Friday, June 4, 2010

Keeping Track of Japanese Maples and Other Acers

From In the Garden

My son Brian was visiting recently and he and a friend came up with an innovative way to keep track of some special trees in my garden. They got the idea to seal the leaves between wax paper. We felt the result was a real work of art all on its own and then I had the idea it would help me to keep track of the different Japanese maples and other special Acer trees in the garden. The above leaf collage belongs to my son but he made me my own collection of leaves which he and his friend labeled for me. Now I have a great resource for identifying these trees (besides the labels).

I never really compared the trees themselves or their differences before but just looking at the leaves you can clearly see differences. Some of my Japanese maples are named cultivars but most are simply red Japanese maple seedlings. The two cut leaf Japanese maple leaves (first and last leaves on the second row) pictured above are 'Tamukeyama' and 'Crimson Queen'. There is quite a difference between the leaves even though looking at them in the garden you can't tell the two cultivars apart. I am loving my new pictorial collection of Japanese maple leaves....

in the garden....

Do you have any tips for keeping track of your trees?

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. What a creative way to keep track of these beautiful trees in your garden. :)

  2. You have some beautiful trees in your gardens, and what a wonderful way to preserve and keep track.


  3. I love the wax paper pictures! Zack and I did one when he was in k. I folded the long leaf points to make a ballet dancer and he found a oak with 2 perfect holes by the stem and used it for a ghost (It was near halloween) and the school kept them!
    It's a great record.

  4. Someone I work with did a similar project, but they used two panes of glass and sealed the edges with a metal tape. They then hooked three of the panels together and hung them in a window. They are as pretty as any piece of stained glass.

  5. Tina,
    Neat ideal! These maples can be so confusing. We have just one and this year the leaves seem greener than previous years. I recall it being very red, yet now it is mostly reddish green.

  6. Beautiful way to keep track of the maples!

    Humid day but soon I am on the road so dont care about the GA humidity. Just hope TN is not so humid.....

    Everyone have a great weekend!

    Tina, Wed it is not then :-)

  7. I love this idea. Did your JM reseed on their own? I never see any seedlings beneath mine.

  8. The leaf collage is beautifully arranged. Did you frame yours? They are definitely beautiful enough to frame!

    I also went to your "label" link and was intrigued. They are wonderful! Are the sculpty clay ones still holding up?

  9. Wow, how beautiful and what a resourceful way to identify the trees. I think that idea of glass panes would be awesome too!(Les)
    Gearing up for our last free day before company -love company but it requires a little more work and Lil Bundle seems to notice my waning attention and needs me, lol. Ciao

  10. What a wonderful collection of maples! Impressive, as is your son & friend's idea to preserve them as art and id-ing. I keep all my labels and sort them into native, exotic friendly, shrub and tree~pop them in a few decorative cups and that's as far as I go! gail

  11. Great idea Tina. Now you can see at a glance who is who.

  12. That's a very cool and very useful idea! I may have to try that although I don't have nearly as many Japanese maples.

  13. What a clever way to keep a record. A good way of fully appreciating the differences and an opportunity to see the leaves up close. Looks pretty too!

  14. This is a great idea, Tina! I pressed some leaves from some of my trees one fall for some decorations, but I hadn't thought of using them as a way of keeping records. Thanks to Brian for a creative and useful idea.

  15. Well my dear grandson made some memories pop into my head from my childhood today as we used to do that with the pretty colored leaves in the fall.

    Wow, do you really have 12 different Japanese Maple Trees. That is a lot. Your yard with be very pretty without the tons and tons of flowers. Looking at the leaves, the one you bought me must be a Tamukeyama and I do love it. I am not sure it is in the right spot as it really does not seem to be growing much but the leaves are really red and bushy. The soil there is all sand due to it being backfilled when we built that part.
    Is all sand good for it or should I dig some sand out and put in some of our good northern soil in there?

  16. That is pretty enough to hang as art. What a really great idea! My daughter's like to press flowers and use them on cards they make.

  17. The collage turned out beautifully.

  18. An incredible display! How special, too since your son made one for you.

    It is HOT and HUMID today! I just came inside and thought I was going to pass out! 4 hours is enough for today!

  19. That is a piece of art. A great way to catalog the trees. Your son is so smart!
    As a kid, I used to make petal pictures between wax paper and Mom and I would iron them together. I wasn't sure any one did that anymore.

  20. I'm late today, feeling under the weather plus my neighbor needed me to watch her kids a while. She had given away a pit bull a few months ago only to find he had wound up in the Fort Campbell animal shelter-the same place we got our new dog. Her dog is not doing well but the vet says to stick with him a bit a longer-that's why she needed me to sit with the kids. It is such a shame for this nice dog but good he is back home with her. Now I can get on here.

