Fires which do not burn

 

A Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) arrived at Winterthur, Delaware as a gift to Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969, American) 100 years ago. 

 

Planted on a slope and often the subject of plein airists, this magnificent tree keeps a delayed schedule different from the trees around. 

 

 

Twice in a year its leaves pass through fires: in late spring and summer reds of maroon, ruby, fox and plum;

 

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And then in late autumn, red-oranges and shades of yellow

 

 

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In between these two periods, in late summer, its leaves are green.

 

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The non-native magnolias are in full flower when the Japanese maple begins to put out green shoots.

 

 

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Saucer and Alexandrina magnolia in April 

 

 

And sometimes it is an early snow which puts out the maple’s last embers in November. 

 

In leaf, the tree is large and you can live under its boughs. 

 

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In winter and early spring, the tree is a shadow of itself, small in volume and bent over.

 

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Its exposed roots in winter are a reminder of its actual size.

 

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Photos taken in the last nine years of the pleasure and solace of twenty-five.

 

 

 

March/April

 

 

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Glory of the snow in the understory of the Japanese maple

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A neighbouring Japanese Cornel as it is in March and April 

 

 

 

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Winter aconite in the understory of the Japanese maple

 

 

 

April/May through September

 

 

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Amur Adonis populate the understory of the Japanese maple 

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Virginia Bluebell in April under the boughs of the Japanese maple

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Azalea on the slope below the Japanese maple

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September-October

 

 

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Ferns under the boughs of the Japanese Maple

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October/November

 

 

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Japanese maple Winterthur October 2015-2 - Copy

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Japanese Maple at Winterthur, November 8, 2011

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Winterthur November 2011-3

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A Norwegian spruce at the back of the Japanese maple, separated by a path,  always tends to overshadow the maple but this is obvious only in winter

 

 

 

The tree is not entirely naked in winter.

Moss clings if  autumn and winter are intermittently warm.

 

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Leaves turn silver-brown  and some  remain attached.

 

 

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After the last snow

 

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After the Lenten roses appear

 

Lenten rose in March in Winterther

 

 

after the blues have colonized the grounds of Winterthur

 

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and winterhazel and Korean rhododendron have again accompanied each other’s spring,

 

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Spike winterhazel fronted by Korean rhododendron every April in Winterthur

 

then the Japanese maple sends out green shoots before leafing into its magnificent fiery reds which do not burn.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Fires which do not burn

  1. There ought to be a term for the unique (branch spread pattern) for tree species. White oaks, sycamores, Japanese maple (………) are some of my personal favorites.

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