Japanese Maples: The Complete Guide to Selection and Cultivationby Peter Gregory, J. D. Vertrees
Among the first titles published in 1978, with more than 150,000 copies in print in three editions, Japanese Maples is a Timber Press classic. Japanese maples are unlike any other tree. They boast a remarkable diversity of color, form, and texture. As a result of hundreds of years of careful breeding, they take the center stage in any garden they are found./i>
Among the first titles published in 1978, with more than 150,000 copies in print in three editions, Japanese Maples is a Timber Press classic. Japanese maples are unlike any other tree. They boast a remarkable diversity of color, form, and texture. As a result of hundreds of years of careful breeding, they take the center stage in any garden they are found. In the last decade, the number of Japanese maple cultivars available to gardeners has doubled and there is a pressing need for an up-to-date reference. This new fourth edition offers detailed descriptions of over 150 new introductions, updates to plant nomenclature, and new insights into established favorites. Gardeners will relish the practical advice that puts successful cultivation within everyone's grasp. Accurate identification is made simple with over 600 easy-to-follow descriptions and 500 color photographs.
—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post, December 8, 2001
—John Van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger, October 21, 2001
"Since 1978, the basic information source on these small trees has been Japanese Maples by J. D. Vertrees. "
“The comprehensive information on the growing of Japanese maples is extremely valuable and well done [and] their care, preservation, and propagation are fully and expertly documented herein.”
- Timber Press, Incorporated
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- 8.80(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Read an Excerpt
I admit prejudice, but I feel this group of plants has one of the greatest ranges of use and beauty of any horticultural plants in use today. The diversity of size, color, form, shape, and utility is so great that, when Japanese maples are selected wisely, they will fit almost any need. We do not think of them as flowering shrubs. Even though maples have very interesting blossoms, some quite colorful, they are not a predominant characteristic. Many people do not even realize that they flower. Blossoms of many cultivars, such as Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium', are quite striking, though not large and perhaps of interest only to the more discerning gardener.
However, the lack of bold blossoms is more than offset by the great variation of leaf color and shape which these plants can add to the color of the garden landscape. Spring foliage among the cultivars offers a wide choice in plant selection. In the larger forms, there are the bold greens with rust or tangerine tones in the new foliage. The brilliant reds, orange reds, and maroons of many upright palmatums will lend accent to plantings. Wide choices also are possible with the variegated white-pink-green leaves of such maples as 'Asahi zuru', 'Kasen nishiki', 'Oridono nishiki', and many others. Nothing could look more like flowering shrubs than the extraordinary shell pinks found in 'Corallinum', 'Karasu gawa', and 'Matsugae'. The eye can never pass lightly over the flare of color presented by the brilliant flaming foliage of 'Beni komachi', 'Chishio', 'Seigai', or 'Shin deshôjô', to name only a few. These brilliant fire-reds, crimsons, and tangerine-reds are so intense at times as to be almost fluorescent. All these color combinations occur in the larger, more upright forms. The same choices occur in dwarf cultivars which lend themselves to small companion plantings or container growing.
Unusual types such as 'Higasa yama' have a "flower" quality as the new buds unfold. They open much like popcorn with irregular unfolding leaves colored in yellows and reds. 'Tsuma gaki' has new foliage which approaches a floral display. These stages last for several weeks, thus giving a long "flower" period. All the colored foliage retains its brilliance for at least one or two months, which is longer than the period for which most of our flowering shrubs will perform. The dissectums offer unusual brilliance and delicacy. Combinations of lacelike tracery of form, plus crimson, maroon, green-red, or variegated white-pink-green tones blend in the most pleasing way with the delicate cascading of the plant form. These make breathtaking specimen plants. They are even more striking when planted in groups in the proper setting.
A second color display occurs each fall, which is surely an added bonus when compared to most flowering shrubs. This show of fall foliage color is absolutely spectacular. The bold green 'Ôsakazuki', for example, adds a strong green accent all season.
Meet the Author
Peter Gregory, retired manager at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, England, is the chairman and co-founder of the Maple Society and the editor of its journal. He has been involved with tree research, including maples, for more than five decades. He lives in the UK.
J. D. Vertrees (1915-1993) was probably the most knowledgeable grower of Japanese maples in his time, and amassed at Maplewood Nursery in southern Oregon the largest collection of Japanese maples in the United States.
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