Photographs by Derek Hughes
WITH leaves turning colour
at this time of year, Maples is a timely addition to the
bookshelf. Few trees surpass maples' autumn display and Kiwi author/plantswoman
Rosemary Barrett knows her stuff when it comes to these eye-catching
trees - she has more than 80 species and varieties in her own garden.
In her book she describes
more than 130 species and cultivars, many depicted in the 115 photographs
through Derek Hughes' keen lens.
After dealing with the
basics of cultivation, Rosemary Barrett enthusiastically tackles
her favourites, Japanese maples (Acer palmatum). In an
epilogue containing her top 20, the "red maple" cultivars 'Beni-komachi'
and 'Beni-maiko' head the list. She also takes a look at North American
maples. Acer saccharum, the sugar maple (from which maple
syrup comes) is billed as among that continent's finest deciduous
Rosemary Barrett is refreshingly
authoritative. When discussing group planting for a large garden
she plumps for 15 trees "mixed for colour and variety", opting first
for Acer palmatum 'Shindeshojo' "because of its wonderful
variation in colour".
A chapter on companion
planting follows discussion on landscaping with maples. Among her
favoured companion trees is the dogwood (cornus). Rosemary Barrett's
top choices of companion shrubs include rhodos and japonica. Concise
tables detail the suitable complementary plants, which include bulbs
and perennials. They also give the hardiness zones and habit of
the companions. A chapter on landscaping with container-grown maples
will appeal to space-starved city gardeners.
So, if you're in tree-planting
mode over the winter and considering a maple or two, Maples
will give you all the signposts you need.
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH