HOUSE: Newburgh

Japanese maple in the garden.

Yay! Something is now intentionally growing in the back garden!

My mother and I planted this Fireglow Japanese Maple in the garden yesterday. It’s beautiful! I love Japanese Maples. We bought the biggest one we could fit in the car. I’m crossing my fingers really tightly that it doesn’t die, because, well… it wasn’t cheap. I’m always shocked by how much plants cost (especially the bigger, more established ones), even though I know what to expect. It just seems like plants should be free.

Evan and I also panted three Rhododendron bushes, but I was too exhausted to lift a camera to document them when we were done! If they haven’t died by tonight, I’ll take a picture.

Pictures of the front garden (now in its third year and coming along quite nicely) coming soon…

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  • Reply tara. May 27, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    beautiful! i love japanese maples as well. one of the houses i grew up in had a lovely one in the front yard. the deep almost black burgundy purple of the leaves is so gorgeous.

  • Reply nicole May 27, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    terribly exciting! japanese maples are a favorite of mine as well and at the top of my wish list if we ever do our roof garden. i’ve heard that a nice happy layer of mulch around the tree (but not touching the trunk) will help with moisture levels. can’t wait to see the progress with the rest of your outdoor space.

  • Reply Anna at D16 May 27, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Nicole, no worries, I am definitely a mulcher! I ran out, though, so for now there’s a layer of peat moss on top — I’ll add mulch this weekend. 🙂

    I’m still trying to figure out what kind of mulch is the most environmentally friendly (and safe for the dogs, of course), though. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

  • Reply megan May 27, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    what a beautiful tree.

  • Reply Vicki May 27, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Keep the tree well watered while it is establishing itself, especially as it’s getting warmer. I’d recommend staying away from the ubiquitous wood mulch. It doesn’t add nutrients to the soil and can cause “shotgun” fungus on your fencing, decking, or siding. Compost is the best choice for keeping in moisture while also feeding the tree. If your municipality has leaf recycling, you may have free access to their compost piles. We’re in Philly, and we got two pickup loads for our raised vegetable beds this spring.

  • Reply jenn ski May 27, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    My mom has one in her yard and it’s gotten much bigger now. I think you might want to much it further away from the fence.

  • Reply Anna at D16 May 27, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Vicki: Unfortunately, my city does not offer compost pickups (at least not to the best of my knowledge). We do plan to get a compost heap going in our backyard this summer, though, so hopefully by next year we’ll be able to use it to cover at least some of our needs. I was under the impression, though, that compost alone is not a sufficient weed barrier on its own, and that it still needs to be covered with a traditional mulching material. I am looking into non-wood options, but without side/rear access to the backyard, it needs to be available in moderately-sized bags that we can put in the back of our car and transport through the house by hand!

    Jenn: It might not look like it in the photo, but the tree is actually about 5 feet from the fence. For this species of Japanese Maple, that should be fine. 🙂

  • Reply Vicki May 27, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Here’s a link you may find helpful.

  • Reply Anna at D16 May 27, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    That’s a really helpful link, Vicki, thanks!!

  • Reply Corey May 28, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Lovely jap maple. I found a good pairing with red maples is a yellow hosta, like sum and substance. The yellow and red offer a good contrast. Another idea is more japanese maples – you can’t go wrong with a green cutleaf maple. Small ones are pretty cheap, and they fill in remarkably fast.

    I’m curious to see what else you’ll be doing in the garden. Seeing yours makes me want a real yard of my own!

  • Reply Kathy May 28, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Looks great!

  • Reply Anna at D16 May 28, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Corey: Have you seen the new(ish) Black Lace Elderberries? I saw one over the weekend and fell in love. I think they need a bit more sun that I get in the rear of my house, but I might try planting one near the Japanese Maple and see how it goes. They’d look amazing side by side!

  • Reply nicole May 28, 2008 at 9:00 am

    mulch: i have been using “nature’s helper”. it’s an organic soil conditioner (made from pine bark scraps, i think) that promotes the establishment of deep roots and healthy plants. it does a great job retaining moisture when worked into the soil and also doubles as a top mulch. i’ve also started using terracycle organic (worm poop!) fertilizer, which my plants seem to like.

  • Reply Anna at D16 May 28, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Oh, that’s great to know! I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Nature’s Helper at the garden center I shop at. I didn’t realize it was a mulch, but I will definitely check it out this weekend when I’m back for my next round of plant purchases. 🙂

  • Reply Sally May 28, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I LOVE Japanese Maple, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of your yard fills out.

  • Reply Corey May 28, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Anna – I hadn’t seen them. Those elderberries are awesome! If they aren’t cost prohibitive, then may as well give them a try. If you kept a theme of reddish taller plants, and something bright underneath (like sweet woodruff or golden moneywort), that could be a pretty cool garden… Here are a few of my favorite plants that could work for you: Japanese Andromeda, anemone x hybrida, heuchera green spice and Astilbe Sprite.

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