazing leaves on the Coral Bark Maple

The coral bark maple is starting to be glorious

 and Hakonechloa ‘Beni Kaze’ is changing colour.

Japanese Maples are amazing, ‘Waterfall’ is green all year, but look at the fall colour,

and ‘Full Moon’ is starting to do its stuff as well.

And look at the mushrooms that have decided to make Kilbourne Grove their home, such a great harvest look. Luckily I don’t like mushrooms, so I look and definitely don’t touch!

Burning Bush at my SIL



I will miss the full neon effect, but I am glad I was able to get a bit of a taste for fall.

By the way, do you say fall or autumn? I read that autumn was English and fall, American, but I think it is a bit mixed up know. As a Canadian, heavily influenced by both England and America, I say both.


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Spring with Marion Jarvie

I never really know where spring actually ends and summer begins. I know the date, the official date on the calendar. But in real life, it feels different. For me when the tulips and daffodils stop blooming, for me that is the end of spring.  But this was advertised as spring, so I am going with it. I always look for any opportunity I can to take a garden course, I just love to learn. And taking one in an actual garden, instead of a classroom is a huge bonus. You are not looking at carefully composed slides, but at the actual plants, warts and all. So when a course was offered at Marion Jarvies garden, I made sure to sign myself up.

Marion always has the newest and most interesting plants. A lot of growers will ask her to trial plants for them, this helps them decide whether or not they are worthwhile offering to the public. Of course, I see plants that I want, and then find out they are not available yet, or would be out of my budget, at least until they have been on the market for a few years, oh well.

She has quite a few varieties of Cornus, but these 2 really tickled my fancy.

Cornus ‘Venus’ is the largest flowered variety.

These blooms are huge. It really makes an impact from far away, unlike my smaller kousa chinensis.  Also making an impact from further away is Cornus kousa ‘Lemon Ripple’.

Gorgeous yellow and green leaves will certainly add a stunning contrast in the garden. I wish I could have purchased this one as it was for sale, but we were taking the bus to Kilbourne Grove, and Ian did not fancy sitting with it in his lap for the journey, I can’t understand why!

I have been visiting Marions garden for quite a few years, and Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ has always been my favourite tree in her garden

 I have longed for one for years, and finally, this spring, on a visit to Lost Horizons with teza, I was able to purchase one.  Look at how white the leaves are, a lovely contrast to the weeping Cornus beside it. Of course it will be a few years before mine is as statuesque as this one, but I am willing to wait.

Another tree with lovely white foliage is

Cornus alternofolia ‘Argentea’, and Marion also has this one. It can be the Holy Grail for gardeners in North America, difficult to find, and very expensive if you find it, but an amazing tree.

Japanese maples are a highlight in this garden, and she has many forms. My favourite is this one.

 I am going out on a limb here, as I forgot to pack my notebook with the name in it, but I am pretty sure it was ‘Koto No Ito”, Strings of a Harp.

I love the contrast of the two different sizes of leaves, and look at it with the Berberis, gorgeous. Hopefully you will see this combination at Kilbourne Grove one day.

Another gorgeous Japanese maple is “Geisha’. 

Marion actually has two,

 one planted in a bit more of a shaded woodland setting, beside ‘Peaches and Cream”, and the other with more sun.

That one is certainly more pink, it really stands out in the garden. ‘Geisha Gone Wild’ is in the front garden,

it is also quite pink, but has a contrasting edge on the leaf, where ‘Geisha’ has a contorted dot of green.

I also spied a

 Full Moon Maple or Acer shirasawnum, as well, I am not sure if I mentioned that I purchased one last fall, sale item of course.  From what I understand there is two different varieties,

this one has some colour on it in the spring, can anyone tell me if these are both shirasawnum?

I purchased a dwarf Berberis ‘Gold Nugget) from Marion a couple of years ago, and it looks good all year. This has opened my eyes up to growing more Berberis, and Marion has a couple of beauties,

 including this one called ‘Sensation’. love it,

also ‘Golden Rocket’ another amazing berberis.

Another tree I have been toying with the idea of purchasing is the Fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus .

