When Acers are at their best…

There are over 120 species of  Acers, commonly known as maples. An Acer  which is suitable for smaller gardens is Acer palmatum  (Japanese maple) , its beautuful foliage is at its best in the autumn sunlight. Its deeply dissected leaves can turn a fiery red, yellow or purple depending on the cultivar. They are slow growing trees; ideal for growing in pots too.

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Acer palmatum 'Garnet'

Acer palmatum ‘Garnet’

Acer palmatum 'Fire Glow'

Acer palmatum ‘Fire Glow’

They need sunlight to develop their characteristic colour, dappled sun is best and a sheltered position.

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Their elegant shape has been a symbol in Japanese gardens and Japanese art for centuries. In traditional Japanese gardens, nothing was left to chance, each item chosen according to aesthetic principles and to create an overall balanced scene. The Acer palmatum (momiji) , with its compact elegant shape, lent strength but did not dominate the scene.

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In addition to its cultural significance in Japan, the maple leaf is the recognisable symbol on Canada’s national flag.

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Its elegant beauty belies the relative ease of growing this tree. It doesn’t like being too wet nor too dry, important points if you grow it in a pot, nor does it like the soil too alkaline. It enjoys a garden compost mulch and a feed in the Spring. Otherwise it is a non-native tree which is ideal for a small garden where its lovely shape and leaves add elegance and its colour adds interest, particularly in the Autumn.

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Their dormant season, from November to February in the northern hemisphere, is the best time to prune them, although they are best when left to grow into their own graceful shape.

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Japanese maples have been grown in Japan for centuries, the first specimen reaching England in 1820. Numerous cultivars are now available and at this time of year it’s hard to resist their charms.

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More reasons to plant trees here.

(All photography mine; feel free to use any of Jardin’s images but please credit and link back).

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10 thoughts on “When Acers are at their best…

  1. Beautiful pictures! We grow a Japanese maple in a container, they are so versatile small trees. One remark though – the leaf from our flag (Canadian) doesn’t belong to a Japanese maple but to the native sugar maple – Acer saccharum.

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  2. Pingback: 10 more Best Garden Photos of 2013 | Jardin

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