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Acers & Japanese Maples

'Maple' is an alternative common name for 'acer'. We have used very many plants from the acer genus in our garden design at 'Four Seasons' and most are Japanese maples.  We now have a collection totalling more than 150 acer shrubs and small trees. They are all planted in the ground and none are in pots. They proved their hardiness when they survived the recent record cold winters with temperatures as low as minus 15C.

We plant acers in all areas of the garden. We find that many purple and green foliage varieties, and also the paler acer senkaki,  are usually happy in the 'full sun' of an average UK summer  (plenty of rain and not much sun!). 

Although these acers are in an open  position in our garden, they are semi sheltered due to the garden being somewhat 'sunken' into the landscape. The garden is at a lower level  than our house on one side, there are high  boundary fences on two sides and on the fourth side there are high trees and ascending ground.

Acers we have included in our garden:

Acer palmatum ‘Aratama’

Acer palmatum 'Ariadne'

Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’

Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum Bloodgood'

Acer palmatum ' Beni Komachi '

Acer palmatum ‘Beni maiko’

Acer palmatum ‘Beni otaki’

Acer palmatum dissectum (Laceleaf) 'Crimson Queen'

Acer palmatum dissectum viridans

Acer palmatum dissectum 'Viridis' (Green Lace Leaf Japanese Maple)

Acer palmatum ' Eddisbury'

Acer plamatum ‘Elegans’

Acer palmatum ‘Fireglow’

Acer palmatum ‘Kinshi’

Acer palmatum ‘Kotohime’ (one of the smallest-leaved Japanese maples)

Acer palmatum 'Orange dream'

Acer palmatum ‘Orido nishiki’

Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'

Acer palmatum 'Shaina'

Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’

Acer palmatum Senkaki/Sango kaku (one of the Coral Bark Maples)

Acer palmatum ‘Skeeter’s Broom’

Acer palmatum 'Suminagashi'

Acer palmatum 'Tsuma gaki'

Acer palmatum 'Trompenburg'

Acer palmatum ‘Villa Tarranto’

Acer Japonicum aconitifolium ‘The Fern Leaf Maple’ ‘Maiku jaku’  ‘Dancing Peacock’

Acer Shirasawanaum ‘Aureum’ (Golden Full Moon Maple)

Acer shirasawanum 'Jordan'

Acer sieboldianum

Acer Capillipes (Red Snakebark Maple)

Acer cappadocicum 'Aureum'

Acer davidii (Père David's Maple), a snake bark maple

Acer freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’ ( is a hybrid  of red (A. rubrum) and silver (A. saccharinum) maple

Acer griseum (Paper Bark Maple)

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All our acers have  been pruned regularly to keep them to shape and size that we would like. Our main late winter pruning is completed by  mid March. They are also lightly pruned to restore the desired shape in June after the rampant growth during May. 

Despite being over 20 year old, many of the acers look much younger because of their size.  Because they have a robust trunk and root system they look very healthy and produce an abundance of fresh foliage every spring, which brings such delight for us and our many visitors.

In our planting scheme we particularly like to contrast acer foliage against evergreen plants such as conifers, pieris, aucuba and ilex.

We grow acers especially for their beautiful coloured foliage.  All the acer cultivars have in common their sharply pointed leaves, and yet there is a huge variety of leaf shape, colour and texture amongst the different cultivars.

Acers provide our garden with exciting colour and interesting new growth in spring and dramatic colour change late in the year when they become our 'autumn flowers'.

Acer colours in late autumn

New leaves of Acer palmatum ' Eddisbury'

This is one of our coral bark maples which we think is lovely cultivar. It came with the label: Acer palmatum 'Senkaki Eddisbury'. However we believe that 'Eddisbury'  is a cultivar in its own right and therefore it should simply have the name : Acer palmatum 'Eddisbury'.  Itis similar to Senkaki/Sango-kaku but does not grow as large.  The winter stems are coloured more  deeply red than 'Senkaki', and scarlet would be a more accurate description! The spring foliage is bronze - green. In summer the leaves turn gold with red margins and in autumn the leaves are red, orange and golden.

Apart from their wonderful leaf colour, acers give us  movement in the garden from spring to summer and some of the cultivars have red stems which are beautiful, particularly in winter and early spring.

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