CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last year, we removed several overgrown euonymous bushes and some Virginia creeper around the front and side of our house. They had become unwieldy and just too darned big for the spot.
Typically, when I pull something out of my garden, I'm quick to fill in the empty space. I'm proud of myself - I've been pondering this spot for months now, as I want to get it right this time.
I want a tree to ground the corner of the house, and I think I want a Japanese maple.
There's one in the American Horticultural Society's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers called Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum.' I love the tree in the photo, and the description sounds perfect: "'Aureum' is noted for its elegant habit, compact size, and vibrant leaf color - the verdant greens of late spring and summer turning into peerless autumn brilliance." Who wouldn't want this tree?
So I e-mailed Holly Hoffman at TerraSalis and asked her about the tree. Her response was very helpful.
"When it comes to Japanese maples I want one of each," Hoffman wrote. "And there are hundreds of them. I have a little practical experience with them but mostly my knowledge comes from drooling over 'Japanese Maples,' by J.D. Vertrees and Peter Gregory published by Timber Press. I think the upright varieties look stunning on a corner."
Hoffman went on to give advice about these foliage beauties. "Some things to remember in siting one are the amount of sun and wind. Some varieties tolerate sun better, but none of them like a lot of wind. Also, planting in a frost pocket can burn the foliage or outright kill a tree that has broken dormancy in spring."
So make sure you plant in an area that is protected from early frost.
Hoffman said TerraSalis gets most of its Japanese maples from the West Coast. Both Milton and Malden locations have an interesting assortment coming this spring, ranging from 3-gallon through 15-gallon sizes, at about $75 to $450. They will have several treelike ones coming in including Acer palmatum 'Butterfly,' an upright vase-shaped sage green lacy leaf with white variegation and brilliant maroon fall color, and 'Fireglow,' a very vibrant red-leafed form.