For a blaze of autumn colour in even the smallest garden, it’s hard to go past the bright and bold foliage of a Japanese maple.
As the name suggests, these maples are native to Japan, growing as understorey trees in forests and the edges of woodlands.
Treasured for their dazzling autumn foliage display, they are most commonly grown as feature trees here in Australia and often take on starring roles in rockeries and in large pots. Some have lollipop-like, straight forms, while others fall in rippling waves that would look at home in a Japanese watercolour.
Weeping maples, like those used in Ian’s Melbourne garden design, are a popular type of dwarf maple. They are formed by grafting a fine-leafed Japanese maple with a weeping habit onto an upright understock. The tree will generally grow only as tall as the understock, usually one or two metres. Whilst all Japanese maples are deciduous slow-growing plants, they vary in format from small trees to large shrubs. They are happy in full to part sun, as long as they have protection from harsh conditions.
Autumn colour can be red, green, yellow or purple in a variety of leaf shapes and sizes. The best seasonal colour is shown in climates with clearly defined seasons. Japanese maples must go dormant over winter, so they have a hard time surviving in climates where it doesn’t get cold enough. The leaves have five, seven or nine lobes and are usually between 40 to 120mm long. They range from the broad classic maple form to fine or cut leaves, which are heavily lobed, to filigree or dissected lace-like foliage, and even variegated.
We’re sure you’ll agree that these trees really are show stoppers and certainly add a pop of ‘wow’ to Ian’s front garden design in Melbourne.