Japanese Maples

After visiting several garden centres and gardens around the UK, I’ve been craving a Japanese Maple tree in my own garden. I particularly wanted the Orange Dream variety, and was lucky enough to be given one as a present from a colleague at work, however the re-potting and transit had shocked it to death! I was devastated!

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My luck turned around when Thompson and Morgan offered me a Starfish variety for a reasonable price; I was so, so happy. I love the bright red foliage and shape of the leaves, as it’s quite different to the standard ones I’ve seen about.

I got it a couple of months ago, but have left it much longer than intended to pot it on, and was a little concerned I was slowly killing it. I had a look on several trusty websites and forums, such as RHS, to check what could be going wrong. Apparently Acers suffer from scorching, which can be from windy or sunny spots in the garden where they don’t have that much protection. Go figure, mine was smack in the middle of my garden where it has a hit from the midday sun and all the winds from the East. So I moved it into a more sheltered position and went on a hunt for the ideal pot to put it in!

I’ve always struggled with pot shopping. There’s either too much choice or they’re too expensive! A Japanese Maple needs a large pot as they grow fairly big, and I wanted to find one that would suit the vision I had for my square patch.

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There’s quite a few like the ones above, with a modern twist and quirky writing on the side. There’s also lots of deep blue coloured pots which would match well with the pots I have my Raspberry Ruby Beauty in. However, the large ones needed for my Acer were just so expensive, and anyone that knows me knows I love a bargain, so I left empty handed yet again.

Last week I went on a drive out to Southwold for the day with my best friend Lizzie and she insisted on taking me to one of her favourite garden centres; Katie’s Garden along the way. And I’m so glad she did. We were meandering around the various areas of perennials and we came across a greenhouse full of sale plants (of course I made my way straight in) and came across a few pots scattered about. Sat amongst them was a huge, beautiful terracotta pot with a pretty design around the rim reduced from £35.00 to £24.99. I made Lizzie stand with me and ‘urm and ahh’ about it for a good 10 minutes and then decided to leave it…

…only to come back 10 minutes later to speak to the lovely woman running the place to see if I could haggle down the price due to a chunk taken out of one of the sides. After all, the chunk only adds a quirkiness to it. And there my bargain was, reduced even further to £15.00 – winner winner, chicken dinner.

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I got it home and planted up my Acer, which desperately needed it after over a month stuck in the small pot it arrived in. I spent about 30 minutes dragging it around the square patch decided where looked best. It wouldn’t have taken as long if the 2 wasps hadn’t have been tormenting me, and if I had spent more time in the gym recently! I settled on the middle to make it more of a feature for my medium sized garden. That way the shrubs I have can be planted in and around the Acer.

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Potting up: I added some stones to the bottom for extra drainage and made sure I had some multipurpose compost with added John Innes (it had been suggested to use John Innes No. 2 or 3). I gently prized the tree from the pot and loosened the soil around the roots to help establish itself in it’s new home.

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The previous soil was fairly moist so I didn’t give it a drink as was extremely conscious of it being waterlogged and rotting. It already looks worse for wear and I’m praying it will perk up. Although, I do have a back up as I’m growing on a classic Acer ‘Atropurpureum’ in a smaller pot, and it can always go into the large pot if the worst comes to worst (keep your fingers crossed it doesn’t please)!

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I found some cute little slate stones in an old container and arranged them around the Acer to create a stepping stone pathway through the square area, weaving in and around the Acer, Heuchera and Hosta. I plan to replace these will real tree stump stepping stones once I have planned in better detail the shrubs and plants to go around the feature Acer.

I’ll let you know how the Acer gets on over the next couple of months. If anyone has any ideas for perennial plants or shrubs that you think would work well or look good in this area, please feel free to drop me a comment or message. I’d love to hear from you!




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