Monday, November 14, 2011

Proud as a Peacock

Brilliant fall accent
Without a doubt, one of my favorite trees in the fall is the Japanese fullmoon maple cultivar Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium'.  The orange and crimson leaves glow, especially when lit by the sun.

Its common name is fernleaf maple which describes well the deeply cut and sharply toothed leaves.  In Japan, this tree is nicknamed 'Maiku-Jaku' which translates to 'Dancing Peacock'.

My tree started out as a container plant for my lower patio.  This was about five years ago.  I needed a special focal point while the vegetation in the surrounding beds filled in.  When winter approached that season, I thought the tree would fare better in the ground rather than in a exposed pot.   I transplanted it into a nearby bed with the intention of digging it up and replanting it back in the container the following spring.  Luckily for the tree, that never happened.  With more room for its roots, this beauty has grown to 11 feet so far (experts suggest it will top out at 12 feet, but I think mine may grow a bit taller).

Delicate fern-like leaves 
This past April, as its leaves were budding out,  I noticed from my window a few squirrels dancing around on the maple tree's branches.  A little spring fever I suspected.  But upon closer examination, I realized that the varmints weren't playing.  They were gorging on leaf buds.  I immediately chased them off and later sprayed the tree with a homemade red pepper spray.  They didn't come back, but I do think the squirrel pruning decreased this season's leaf count.

Overall, autumn foliage colors haven't been their best in my Hamptons garden this season.  However, my 'Dancing Peacock' has displayed "plumage" more brilliant this fall than any year I can remember.

Fallen leaves resemble colorful confetti 


Gardens at Waters East said...

I have not seen any posting since this one back some months ago. What has happened? Jack

Jeff, Gardener in Chief said...

My apologies. I'm back. Will try to post more regularly. Thanks for reading!