April 13, 2012

Orange Dreams

It has been far too dry in southern New England this spring. No snow cover this winter meant no soaking drench for the awakening garden. And it has not rained other than 2 tenths of an inch since February 29.  I create dust puffs when I weed.

I am watering in early spring, in a climate that is normally known for its dreary boot-sucking mud season at this time of year.

Where is my mud?  Where is my normal?  Where is my soaker hose, the one that I stored and can't find now.  Why does the faucet leak geysers at the house connection?

The magnolias got blasted a few weeks ago with a hard overnight freeze, and many early bloomers are now mush displays.  The Japanese maples are braving it out though, and I love seeing my Acer palmatum 'Orange Dream' glow in the far garden in April.



The leaves are just starting to unfurl, and they have little brown edges, either from near freezes or from the dry.  I need to water deeply.

It's a curious Japanese maple that stays a shrubby form rather than big and graceful.  The leaves emerge orange, but turn chartreuse in summer.  They scorch a little in the sun when the middle of summer hits.  I am waiting for some larger trees behind this maple to grow up and provide the shade 'Orange Dream' needs in summertime.

The bark is green.  The photo below is from last May, and you can see the trunk has an army tank gray-green tint.  At times it is actually quite green and looks like someone dyed the smooth bark.  Odd, and completely unnecessary with the orange leaves.


In autumn the leaves become a deeper gold color, but not like most Japanese maples, which have shocking fall foliage.  Orange Dream's season to be noticed is really spring when the beautiful leaves are copper orange, and then summer when they turn sulphur yellow and bright green.  Yow.

This is a young tree.  I planted it in 2010, and it struggled in that unusually hot summer.  Now this dry, dry spring.

It's at the farthest point in the yard that my tangled system of hoses can reach, but I really need to find a connection that doesn't spurt fountains in all directions, and get this guy a drink.


 

28 comments:

  1. I don't have the first Japanese Maple but always enjoy seeing them in other gardens. They have so many different ways to be beautiful.

    I hope you get a good soaking rain soon.

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    1. Sweetbay, I never realized how diverse Acer palmatum can be! What a wide range of trees, forms and colors. You have some beauties in your garden.

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  2. Like you, Laurrie, I miss the mud, if only to avoid watering so early, which is just wrong.

    Fortunately, Japanese maples are some of the most forgiving trees I grow. Here's hoping your beautiful 'Orange Dream' is, too.

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    1. I never thought I would miss Mud Season, but I do. We need some rain, need some moisture, and yes we even need the mud. I'm glad to hear your Japanese maples are so tolerant -- that gives me hope!

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  3. Even with plumber's tape wrapped around the faucet, my hoses are all in revolt this year too. Maybe the solution is to move all my plants right next to the hose, where all that water is spilling out. I hope you get some rain soon!

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    1. Heather, Hoses in revolt is exactly the right description. My hoses' malfunctions are intentional and clearly intended to aggravate me. Ever think of snakes when you unwind them? Yes?

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  4. I understand dry. What a rough little start to your spring growth. Hope you get all the watering issues fixed soon.

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    1. Gardener on Sherlock, I hope I can get ahead of the watering issues too, but each year it's a frustration!

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  5. Laurrie,

    I know what you mean about it being dry. Here in central NC it's been a long time since we had a wet spring. Barely passed on the frost this week no damage. Dragging around hoses gets so old doesn't it. Just the same your garden looks lovely dry or not so dry.

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    1. Randy, thanks! I can't believe it is only mid April and we are already tired of dragging hoses!

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  6. We have a mini heat wave coming and will be 90 on Monday. I have a hot date with the hose all day Sunday. My garden is so thirsty. Spring here is usually moist, too. I'm tired of all this weird weather. I wish a big spring soaking for the entire East coast! Your maple is really pretty. Every time I see one I wish I had one in my garden. Big sigh....

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    1. Tammy, A Big Soak is exactly what we all need. I can't believe you don't have a Japanese maple in your garden, they make such strong "bones" and are lovely in all seasons.

