Garden Journal

Entries in Japanese maple (3)


Crimson Queen

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen' (Crimson Queen Laceleaf Maple)

To capture the best light on a grey, overcast day, I moved the red queen to the front of the balcony for these first two photos. Usually, though, this elegant tree occupies the sheltered back corner where she adds beauty, grace and -- especially this November -- brilliant colour.

287/365 - alternate

A closer look at the foliage, "deeply cut and finely serrated, delicate and elegant" (Ezra Haggard's apt description; see links below) 

The manner by which 'Crimson Queen' marks the seasons -- purple for spring, bicolor for summer, bright red for autumn, then revealing its limb structure for winter -- makes it an all-season delight (Paghat's Garden).


Crimson Queen Laceleaf Maple

Two months ago, 'Crimson Queen''s leaves were green and deep reddish-purple (September 2010) 

Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen' delights from spring through fall and serves as a natural sculpture in winter. Foliage, form, and structure all combine to make it one of the most interesting trees for the garden. 'Crimson Queen' ... tend[s] to form shrubby mounds, wider than tall, 8' to 10' in height and 12' wide. Branches can be kept weeping all the way to the ground or be pruned up for a more tree-like, pendulous effect. The gnarled, twisted branches have their own beautiful pattern, creating a triangular shape that takes a while to come into its own....The foliage of 'Crimson Queen' is a deep reddish-purple, 5 to 9 lobes deeply cut and finely serrated, delicate and elegant....As the tree matures, the branches form a living sculpture, spreading outward and curving upward (Trees, shrubs, and roses for midwest gardens).

Japanese maples and black mondo grass  


The balcony garden 3 years ago (September 2007)

Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen' (Crimson Queen Laceleaf Maple) - in rear

Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Inaba Shidare' (Inaba Shidare Japanese Maple) - front left

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (Black Mondo Grass) - front right


Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen' receives my highest recommendation for the small garden. I purchased a two-to-three year old specimen from a community plant sale in 2004 and since then, this lovely Japanese maple has grown slowly in the same place in the semi-shady corner of my balcony.


My growing notes:

  • Growing zone - 7-8 (Vancouver, BC); 'Crimson Queen' is hardy to Zone 5.
  • Location on balcony - sheltered northwest corner, semi-shade.
  • Container size - 13-inch (33 cm) diameter, glazed ceramic pot; however, 'Crimson Queen' will need to be repotted to a larger container before next spring.
  • Soil - organic potting mix enriched with vermicompost; refreshed every spring.
  • Age - Unknown but at least 8 years; I've had 'Crimson Queen' for 6 years (since June 2004).
  • Pruning/Staking - I haven't done much pruning, other than remove dried branches. This autumn, though, I removed the bamboo stake, which had been promoting an upright habit; without this support, beginning with next spring's growth 'Crimson Queen''s leader branch should begin cascading down.

Recommended links for more information:

Google books excerpt from Trees, shrubs, and roses for midwest gardens by Ezra Haggard

Paghat's Garden

Gardener's World




Early April on the balcony


Lewisia cotyledon
forma alba

Shady back corner of the balcony garden
Left to right:

Acer palmatum 'Inaba Shidare' (Inaba Shidare Japanese Maple)
Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (Black Mondo Grass) - peeking out from beneath the maple
Heuchera 'Obsidian' & Violas, 'SorbetTM Lemon Chiffon' & 'SorbetTM Babyface Purple'


Another seven for autumn: favourite balcony colours & plants

Here's another post inspired by Gayla's “Seven things (plus some extra fun things at the end)” meme: seven favourite colours & plants in my balcony garden these past three autumns (2007-09).

1) Purple Violas


This variety is 'Plum Velvet'. It has shown resilience and vigour -- it survived heat and drought while I was unexpectedly away from my garden for 5 days in late September.


2) Red-violet pansies




3) Yellow violas

Sunshine      Lemon & Mahogany 1

'Lemon Chiffon', a sunny face on a grey, rainy fall day.


4) Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens')

An excellent foil for other plant colours and textures:

Pot of pansies and grasses 1      Two favourites: black mondo grass & pansies


5) Acer palmatum dissectum 'Inaba shidare'

Drops of rain on cascading leaves of rice ('Inaba shidare')

Both photos taken the same day showing colour variation between leaves at the top of the tree and those at the bottom.

Japanese maple 'Inaba shidare'


6) Heuchera 'Peach Flambe'


Top photo taken a few days ago; bottom photo, two years ago.

Magpie Girl

Confession: In the top photo, the heuchera is in its new "home" (since spring), the partially shaded rockery in my Mom's garden. It's much happier there than in the container on my balcony where it was getting cramped plus occasionally sun-baked.


7) White Westie - Technically fauna rather than flora but he likes to plant himself in the sun between the black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' ) and Heuchera 'Obsidian'.