Rosemary Barrett Maples

ISBN 13: 9781552978849

Maples

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9781552978849: Maples

Cultivating maples in gardens or containers.

Prized for their graceful appearance and brilliantly-colored leaves, some maples flower in the spring while the red leaves of others in fall brighten the dullest day. Maples can be upright or weeping, giving gardeners additional options when landscaping. Maples offers practical advice for using these trees to their best effect.

Maple varieties come in bewildering numbers. This book breaks down the major groups and explains the conditions needed for growing each. While the maple requires well-drained, acidic soil, it can grow in less-than-ideal locations with proper care. Barrett includes specific conditions and describes the ideal factors for cultivation. Overcoming adverse conditions is covered in detail.

Key sections of the book include:

  • Cultivation
  • Propagation
  • Japanese maples
  • North American maples
  • Maples from other lands
  • Landscaping with maples
  • Companion planting
  • Maples in containers

In an A-Z format, illustrated with color photographs throughout and written in a personal, accessible style, Maples offers valuable advice for growing the many varieties. By successfully cultivating maples, gardeners can share a legacy that not only changes beautifully with the seasons, but will endure for generations.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Rosemary Barrett owns a nursery and writes about trees and shrubs for garden magazines and specialist periodicals. She is author of Magnolias and Hostas.

Derek Hughes specializes in garden and horticulture photography and his work has appeared in many books and magazines.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Preface

Before starting to write this book I asked myself why I was doing it, and for whom. The answer was this -- I love maples above all other trees, and would therefore like more to be grown. If I wrote a book that would tell gardeners who had not grown any (or many) maples before, how very beautiful they are, and how very easy and rewarding they are to cultivate, then I would feel I had provided information that hopefully would mean more maples would be planted.

In their splendid book The Garden Tree, Alan Mitchell and Allen Coombes wrote, "A herbaceous garden disappears in two years of neglect, but a tree thrives on 200 years of it." They added: "No one need refrain from planting trees for fear they will not be looked after. They will look better if cared for, but will survive even if they are not."

Planting a tree is a very significant task, not because it is difficult -- quite the opposite, in fact -- but because it will flourish after the gardener has gone to the great arboretum in the sky, and may survive for dozens, if not hundreds, of years. The seasonal changes will delight succeeding generations as they did the innovative gardener, and wildlife from bugs to birds will take shelter in its branches.

Any book written for gardeners as distinct from a botanical treatise must surely place heavy emphasis on the Japanese maples, Acer palmatum, A.p. var. dissectum and A. japonicum, although others will be discussed as well. This emphasis is made because the obvious beauty of Japanese maples has enthralled gardeners for hundreds of years, and also because many are small trees that may be accommodated in any patch that calls itself a garden.

Why are maples so special? They are prized for their wonderfully colored leaves -- brilliant in the spring and often more brilliant in the fall -- and they have attractive seeds and a graceful habit of growth, whether it be upright or weeping. As the seasons change so does the appearance of the trees, but whatever the changes, they are always beautiful. For me, and I am sure for legions of others, these are trees of perfection.

By growing maples, gardeners will receive great delight from these changing beauties through the endless cycle of seasons. They will be giving posterity pleasure not only by enhancing the landscape, but by improving the environment -- and all this from a simple desire to beautify the garden. If you agree with me that maples are some of the most beautiful trees, then let's plant a lot of them.

It is necessary to do some planning before planting, to decide what is to go where, because, although it can be done, it is neither practicable nor desirable to move trees around like perennials. We will discuss this aspect in the chapter on landscaping. In other chapters we will discuss varieties, their requirements and where to place them.

Introduction

Almost all maples are deciduous trees, and they vary greatly in size and shape. They have palmate leaves, which in nonbotanical language means they are shaped like a hand, and you could (with the use of a little imagination) see the points as fingers. These "fingers," or lobes, usually number between five and nine; occasionally 11. Some are deeply cut, and some, just to confuse the issue, are not cut at all, though most of these do not actually concern us, being either unsuitable as garden subjects or not in cultivation.

I imagine that when most of us think of a leaf (except in fall) we most likely think of it as green, but if we think a little longer we realize that this is not always the case. Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' has dark purple leaves; A.p. 'Orido-nishiki' is variegated in pink and cream; A.p. 'Beni-komachi' is startling scarlet; A.p. 'Shin-deshojo' is bright pink; A. platanoides 'Crimson King' is a deep, dark red; and A. pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum' is shrimp pink. There are many more, of course, which will be discussed in the following chapters.

In fall, maples' leaves are a vibrant glory in red, gold, crimson and orange. It is clear that one of the main reasons for growing maples is their wonderful leaves, never static, changing all through the seasons, and never less than beautiful.

When you think of a Japanese cherry you more than likely visualize a froth of pink blossoms. Maples are not in this league, but many do have pretty flowers -- not the sort you put in a vase, but attractive all the same. They grow in either racemes or bunches called corymbs. Some maples, such as Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' and A. 'Rubrum', flower before the leaves unfurl. These flowers are beautiful in themselves, adding an appreciated extra dimension to the trees. Others flower as the leaves appear, and are not quite so striking.

Where you have flowers you usually get seeds. Those of maples are gorgeous, for they have two wings each with a seed in the center. These winged seeds are known as keys or samaras, and in Maples of the World, authors D.M. van Gelderen, P.C. de Jong and H.J. Oterdoom remark that they "are as much the hallmark of maples as acorns are of oaks." The wings look vaguely like the blades of a helicopter, and help the seed flutter away to find a good place to germinate when ripe.

Maples really are a cornucopia of riches, for many of them have striking bark as well. This is particularly attractive in winter when you are nor distracted by flowers, seeds or leaves. The term "snakebark" is applied to those with striped bark -- sometimes green and white, sometimes purple with white striations.

It can be easily seen what treasures maples of all sizes and shapes are, and how fortunate we are to have such wonderful choices.

It is always rewarding to know something about the history of the plants we grow, just as most of us like to know something about the people who went before us.

Maples come from the Northern Hemisphere, from the temperate climate of North America and, of course, from China, Japan and Korea. Although various species live close together and are very similar in appearance, they do not interbreed.

The history of plant hunting makes fascinating reading. It is beyond the scope of a book such as this to do any more than note that Britain, Holland, France and North America all had plant hunters, very often missionaries, sending home plants and seeds from various countries, and we have reaped the enormous benefit of their endeavors. In their travels, these plant hunters found maple seeds and plants (as well as thousands of other plant species) that they sent home and these were developed into plants that could be cultivated in gardens.

At the end of a long chain of bravery, endeavor, skill and zeal, we, as present-day gardeners, can reap the benefits of hundreds of superb cultivars in myriad sizes, shapes and colors. We may not often give a thought to the history of the plants in our gardens, but just by growing them we are playing a role in their preservation. However brave and resourceful the plant hunters, and however enthusiastic the connoisseurs, unless we ordinary gardeners grow what has been so laboriously gathered for us, these treasures could well be lost.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Barrett, Rosemary
Published by Firefly Books (2004)
ISBN 10: 1552978842 ISBN 13: 9781552978849
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