Surfeit of Acers

DSCN2189I took advantage of an offer of 4 acers suitable for growing in pots at the end of last year, and took delivery of them in early March. As the leaves gradually unfurled over the weeks following the late snow it looked likely that one of them had failed to thrive. I left it a few more weeks to confirm its lack of life, then telephoned for a replacement. Surprisingly, bearing in mind they were not particularly cheap, I was told they would have to replace the whole collection, the downside being I would not receive them till October. I was particularly pleased that the poorly one was being replaced as I had bought matching pots especially, but I had not bargained for extra plants!

Despite what I had been told, the replacements turned up alast weekend, looking very healthy and apart from the one on the right (‘Butterfly’), looking quite different from the originals. OK, second from the right (‘Little Princess’) does look more alive, but I guess that ‘Orange Dream’ and ‘Katsura’ (left and second left) are in the process of transforming themselves from spring to summer colour. All-in-all they are bigger and bustier and healthier than the originals, but I need to decide what to DO with these extras now!

wallFor those asking about the wall the tomato hanging baskets are on, I built this early in 2001 to replace a split bamboo screen we had erected to split the fruit and veg area from the rest of the garden. I had just re-read ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett and decided I wanted A Wall with a gate to add more of a surprise element to the garden, so I built the wall, and we also introduced various ‘faux’ gates into the fence at around the same time. Looking at the photos, it shows how easy it is for us to forget the original extent of the grass as this has all gone with the gradual sub-division of the garden; interesting to see in the lower picture the ground cleared ready for the woodland edge border – naked as the day it was born!

Today, the two hot borders have the wall as a backdrop, whilst behind the wall the fruit cage is to the left and the greenhouse and small veg beds are to the right. I had never considered utilising the ‘back’ of the wall before, but after hanging the baskets there this week I have begun considering what other crops I could grow this way as there is space for more baskets. Strawberries, of course, would work on the ‘fruit side’, but I prefer soft fruit that doesn’t need a lot of attention and I couldn’t be sure I would remember to water them!


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11 Responses to Surfeit of Acers

  1. Pauline says:

    What a difference in your before and after photos of your garden, you wouldn’t think it was the same place! That’s a magnificent wall you built, a daunting task. With all the Acers you now have, you’ll have everyone coming to see your autumn tints like Westonbirts!!

    • Cathy says:

      Had to smile at the Westonbirt reference!! I’m so glad I took lots of photos (pre digital) when we were renovating the house, building the extension, and starting the garden – but I must print off thumbnail pics of some of our digital photos for easier reference. I love bricking, by the way!

  2. croftgarden says:

    Can one have too many acers?

  3. You selected some great choices; they will add some lovely contrast to your garden. I would be interested in seeing your garden as it starts to fill in over the next two or three years.

  4. Annette says:

    True, the wall makes the garden seem bigger and one wonders what’s behind it. I would have planted it with wall shrubs, climbers though ๐Ÿ˜‰ …I’m “terrible” for using up all space available and admire people like you, dear Cathy, who can show such restraint.

    • Cathy says:

      Ah, Annette, it HAS had climbers & the like at various times since 2001 – a Fremontodendron (thuggish and unkind to the skin), espailier apricot (no apricots), a trained ceanothus (too blue) and climbing rose ‘Pardirektor Riggers’ (still there). Too many climbers would detract from the lovely brick colour which sets off the hot border colours, but I am already thinking as a write this that a .. what is it … banksii lutea? (something like that) rose would do nicely… The seed is sown… (and, by the way, I don’t possess restraint where the garden is concerned!)

  5. I am ever amazed at your hard landscaping achievements Cathy, I know you say you like doing them, you would need to, the wall looks nice, the before and after photos it looks so much nicer with the wall, as for using the wall would you not have consider training a fruit tree/shrub against it,
    beautiful acers, you’ll have to buy more pots ๐Ÿ˜‰ you are lucky the plants were replaced so promptly, of a large order of plants I made in auntumn 2011 when they arrived they had not been packed well and 2 were out of their pots I e mailed the company immediately and they said plants are tough they should be alright but if they don’t grow next spring (2012) they would replace them, well one didn’t grow but no replacement they just ignored my e mails,

    • Cathy says:

      That’s a really poor experience, Frances, as I have never had a problem with mail order replacements – but your company will lose customers if that is the response you get. See reply to Annette re training plants against the wall, and thanks for the positive comments about my skills – I must admit I was pleased with this wall and at least you can see the work that went went into it as the extension is rendered so all my breeze block laying is covered up!

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