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  7. Your Japanese Maple is gorgeous. I love the color of the bark. I bet it will forgive the inclement weathers. I too have had to be watering. It just doesn't seem right at this time of year. Usually I get to whine about flooding in the area. Not this year.

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    1. Lisa, Many other gardeners are whining about having to water so early in the season this year, so we are certainly not alone. Wouldn't it be great if water could just fall out of the sky? What a concept.

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  8. Laurrie, We're having the same faucet issues and with so little rain I'm catching faucet drips in watering cans to use on the gardens. Not a drop goes to waste. I've been watering one area deeply one day, another the next, until I reach all areas. Only dividing and transplanting a few perennials ... I'm afraid it's just too dry.

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    1. Joene, I did the same thing, I put attractive watering cans under the drippy faucets and called it a cottage / country garden look. Like I intended it.

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  9. What a gorgeous tree. I would love to have a Japanese maple here but like you, I need other trees to fill in and create some shade before I spend the money on something like that. this is looking like a hot and dry summer here as well, our spring is wetish thanks to some late snow but overall I'm betting a hose will be needed more often than not.

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    1. Marguerite, A Japanese maple near your house would be lovely if you could splurge. They are elegant near structures, and add a lot. I do hope the hose can be put away soon, but it's not looking likely.

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  10. 'Orange Dream' is lovely and seems to be handing the drought quite well. I've got a small unnamed Japanese maple that my friend found on sale for me last year, and it's not nearly as showy as yours. But then when you pay only $8 for one, I guess you can't complain:) I've had to do some watering, too, but we finally got some rain this weekend. I hope it's headed your way now.

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    1. Rose, I don't think there is any such thing as a Japanese maple that isn't showy. Yours is unnamed, and maybe doesn't have unusual bark or weird colors, but every Acer palmatum I have seen is elegant. It's such a lovely tree in all forms.

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  11. Laurrie, Everything in my garden needs a drink! We got the tiniest bit of rainfall yesterday and that was the first precipitation in weeks! I wish Japanese Maples were a bit more hardy here. I had a lovely one that died quite unexpectedly a couple of winters ago. I have two remaining trees, plus one I added last year. I tried to find sheltered spots, so hopefully there will be less winter carnage. Your 'Orange Dream' has wonderful coloring in both spring and summer. No wonder you want to pamper it with a bit of water during this dry, dry spring.

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    1. Jennifer, I give you credit for trying Japanese maples where you are. They are worth it, and you are giving them sheltered spots, so I hope they live and thrive for you.

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  12. I haven't seen a Japanese maple I did not love. Your 'Orange Dream' is a fabulous color. Many of these trees do need some shade. I hope yours does well. We are fortunate to have plentiful rain so far this year. I wish I could send some to you! By the way, I also am fighting the leaky faucet battle. It drives me nuts!

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    1. Deborah, I do worry about the scorch on this maple. It will be a while before it gets enough shade in summer from trees that are growing nearby. But I had no other shady or part-shaded spot for it.

      Send us some of your rain.

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  13. Laurrie, I like your maple, but I understand how much it is disappointing you right now. Your spring, also disappointing with no rain and that late freeze, reminds me or our normal. We're having Texas Hill Country weather for spring this year and lots of tornadoes. Weird weather everywhere.~~Dee

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    1. Dee, weather is weird all over. It is strange not to have a wet spring here. Thank god we rarely get tornadoes. I can't imagine the utter destruction. A dry spring is no comparison to that!

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  14. Beautiful tree! I recently worked at the house of a man who had SO MANY varieties of Japanese Maples represented on his property. It was like working in an arboretum, and it was a nice learning experience as well.
    On a another subject, it seems that no matter how many bags of those rubber washers I but and no mater how many new connections I put on my hoses, I cant seem to get my irrigation set up to not leak and spray everywhere!

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    1. Forest Keeper, It must have been quite a sight to see all those Japanese maples in one place! And I have to say it is oddly comforting to know that everyone else has leaky faucets and spouting connections. Even the professionals.

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