• Helen Bell

May 2021 Gardening Tips

6 May 2021

A Garden Tip from Helen...

If you have more than a passing interest in gardening, you have probably indulged in planting more than one of a specific variety of plants. I certainly have and one of these plants is the Japanese maple. Besides its grace and interesting leaf structures, it offers many color choices, so in my landscape, I have introduced five different ones.

My Love of Japanese Maples

The first plant I put in the ground when we bought our property some 40 years ago was a Japanese red maple – probably the most common in this genus. It has proved to be a hardy plant. During the early days on our property, I ran over the tree with the car a couple times since I didn’t plant it in a protected area. Now, it is the focal point of the backyard!

Three other varieties of Japanese maples were planted in 2009. Two of these are planted close together but have such different shapes that few people identify them as being of the same species. The tall red one is a Shojo Nomura and the small orangey-red one is an Aka Shigitatsu Sawa.

Shojo Nomura Aka Shigitatsu Sawa

The “Lion’s Head” Japanese Maple

And then, I became fascinated by a tree I saw in a nursery some years ago and just had to have – the “Lions Head” or Shishigashira Japanese maple. This particular tree was priced somewhere in the neighborhood of four hundred dollars and was probably a mere five feet tall. I was intrigued by the shape of its leaves - the naturally curved growth. I sought another one out, and for much less money bought a baby tree. When mature, the leaves will curve even more. Unfortunately, this variety grows maybe an inch or two a year, so it will still be some time before it becomes a standout in my yard!

Lion's Head (Shishigashira) Signature curving leaves

The fifth variety in my yard is the Toyoma Nishiki and is a favorite with my bunny population! All these trees are easy to grow and appear to be resistant to disease. Why don’t you try some at your house!

Happy gardening,