November 8, 2013
A Spectacular Japanese Maple Grove
Japanese maples, of the Acer genus, are remarkable trees that offer so much diversity of color, texture, size, and form, including dwarf, weeping, and upright. And with so many cultivated varieties available, you can find suitable cultivars, which will grow beautifully in sun, shade, containers, and even as bonsai. Japanese maples are relatively small trees and when many are planted together, it makes for an extraordinary grove.
My good friends, Michael and Judy Steinhardt, have an amazing piece of property near my home in Bedford, and they are so fortunate to have such a grove. Several years ago, the Steinhardts hired Jerome and Carole Rocherolle, of Shanti Bithi Nursery in Stamford, Connecticut to oversee the design and landscaping of their property. One of their first projects was to transform a collection of 50 Japanese maples, growing on a slope, into a meditative and serene setting. Today, this thriving grove has more than 400 cultivars from all around the world and strolling through it is indeed, a spiritual and serene experience. It is particularly exciting to visit in the autumn when the gorgeous foliage is aglow with brilliance.
1 This is one of the gates leading into the Steinhardt's property. It's a beautifully crafted Japanese maple tree, hinting at what's inside.
2 This is what you see after driving in and parking - a hillside draped with vivid colors.
3 There are many Japanese accents in this Japanese maple grove.
4 It's common in a Japanese garden to have a red bridge, called a Guzei. Bridges stand for the crossing from the physical world into the realm of the spirit and the color red represents the sacred, as well as wisdom and transformation.
5 Granite lanterns are another element of a Japanese garden.
6 These lanterns are pleasing garden enhancements and delightful to look at.
7 This tranquil spot is equipped with a Japanese style stone bench.
8 This pathway is lined with pine needles and edged with branch posts.
9 A better look at the edging.
10 Sunlight is also important in a Japanese maple grove, as it makes the foliage glow brightly.
11 These pathways remind me of the paths at Skylands, my home in Maine.
12 These amazing leaves belong to Acer japonicum - 'O isami'.
13 Acer japonicum 'Yama kage'
14 Acer japonicum 'Itaya'
15 Acer palmatum - ssp.dissectum - 'Kiri nishiki'
16 A small foot bridge spans over gurgling water.
17 The footbridge leads to stepping logs. The bamboo-like plant is Equisetum hyemale, or Horsetail, Scouring Rush.
18 Acer palmatum - ssp. matsumaurae - 'Nicholsonii'
19 Acer palmatum - ssp. dissectum - 'Ornatum'
20 There's a lot of soft moss carpeting in this grove.
21 Another view of the Guzei
22 Acer palmatum - ssp. dwarf - 'Royal'
23 Looking down the hillside
24 So pretty
25 A pretty orange maple
26 Acer palmatum - ssp. matsumurae - 'Purple Ghost'
27 Another bridge
28 Looking the other direction
29 Acer palmatum - ssp. amoenum - 'Roscoe Red'
30 Another lantern
31 More of that moss carpet
32 The Steinhardts like climbing hydrangea, as I do. In autumn, it provides a pleasing yellow contrast to the bright reds and oranges of the maples.
33 This maple has a great form.
34 There are stone steps throughout the grove.
35 Cascading water
36 And colorful leaves!
37 Acer palmatum - ssp. dwarf - 'Skeeter's Broom'
38 So tranquil
39 Acer palmatum - ssp. matumurae - 'Omure yama'
41 A fabulous weeping variety
42 More gurgling water
43 A moss-covered footbridge
44 Acer japonicum - 'Green Cascade'
45 This is one of the many exotic animals that live at the Steinhardts.
47 Such a great cranberry shade of red
48 Acer palmatum - 'Tsukasa Silhouette'
49 There's even a suspension bridge to cross over.
50 These Japanese maples, with their autumn coloration, are always such a feast for the eyes.