"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My favorite tree.

This month marks 10 years since we bought our home.  I can't believe it's been that long already!  When we first saw our future house we were overwhelmed by the overgrown front yard.  You could hardly see the house from the street.  The previous owners clearly were not into gardening.  It's an older ranch style home, but in a great neighborhood and in a great school district.  With a 6 month old baby those two things were at the top of our wish list.  We could see all the potential the house had and it was in good condition.  As we walked through, the owners (a for sale by owner home) encouraged us to look at the backyard.   As I stepped onto the deck I was greeted by this gorgeous tree.  It was in April then and so this is pretty much what I saw.
This giant Japanese Maple must've been planted right around the same time our house was built over 30 years ago.  At some point a previous owner added a large deck onto the house and built it around this tree.  When I looked at the tree I could see its branches are perfect for kids to climb and sit in.
All year this tree adds so much interest.  In the winter the bare tree holds the snow on it's many branches.
In spring we watch the chartreuse leaves and tiny red flowers emerge as soon as the sun comes out.

In the summer it's the perfect umbrella over the table and chairs when we need a cool place to sit.  And in the fall it has the most beautiful color changes I've ever seen.  Often I go to the school yard behind us so I can get a really good view of it's shape and colors.  
The birds rest in the branches and the squirrels sometimes use it as a bridge to the taller trees. A few years ago we had the pine tree that grows over it limbed up and wow did the maple take off reaching for the sun.  If you click to enlarge this picture you can see the lichen and moss that grows on it.  I read that seeing lichen growing on a tree is a sign of a balanced environment and clean air.  Apparently it won't grow where the air is polluted.
I wish I had a better camera to really capture the whole thing, it's at least 30 feet tall.  From what I've read a mature Japanese Maple can reach 50 feet.  
I really think this tree is priceless, and I'm so grateful to have it in my yard.  How could we have passed up this house with something like this to look at everyday?
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30 comments:

  1. It is indeed a beautiful tree to raise a family under! You are very lucky!

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  2. That's the best thing the previous gardeners could have left you, a mature and all-season-interest specimen like that one. How lucky!

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  3. That is certainly a beautiful tree for every season. You are very fortunate to have one so large. Hope you are having a great afternoon.

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  4. I've seen these as bonsai specimens, too. But there is nothing like a glorious shade tree in the backyard. I can understand why it's your favorite.

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  5. They are one of my favorites. They are one of the few trees that actually change colors here in the South for us.

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  6. those are great trees.....Congrats on winning yet another give-a-way!!

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  7. You are so right! That tree is priceless. I simply love the J. Maples. My favorite small tree, next in line are the crepes. You have a real winner there. Can't wait til mine grow this big. Do you know how old it is?

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  8. How blessed you are to have such a beautiful tree to enjoy.
    Debbie

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  9. How blessed you are to have such a beautiful tree to enjoy.
    Debbie

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  10. That gorgeous Maple IS priceless! It's amazing the impact that a glorious tree can have on our lives (and property values!) One of the first things I did when we got to our new place in the Fall of '07 was to get as many baby trees in the ground as possible - hubby thought that I was doing it too soon, but in my view it's never too soon to get trees in the ground and growing! If my Vine Maples and Orgeon Ash follow the three-year perennial plant establishment pattern (Year one: They sleep / Year two: they creep / Year three: They leap!) I will have lotsa leapin' trees soon!

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  11. I've always held a strong affinity for the Japanese Maple. It began back in my teens when I saw a smaller version growing in a courtyard. I wasn't much of a plant geek back then but I kind of pride myself on knowing a good thing when I saw it.

    When we moved to our current location I planted a seedling from an established Japanese Maple in another part of the garden. Twelve years later it stands proud beside my pond and patio.

    Yes, I agree that your decision to buy your house was a good one.

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  12. It is a beautiful tree and you are very lucky to have it in your yard. Do the girls climb it? Or the oldest one? Nothing like a tree to climb and ya don't even have to be a tomboy - just need a nice place to be alone and think. I know this!!! ;-)

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  13. Wow, what a great tree! I have a baby lace-leaf maple planted last year, though it will never get that large, it will be fun to post about in 10 years (hopefully it will survive that long!).

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  14. Hi Catherine

    It's a beauty isn't it.

    Rob

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  15. Sheila - Thanks!

    Karen - We are lucky, there weren't too many things we saved in this garden. Most of what was here is gone except for a few trees and a couple of rhodies.

