Japanese maples bring an elegance and beauty to the garden. My late brother, Jeff, and now my son-in-law, Daniel, have influenced my feelings toward these trees. The foliage is beautiful, and the growth is easily controlled for most varieties. Some trees sport bark in vibrant colors while others grow limbs in patterns that force the garden visitor to stop and take note.
Daniel has gifted four Japanese Maples to the gardens at Paths of Hope. He chose each variety specifically for the conditions, and his selections have added four seasons of benefit.
Daniel’s personal garden is a Japanese maple and conifer haven. At last count he had twenty-seven varieties of Japanese maples in ground with another twenty-eight varieties in containers. He knows each by name and can share their characteristics from memory. I need tags to recall names, and at Paths of Hope we’ve often give our trees proper names. Yes, we have a Sarah, a James, a Chuck, and a Christina.
Jeff’s contribution to Paths of Hope was a Japanese maple of unknown variety. He found a seed on the path at a garden shop years ago, and with the owner’s blessing carried it home to plant. Jeff tended the resulting tree as a bonsai until his health declined. When the tree surpassed his deck space Jeff asked me to take it home to my garden.
The video below includes pictures of the flaming orange explosion Jeff’s tree shares with us each fall. He’s gone now, but his garden passion lives on. Three years ago the tree began to form seeds, and a few seedlings sprout each spring.
I potted some of the sprouts to see what would happen. With seed propagation the child plant does not always prove true to the parent though we can tolerate some variance. The wonder is in growing the tree from a seed and then planting it in the garden.
At last count we have six such trees that we’ve grown this way—four in ground and three potted. I have tagged a three-year-old sapling with Daniel’s name, and I hope his tree provides the same fireball of color each fall. Jeff would be delighted with these botanical developments.
In the video we release into the wild a Japanese maple grown in captivity. Exciting times in the gardens at Paths of Hope.