    Racquel, Thanks.

    Flowerlady, I never would've thought of it myself so I'm glad he came up with it and designed it and labeled them too.

    Dawn, I remember doing these as a kid. It was so much fun and now I can use it as an adult too. Too cool on folding the leaves into a shape.

    Les, What a great idea! I suspect some folks will be doing that this weekend.

    Randy, Some J. maples hold their color better than others. Bloodgood has said to be great with holding its red color. I notice mine will fade to green too but I like the form and leaf texture so it is ok. They get better with age. Yours may have been doped up on fertilizer to hold its color for a long time since it was newly planted? More sun makes the color brighter but the maples do need some shade, at least here they do.

    Skeeter, They say it is due to cool down next week but we are in a humid pattern:( Thank goodness for A/C. Call anytime as I am very flexible.

    Donna, My coral bark maple reseeded for the first time last year. I had two seedlings. I potted them both up and they have since faded away. Personally, I'd rather they don't self seed-too much weeding, but I do have friends whose maples self seed prolificately. Makes sense judging by the silver maples seedlings in my yard that J. maples would self seed. Some do, some don't.

    Rebecca, This is my son's collage I am not sure if he framed his or not. Mine has labels on it and I use it as a reference only. Brian has always loved my gardens and helps out in them (against his will sometimes when he was a teen but now fairly willingly) when asked. He now has a piece of them while in Maine in his collage. Sculpey labels are hanging tough. The finish has worn off (pitiful stain) but the labels have not broken down. They work quite well. Brian actually used them to ID my named trees for my labels. Where they were not labeled he just put the location down on the my collage. A perfect solution to identity. I only have a few named cultivars, most are seedlings bought at discount but still beautiful.

  21. Anonymous, Are you having company from NY?? Super marvelous! I know you guys will have a great time and the grandparents will be most excited about Lil Bundle. Have fun!

    Gail, Keeping track of plants is a struggle. I am about to divide mine into perennials, shrubs and trees for ease of finding. Urgh. Cups might work for that for sure.

    Lola, It is neat for sure to view the subtle differences and what is what. It might help me to ID other's maples in the long term as well. A good record at any rate.

    Dave, Don't worry, J. maples have a way of multiplying so it won't be long and you'll have tons.

    Carla, Thanks and welcome back.

    EG, I love pictures so the visuals are really nice and to think, I can view them from inside in air conditioning-a great thing. Congrats on the new home.

    Rose, I'll be sure to pass a long the compliment. He had so much fun making this and did a super job. I was most proud. He simply loves the gardens so it does my heart good. The girls garden and perhaps Brian will too one day.

    Mom, Yes Brian's collage sure did bring back memories. I remember making them as a kid and trying to ID trees. Yours is indeed a Tamukeyama. These trees grow fairly slow. Since it is most bushy and looks healthy do not move it or add any soil. It will tell you when it is not happy but I'm thinking right now it is happy. In the right spot too for your home. So glad you like it. The fall color should be spectacular.

    Catherine, Pressed flowers is another great way for identification. Oh the possibilities are limitless.

    Sweetbay, Thanks!

    Cameron, Thanks! Hot and humid here too:(

    GSS, Yup, folks surely do still this-the neat thing about blogging we see the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  22. Hi Tina -yeppers family from NY. You know how stressed I am about keeping this house clean, lol. Off to pick up some groceries -Boy 1 will watch my Lil Bundle (sleeping). Have a great weekend! This is the first time they will meet Lil Bundle -I hope he behaves, hahahaha.

  23. Cool idea! I like the fat one at the top, second on the left. We have a green JM out front, it has green/white/pink leaves.

  24. It is interesting to see how different all the leaves are when they are laid out like this. Good idea that your son had.

  25. What a fantastic idea...although my japanese maples have all grown from un-named red seedlings! Just seeing those cut-leaf varieties is enough to have me want to go searching for one for the garden! Heidi.

  26. Wow, grrl, you have a LOT of Japanese maples (pout, pout, jealous, envy!). It is a nice way to display the leaves and to keep track of what you have. I might even add the location under the name if it were me, but maybe you don't need that many clues! ;-)

  27. What a wonderful idea, and a beautiful photograph. You could design some wallpaper like that!

  28. i LOve that. it is a beautiful piece of art.

  29. What a lovely way of doing it, Tina. Your son has been so thoughtful. Maple leaves are my favorite even if we dont have them growing here. Your collection can also be framed and maybe some preservatives so it will not get molds can be encorporated within. Maybe artists of craftsmen have ideas on those, because it is a pity when they succumb to molds or insects. I love it.

  30. That is such a graet idea I just may have to borrow it!!