Best in autumn

I am barely enthused by autumn foliage colors, knowing the next step is that leaves drop for months until spring’s first growth. But, leaf colors do weigh in favoring one Japanese maple over another. Undoubtedly, the fern leaf full moon maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’, below) is the best of the lot. Today, after several frosts and three freezes, is its peak.

Some Japanese maples vary in color year to year, and certainly the fern leaf does, but it is always marvelous and always the best in the garden. If pressed, there are maples I favor more overall, but not for autumn foliage color.

A surprise this autumn is the leaf color of the ‘Atrolineare’ maple (above and below) that hangs over the pond by the deck. This Japanese maple is distinctive for its deeply cut, linearilobum leaves, but this season its color is splendid, more so than I can recall with a red much deeper than through spring and summer.

The brilliant colors of Japanese maples in spring often fade in summer’s heat, and then intensify in autumn’s first cold. Red leafed ‘Bloodgood’ and ‘Crimson Queen’ maples (below) often fade significantly, but October brings back their amazing colors that persist for weeks after neighboring trees have shed their leaves.

Autumn color of ‘Bloodgood’ often deepens in November, but it doesn’t seem like that will happen this year.

While red leafed Japanese maples are expected to turn a deeper shade of red in autumn, the colors of several green leafed maples are exceptional. In the first week of November, ‘Seriyu’ has not reached its peak color. The canopy of two upright, laceleaf ‘Seriyu’ maples extends over the front walk and the driveway. I am occasionally upset when a tall delivery truck knocks out a few branches, but these are usually small and make only a minor dent in the beautiful maple with foliage that peaks in color by the second week of November.

The laceleafed, upright growing ‘Seriyu’ overhangs the front walk with colorful leaves long in autumn.

A green leafed linearilobum Japanese maple (above) turns to yellow in autumn. The color would be better if not for areas of browned leaves.

A partially shaded ‘Burgundy Lace’ maple varies little from summer into autumn without bright sunlight.

A green leafed ‘Viridis’ Japanese maple stands out with its yellow coloring.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. The English gardener says:

    Gorgeous! I’m also enjoying my JPs as they provide color in a bland autumn garden.

    1. Dave says:

      For whatever reason, yesterday was the day that Bloodgood and other trees decided to drop leaves all at once. The garden is at least ankle deep in leaves now, with more to come, and thankfully most of the Japanese maples are still holding on.

  2. Mary Barker says:

    It’s so impressive that you can recall the varieties of each of your Japanese maples. What is your secret?
    I’ve recently been labeling mine; a task I wish I would’ve started many years ago.
    This “Ramble” has inspired me to check out my maples’ foliage further!
    Thank-you for the inspiration!

    1. Dave says:

      My memory is not so impressive. I remember some things and some plants, but I blank out on many just like everyone else. There are 35+ Japanese maples in the garden and while walking through I can probably remember twenty without consulting my little notebook where names of new varieties are added. I do not have a design of the garden marking individual plants, and while I’ve long thought about it, only a few plants are tagged with names. As is often the case, I have a selective memory. I conveniently forget many things.

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