    Mildred - It really is an all season tree. I hope I can get outside a bit today.

    Prospereo - I haven't seen too many Japanese maples this big, they really are beautiful not matter how big they are.

    Dirt Princess - That's interesting, I didn't realize that there wasn't much fall color there. It must be the varieties of trees that grow there I guess.

    Darla - Thanks and Thanks :) I've never been so lucky in my life.

    Tina- We are lucky to have so many Japanese maples here, they are really popular although rarely do I see them this big. I'm guessing this tree is 20 or 25 years old. I love the crepes too! They don't grow here but I remember seeing them in Florida in bloom and loved them.

    Debbie - I do feel very lucky to have this tree!

    Bonnie - It really is true that a tree can have so much impact. Some of the new neighborhoods around here have had builders that left large evergreens and maples up and I think it's so nice since usually those neighborhoods have no trees left at all.
    I hope your trees leap this year!!

    Linda - Thank you!

    Grace - You definitely have good taste in plants. I don't remember noticing them until we moved here. I love all the varieties of shapes and colors they have. I hope you'll post a picture of your tree by your pond. I love how Japanese maples look next to water.

    Linda - Oh yes, my oldest daughter and her friends do climb it she also likes to hang jump ropes from it and swing on it. I remember climbing our apple tree when I was a kid and it was so great to be up and away from everyone else.

    VW - I love the lace leaf varieties. Won't it be fun to see the size difference? I like to take pictures of my girls in front of trees we plant so I can look back and see how much the girls and the tree as grown.

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  16. I absolutely agree that your J. maple is priceless Catherine. In my yard, the Bur Oak holds the same esteem and I have it deep root fertilized etc., every year just to make sure nothing happens to it. Congrats on 10 years in your home too ~ time sure does fly by, doesn't it?? You all have sure made a huge, positive difference in the garden/curb appeal since that date!

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  17. Catherine - that is an awesome Japanese Maple. It has a beautiful shade of green. Trees are just awesome things anyway. I know you do enjoy the shade and that was good thinking of the previous owner to build around the tree for the deck. Have a nice day.

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  18. It is beautiful! You can't beat older Japanese maples, they are just fantastic.

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  19. That is a beautiful tree Catherine. I can't believe how big it is. That alone would have been a selling point for me.

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  20. Hi Catherine- that tree is lovely. I can't wait until some of mine grow to be majestic and useful. It really is beautiful!

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  21. What a beautiful tree! Trees do make a whole area, don't they? I'm often amazed to revisit new estates after a few years and see how they have been transformed by trees.

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  22. I have never seen such a large Japanese Maple!!! It is stunning! It would have sealed the deal for me, too.

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  23. Kathleen - You probably take better care of your tree :) I try to put compost around it every so often and clean the pond filter with all the fish fertilizer in it right over the roots.

    Becca - It really is a pretty color and it changes quite a bit throughout the summer. I think the deck builders must've done a great job to care enough about the tree and go around it rather than cut it down.

    Phillip - I've hardly seen any as big as this one.

    Susie - I think I'll try to get a picture of it from the other side of the fence to show it's beautiful canopy.

    Heather - It is nice when you get some shade from these big trees in the summer, I bet it gets pretty hot there.

    Phoenix - I love going back to places I've lived or known to see how different they look as things grow in. Sometimes they get hard to recognize once the trees get really big.

    Ginger - It really was the only thing nice in the front or back of the house, everything else was way overgrown. I'm glad we have the house now and the tree really did make a difference.

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  24. Wow, what a fabby tree - I have an overwhelming urge to climb it! Pity you're so far away!!!

    I bet it's stunning in Autumn as the colours change. I'd love a J. Maple like that in my garden - no wonder you bought the house!

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  25. Nutty Gnome - It is so pretty in fall, the colors change almost everyday. Will you plant some in your Japanese Garden?

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  26. Great tree. The straight species green maples are my favorites of the Japanese maples. I feel like they are sometimes a little under-appreciated because of all the other showy varieties.

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  27. It's a beautiful tree. Slow growing trees are nice and strong, too. You are benefiting in so many ways... I love the fact that you are also receiving the benefit of summer cooling. :-)

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  28. This was a nice sentimental post. I'm trying to remember if you have any photos of the tree and deck. I'd like to see that part of the tree. It is a great looking tree.

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