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You can never have too many of these marvellous plants in your garden


Every year I fall in love with a new Japanese maple and add yet another specimen to my garden, abiding by the principle that no plot can have too many of these marvellous plants. I actually saw this one last year, bought a small standard and spent a lot of time admiring it. The colour holds up in the sun, the leaves have a delicate but not frothy look to them and that shape is well rounded and useful. And the fierceness of this past winter didn't affect it.


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I have them in two locations, including a semi-shady spot. It's the standard and I happen to need the shape there. The colour is muted. The second is now in a sunnier spot but not where it will get late-afternoon burning rays. All Japanese maples need good, well-drained soil. They don't do well in heavy clay or very sandy soils. Add a thick layer of compost to the surface and water very carefully so the silky feeder roots are fed. They don't want a lot of competition from the plants around them and that would include grass. They grow in-ground from Zone 6 up, but this is a plant that also adapts well to large containers that can be rolled into a protected spot for the winter (some can do well in Zone 5 if there is reliable snow cover). The tree grows to 1.75 metres, but very slowly.


Glorious spring and autumn colours. When the leaves unfurl, it's a moment of spring magic. Autumn brings wild red-purple, so place it very carefully (this one will look awful, for instance, near orangey brick facades, but serves as a lovely contrast against light surfaces). The shrubby shape makes it fit well in a perennial border.


Seen in many different nurseries around Toronto – Plant World (, Fiesta Farms ( and John's Garden Centre in Uxbridge, Ont. (, it can cost, depending on size, from $90 to $210.

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