Greenwalks

Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Hunting Maple November 17, 2008

The tree that’s been on my must-have list for the longest time is a Japanese maple, or acer palmatum. I need to find the perfect home for one, or maybe a couple, and care for the tree(s) well enough so that they will survive. I have been afraid of the virus they can fall prey to (verticillium wilt), plus it’s just so hard to decide which one(s) to get. Should it be ‘Sango-kaku,’ with its brilliant yellow leaves and dramatic red bark? Or a red-purple ‘Rubrum’? Or how about ‘Linearilobum,’ with its finger-like leaves and multi-hued fall glory?

In Japanese culture, “Momiji-gari” or hunting/viewing maple trees is a tradition almost as revered as the springtime ritual of traveling to view cherry blossoms. This site, Way of Maple, promotes the aestetic prunining and enjoyment of the species, and provides a translation of one of the many Japanese poems celebrating the tree:

By the wind storm’s blast
From Mimuro’s mountain slopes
Maple’s leaves are torn,
Which turn Tatsuta River
Into a rich brocade.

-Monk Noin

Japanese maples are popular in Seattle, so I decided to go on my own little “maple hunt” one day last week and see how many I could find, especially in the parking strips of my neighborhood. Turns out there were a lot! I will share some with you below, and save a few for another time, perhaps when the leaves are all gone and we need a few bright colors to get us through the winter blahs.

Turning maple

Fiery maples

Maple sky

Tricolor maple II

Maple branches

Scarlet maple II

Maple leaf carpet

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8 Responses to “Hunting Maple”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Where I am (Toledo, OH), there are a lot of very tiny Japanese maples, sometimes only about two feet tall, presumably on purpose. It always hurts a little to see them. I like the ones you found much better.

  2. Philip Says:

    I love japanese maples. In our old garden years ago We did not two cents to rub together but this will not stop a gardener! I purchased a japanese maple from the bonsai section of the nursery. This had not been bonsaied yet, but was very small and inexpensive. By the time we left that garden it was 8 feet tall and lovely. I wonder how it looks today!
    That is the great thing about trees, you ultimately plant them for future generations.
    Best,
    Philip

  3. Racquel Says:

    Those are some beauties! I love the variety of colors too. We had one here when we bought our house 11 years ago but it died the 3rd year, some type of disease or insect damage. 😦

  4. Hi Karen.. so nice to hear from you ! My Dad has a beautiful old fig tree in the garden in cold Linconshire in the UK. With global warming there were aparently edible figs this year.. they have to go two seasons to ripen.
    I am hopeless at keeping up with blogs ..just not enough hours in the day! .. and I am STILL looking for some parking strip gardens here! I did see one the other day but couldnt go and sample anything as owner’s were sitting outside. 🙂 I’ll probably have to return at night …
    Gorgeous colours on your photos, not much respite from the relentless green here in Florida..

  5. I have always loved those beautiful Japanese maple I find when I visit the PacNW. They don’t do well here (limey soil), so I can’t have one, but I’d plant it in a minute if I could!

  6. Anne Says:

    Delightful tour of your neighborhood maples! I was just visiting a friend in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead CA, and he has beautiful maples. One of my favorites is the Waterfall variety.

  7. Cynthia Says:

    Beautiful color! All the ones around me have dropped most of their leaves now. I was not fast enough with my camera to capture them in all their glory.


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