 Marion has just planted one and I look forward to seeing it mature in the years to come, certainly not a common tree.

When I had stayed with my friend Barry, I noticed a beautiful Juniper ‘Gold Coin’ (which also seems to be known as ‘Gold Cone’),  then I happened to see it in Marion’s garden as well.  

This one is tiny, but Barry’s is over 6 feet tall.

Once you notice something it seems you see it everywhere and you wonder why you were blind to it for so long. And since I seem to be on a golden foliage kick lately, I am certainly adding one of these to my (ever-growing)wish list.

I love how Marion layers hers trees and shrubs,

 hope I can achieve a similar effect at Kilbourne Grove one day.

When I was at the front of her garden I spied this shrub.

It was only released a few years ago, and I have never seen it in real life. Viburnum plicatum ‘Popcorn’ grows in tiers like other double file viburnums, but the flowers are ball like instead of flat.

This part was interesting for me.

Marion had this Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ as a shrub in her garden and decided she wanted to make a tree from it,

looks amazing. I happen to have five that were free from work and I have always been wondering what to do with them, mine are a bit rangy. She clips it twice per year as the new growth is the most sensational! Great idea.

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A Love Affair

I am on a bit of a Japanese Maple kick these days. I blame Loblaws!

They have always been expensive trees to buy and I never once thought about investing in one.  Sure, I thought they were beautiful and I enjoyed seeing them in other people’s gardens.

All photographs taken at Marion Jarvies garden, (not my own, boo hoo).

Last Fathers Day, I started down that slippery slope.  Loblaws had Japanese Maples for sale in two gallon pots for $20.00!!!!!!!!!!

How could I resist? Obviously I couldn’t, so I bought three.

Two of them were ‘Red Dragon’ a red cutleaf variety, and the third ‘Waterfall’ has a green cut leaf.  I put them in pots on my shady terrace in Toronto and enjoyed them all summer.  When winter started approaching, I googled ways to look after them. Margaret Roach one of my favourite garden bloggers, also has Japanese Maples in pots in her garden in upstate New York. She moves them (with a hand truck or dolly) to her barn, where they stay all winter.  I do not have a barn, but I do have a garage, so I thought about this.  But when I was living in Kingston, I used to just bury the plastic growers pot of my ‘Bloodgood’ in the garden. It lived a number of years this way, and when I moved to England, I gave it to my dad.

So last fall, I buried the three plastic pots in my Kitchen Garden and piled a few leaves over top of the pots.  If they did not make it, oh well, I had enjoyed them all summer (and a mighty expensive annual they would be).

This spring they were perfect and I gave myself a major pat on the back. And I had to reward myself, and Loblaws once again led me into temptation.  This year I purchased another ‘Red Dragon’ (what can I say, I love red) and also ‘Butterfly’ a green and white variegated leaf with a bit of pink spring and fall.  This one is not a cut leaf weeper, I was branching out with more of an upright variety.

But there was a Japanese Maple that I had lusted after for many a year. The Coral Bark Maple or ‘Sango Kaku’ was so amazing. The leaves have a red edge on them in the spring, red stems as the leaves turn green in the summer, and the most amazing coral bark all winter.  It is also one of the hardier Japanese Maples.  When I saw it for sale right around my birthday, I knew it was just meant to be.  Not $20, but at only $55 I could not say no.

I thought that it would be easier to photograph the leaves, rather than the whole trees, but the colour is not as great as I would like.  In the top row, we have ‘Red Dragon’ and then also ‘Red Dragon’, however this one is not as red as the first, maybe not as much sun as it is on the other side of the terrace. In the second row, ‘Butterfly’, can you see the tiny bit of pink on the leaf, then ‘Waterfall, and on the end, ‘Sango Kaku’, now in her summer outfit of plain green leaves, but with a lovely strip of red on the stem.

Here you can see (most) of them on our terrace.  In a couple of years I will probably plant them directly in the glazed pots and then will have to follow Margaret Roach’s advice and take them into my garage for the winter, but this year I am going to bury all six in the Kitchen Garden.

Next year, will the love affair continue?

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