New planting

In recent years, the Autumn Full Moon Japanese maple (Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’, below) has suffered in a bit too much sun. Leaves scorched slightly, several small branches died off, and if I wasn’t aware that this was a questionable spot from the start I would have been concerned. At first, I figured I’d wait it out. Occasionally, a tree or shrub will become more tolerant of less than optimal conditions the longer it’s in the ground (more often it will continue to sulk, or worse). It’s possible this could have worked, but I decided to go another route, and from early results, I’m glad I did.

Much to the consternation of my wife, I added to planting areas in the lowest part of the rear garden. I’ve been warned that not another blade of grass is to be removed anywhere on the property, but this really needed to be done and I figured she would never notice this minor addition. However, occasionally she reads these pages to see what rotten things I’ve said about her, and this time I was caught.

Two Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ are planted at the edge of the new planting area, where it is wettest. The one in damper soil is flowering, the other barely.

Fortunately, grass had already been removed, and several plants that were struggling in too much shade were moved to get the area started. I learned long ago to take action before I open my big mouth, rather than blabbing what I’m going to do and then having to hear what consequences are to come if I follow through. If the grass is already gone and plants already moved, what’s to be done?

Catmint is an exceptional perennial to cover sunny spaces between shrubs and taller perennials.

Now, she won’t admit it, but I think my wife might actually approve of the planting. This channeled runoff from this perpetually damp area, which seems to have dried it out, at least a little, and after eight or ten inches of rain have turned much of the area to swamp. The Japanese maple is only partially shaded at this point by a Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) that was sulking in too much shade, and really needed to be moved. The ironwood now shades the maple in late afternoon, at least a bit, and as it grows it should do a better job of protecting ‘Autumn Full Moon’ from summer heat.

Last week’s photo of Magician deutzia did not catch its color at it best. As the shrub has reached its spring peak, the color is exceptional.

The rest of the garden is managing nicely after the recent rainfall. Leaves and flowers are puffed up from the excess moisture, though there is danger that a sudden onset of summer heat could make a mess of things. The forecast for the next few weeks is relatively mild, so I expect a splendid late spring.

Yellow and blue flowered baptisias are great fillers between shrubs and behind lower growing perennials. I use it, and Amsonia as fillers.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Goodness, there really is a lot there; but you know, it does not look like too much close up, and the plant selection is remarkably tasteful. So many of us go for the garishly flashy. I tend to go for the garishly white. Oh well. Your selections seem to be rather ‘woodsy’ (if that really is a word). I particularly like the baptista. I happen to dislike Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), so the full moon maple, although similar close up, is an impressive alternative. I am impressed by the vine maple too, but it is not so cooperative.

    1. Dave says:

      The past two days I’ve toured Bloedel Reserve and Heronswood in Washington, and the Portland Japanese garden, that I haven’t seen in twenty years. Plenty of vine maples, particularly in Washington. If I had space I’d plant a vine maple, but it’s not likely that my wife will allow any additions. The rest of this week is business, touring Portland area growers.

  2. Ruth says:

    I like The idea of a “sulking” tree Dave and had to smile at the thought of your wife surreptitiously reading the blog! 😀. I like the fact you’re slowly removing the grass blade by blade and bet the bees are delighted also! Wonderful pictures as always. Thank you! 😀

    1. Dave says:

      My days of stealthily removing lawn are over. Probably.

  3. Daniela says:

    Ahh! The Japanese Maple “Autumn Moon” !!! So yummy! Almost bought it but couldn’t figure out where to place it. I love it! Even my husband approved it when he saw the folliage!

    1. Dave says:

      For years I sought a Golden Full Moon maple, but the only ones to be found were very small. Finally, I planted a full six footer with damage to the trunk (probably by a rabbit). This healed over quickly, and it has grown in part sun and shade from the late afternoon sun. A shorter Autumn Moon maple was planted a few years later. I recently saw a newly introduced, sun tolerant Autumn Moon maple called ‘Moonrise’, but I don’t know that there’s room to fit one into the garden.

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