19/52: signs of autumn

My three beautiful weeping japanese maples, Inaba shidare, continue to delight every autumn, with their vibrant burgundy tones.

They seem to all be at various stages of colour-changing, though unfortunately the photos do not do them justice.

weeping japanese maples in autumn (3)

weeping japanese maples in autumn (2)

weeping japanese maples in autumn (4)

Moving around the garden, there seems to be an abundance of the reddish and burgundy tones, including the delightful nandina.


Even some of the flowers are in an analogous colour range, such as the nerines and fuchsia.



Just when you thought they were all very similar, the marvellous marigolds stand out golden in their contrast.


marvellous marigolds

13/52: a trip down memory lane

Having moved into our house 28 years ago this month, I realise we have come a long way from a “shell on a paddock” to a comfortable home on a lovingly landscaped block.

original ad for our place 27 years ago

As I sit at the laptop I glance out at the front garden. From my vantage point I look through the lovely timber full-length bay window. I can see two of the three weeping japanese maples, Inaba shidare, a greenstead magnificent, a couple of pruned english box shrubs, and another whose name I am unsure of. You’d think I would have kept records of everything I planted, and I probably did, somewhere in the archives, in a safe place. Ask my husband about me keeping things in “safe places” and he is likely to mutter something about a black hole in which items notoriously disappear.

Last but not least, as I look out the lounge room window, on the right is a slow-growing conifer we planted way back in 1987, as part of a group of plants which looked so tiny in amongst the mulch, but provided a nice view for us from the master bedroom.

our pretty little conifers 1987The last conifer on the right grew up like this:

another side of the coniferFortunately on that occasion we had the foresight to plant it well back from the footpath, to allow room for growth, which could be a subject for a lengthy post, as we have learnt from other less successful planting experiences.


283/366: maples and a compliment

My three gorgeous weeping Japanese maples (inaba shidare) are flourishing in the front garden. These three specimen trees are the most expensive items out there, but I think it’s nice to have either one or a few feature trees or plants in a garden. It can take an ordinary or average garden into another sphere. But think carefully before buying. Make sure that plant will be in the best position for optimal growth, and don’t plant anything too near it that could spoil the look.

I think our first-ever maple is my favourite, but I won’t say it out loud in case the others are disappointed. This one has a majestic quality that the others don’t have, making it perfect for princessprattles I think.

Then this morning I had a pleasant surprise. As I came outside, there were two ladies standing on the footpath with a camera. It transpired that they loved my garden and were taking some photos. Did I mind? Of course not.

I love compliments, and to receive one like this makes me all warm and fuzzy. Since I put  a lot of work into my garden it is especially nice to hear. Thank you ladies, if you happen to read my blog, because naturally I mentioned it to them!

202/366: weeping ghost maples

As I may have already mentioned, many of the trees on our property are evergreens, with the occasional deciduous tree thrown in.

I love my weeping japanese maples, Inaba Shidare, particularly for their autumn hues, but in winter I can appreciate their form when all you can see are the branches and trunk. Annual pruning of these three trees in the front garden helps maintain this weeping effect.

139/366: starring shadow

While working on one of the weeping japanese maples, stripping leaves, my cat Shadow came to keep me company. He ran up the trunk, which would have made a great photo, but my camera was inside. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I raced inside but the battery on my little everyday Canon Ixus 120 IS needed charging. Locating my larger Olympus E-400 digital SLR, I returned outside, but of course he had moved.

I tried calling him, but he remained on the porch, somewhat disinterested.

To entice him back, I tossed a little pebble under the tree. It may not have encouraged him to climb the tree again, but at least he stood still for a few shots.

I particularly like the last shot, where there is shadow on Shadow.

129/366: maple maintenance

The fact that my Weeping Japanese Maples are not like the Whomping Willow of Harry Potter fame and give one shudder where all the leaves fall off simultaneously, means I have to maintain them manually.

At least the three maples in the front garden are never at exactly the same stage of development, so I can stagger the three-step procedure.

Step 1: donning suitable gloves and stripping the branches.

Step 2: using the dead leaves collected as mulch on an area of garden to help cut weeds.

Step 3: pruning the branches where needed. I find there are too many branches and some of them are growing upwards instead of downwards. Sometimes a green maple leaf will shoot from below the graft.

Occasionally branches criss-cross each other to the point where they are in a tangle, so I streamline them. When the branches are devoid of leaves, it is the best time to tackle this so you can see their exact growth habits.



128/366: autumn maple

Our three weeping Japanese maples in the front yard have been telling me that autumn really is here. Inaba Shidare is the Latin name for this beautiful specimen, which is also known as a laceleaf Japanese maple.

It’s funny how they can be at differing stages of colours even though they are the same variety. Perhaps it’s the placement in the garden? One is in a more protected position, nestled against the garage wall, while the other two are in a more open area.

The colours can seem to change depending on the time of day also. When the sun is shining on the leaves there is an added vibrancy. With colours ranging from crimson through to burgundy I love these trees most during autumn.

94/366: the drought of ’09

Partly the result of the severe drought, and extreme temperatures reaching 40 degrees celsius, my rhododendron’s leaves were burnt and I was sad. The evergreen alder out the back didn’t survive, either. But when many people lost their houses and lives in the Black Saturday bushfires, which ripped through Victoria in February 2009, I felt ashamed that I was worried about my plants.

My daughter’s partner’s aunt and uncle perished in the fires at Steels Creek, a fact which made me realise how lucky we were to be alive. Tears are sneaking down my face as I remember that sad time. Tragedies help you put your own life in perspective. Let’s treasure every day.

Sorry for my digression, but sometimes my fingers get away from me. Luckily I can type fairly fast and keep up with all these random thoughts. Then with the magic of computers, it’s easy to edit, deleting and cutting and pasting so the whole thing flows. (Hopefully!)

Back to the garden: drastic water restrictions were in place, so the lawns were dying as well as trees, flowers and shrubs. In April I decided to get rid of the front lawn and mulch it instead. We planted a third weeping Japanese maple (Inaba Shidare) as a special feature tree in the centre.