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 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Making a Grand Entrance

Beautiful sidelights and transom
"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"

"Not Hamptons Garden blog. We've moved.  Find the full blog post on the beautiful entrances of Beacon Hill at the link below:

Making A Grand Entrance

See you there!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let's Get Something Started

Japanese Stewartia dressed for fall
Seems like it's taking much longer for the leaves in and around my Hamptons garden to peak this year.  Autumn has been very wet and cool with little color.  I dream of sunny days when the garden and adjacent woodland burst with orange, yellow and red foliage.

Luckily, my Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia var. japonica) was on schedule.  Always one of the first trees in my garden to put on a colorful show,  some leaves turned a bronzed red and others a deep orange.

I read that orange and yellow pigments are always present in deciduous leaves but camouflaged by the green pigment of chlorophyll during the summer months.  When photosynthesis stops and the green chlorophyll disappears, the other colors are revealed.  Red pigments are made mostly in the fall and are the result of trapped glucose reacting to sunlight and cold temps.  Just thought I'd share.

This Stewartia was planted about five years ago to help enclose the front lawn and partially screen out the parking area.  It produces a beautiful flower in mid-summer that looks like a Camellia blossom (guess that's where it gets the pseudocamellia part of its name).  The blossoms don't last more than a day before dropping to the ground, but it does produce flowers in abundance for weeks.

Hopefully, this is just a prelude to the fall foliage show.  However, when regions nearby get tree-damaging snow in October,  I'm thankful to have leaves of any color on unscathed trees.

Fall foliage
Summer blooms