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Saturday 11th September, 2021
Its been a big week with Wednesday being the beginning of Level two and after nearly 3 weeks we are back with customers again able to shop and choose for themselves albeit a few rules. Click and collect went smoothly enough but its been daunting to have so many orders sitting aside here at dispatch and also in our collection area, not to mention the changes from delivery to collection and so on.
It can be quite difficult to actually find a specific order amongst them all but we have got a bit cunning and have them down in order of date being picked. I am also thankful for all the years of looking at plants and so I look at the order and find the plant that is going to stand out most to me and then hunt that down. That can narrow the search down and then look at the paperwork to check the name and order and so on. It's when you can't find the order that you suddenly realise how large the place is and have to trot down the other end to the Aramax orders or lol its still sitting half way between.
Who can resist the magic of the new foliage of our ornamental maples. I for one can't and every time I walk down through the ornamental trees I am wowed by those delightful leaves unfurling.
The genus name as we probably all know is Acerand are commonly regaled as Maples as we lump them in all together. Of course there are many species and according to Wikipedia approx. 132 in total, mostly native to Asia but also found in other parts, like Europe, North Africa and North America.
Most Maples are quite recognizable by their classic Palmate leaves which are arranged opposite each other. Palmate being hand like and of course a large group of ornamental Maples belong to the species Palmatum. As in everything in nature there are always exceptions and an example to quickly give is that of Acer negundo, the Box maple, which may have trifoliate leaves.
Acer N Violaceum is an ornamental form of this species and the beauty of the Negundos is they tend to be quite quick growing. Featuring in spring, masses of burgundy tassels that adorn bare branches. Young shoots and leaves are purple maroon, changing to bright green then becoming a deeper rich green as they mature. Leaves turn gold for their autumn display. A vigorous grower with smooth bark.
Acer palmatum dissectum The name says it all, that the leaves are hand like and, that are finely dissected and represent a large group of the pretty and delicate leaves of the weeping maples, which are so popular in our smaller gardens. Probably these dissectum types are the ones that have the most sensitive leaves as they are really like filigree with the finest of foliage that will bruise on the ends especially in an exposed position or spots that combine wind, heat and dry.
Probably the one that I have known all my career is Crimson queenwhich is classic burgundy foliage and weeping form that cascades downwards. If left to its own devices it will weep to ground but I like to skirt my ones up so that you see some of the trunk. Its worth noting that they only increment in height very slowly as the new branches will grow up and then over as opposed to a tree that grows upwards.
There are plenty of other weeping maples but mostly of either green or red shades. Viridis is a classic , been around for years and Im sure that you have already guessed that it has green dissected leaves and a similar form to Crimson queen. Emerald Laceand Flavescensare a couple of others in the green shades. There are quite a few in the red shades and you can check them out on line but some tasters are...
GarnetAn outstanding vigorous yet small growing Maple that would look fabulous in a container or placed in a special corner of the garden. The lobed foliage has strong hues of crimson and purple which last from spring right through to autumn.
Baldsmith An attractive little Japanese Maple with deeply dissected fine foliage in tones of orange-red in early spring turning more green in summer. Nice autumn tones. A strong grower with an upright habit and pendulous branches.
Lion heartOne can only assume that this Maple was so named because of the strong vigorous growth. Personally I think it should be called simply gorgeous! The long dissected crimson leaves sensuously droop on red stemmed branches
Not all dissectums are weepers and Seiryu is and example of a small upright vase tree with bright green foliage that is delightfully delicate.. probably one for a sheltered spot.
There are many other palmatum maples that make for pretty handsome upright trees, generally of smaller dimensions and for many reasons to have one of every sort lol. Katsura is one of the ones that are just popping into leaf right now with very attractive new spring leaves emerge pale yellow with hints of orange and red. Senkaki Sango Kaku claim to fame is the red stems in the winter but otherwise is a green leaves tree for all of the summer.
Shindeshojo is just amazing with its spring foliage of spectacular shrimp pink shades that will slowly turn to green and then wait for the fiery red tones of the Autumn
Planting a new seasons tree right now !!
All our new seasons trees will now have been in their bags for a number of weeks and they will just be starting to make up some all important new feeder roots. Its at this point that you need to take care with removing these from their bags so as to do as little damage as possible. Its probably a good idea to have the planting hole pre prepared and to cut the bag off rather than pulling the plant out.
Don't use excessive compost in the hole unless you have quite sandy soils as it can hold too much moisture in this wet season and therefore rot the new roots. If you do see many feeder roots then be gentle but firm with the actual planting.ie so don't jump on top of the soil to firm it in as this can also break the delicate roots. If its a tree, then definitely stake it as it wont have a root mass to hold itself up and a constant breeze or wind will keep the new roots from getting established into the soil
As the season moves on and the roots manage to wrap their way around the bag then all of the above, whilst still relevant, becomes less essential.
A pause to catch up
It was a big decision but we had to put all new orders for dispatch on pause for a week or two to catch our breath and get away all the orders that came in during lock down. I think its been a double whammy, what with lockdown levels of 4 and 3 and then of course its spring and we all want to get planting.
However it is looking pretty organised down there at dispatch as Cherie is doing a fine job of sorting all the different kinds of freight. We have more boxers than we ever had spending the first part of the week packing orders just to try and get on top of things. Its also really important that the plants arrive in the week that we send them as at this point of the season, we wouldn't want them spending time in a warehouse. Hopefully we will get Auckland into level 3, or better still level 2, and then dispatch will happen so much better.
I will also take the opportunity to say a very sincere thanks all our clients for their patience and understanding in these quite trying times.
Everyone must be making the most of their new found freedom if the busyness of the nursery is anything to go by. Its spring time in the garden, one of the most exciting seasons of the year, full of blossoms and fresh fancy leaves. Hopefully its a beaut fine weekend to get out there and garden.