A Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) arrived at Winterthur, Delaware as a gift to Winterthur’s owner, Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969, American) about 100 years ago.
Planted on a slope and often the subject of plein air artists, this magnificent tree keeps a 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;
And then in late autumn, red-oranges and shades of yellow
In between these two periods, in late summer, its leaves are green.
The non-native magnolias are in full flower when the Japanese maple begins to put out green shoots in late April
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.
In winter and early spring, the tree is a shadow of itself, small in volume: a pale scribble left on its slope.
Its exposed roots in winter are a reminder of its actual size.
Photos taken in the last ten years of the great pleasure of this tree over twenty-five years.
Glory of the snow in the understory of the Japanese maple
A neighbouring Japanese Cornel as it is in March and April
Winter aconite in the understory of the Japanese maple
April/May through September
Amur Adonis populate the understory of the Japanese maple
Virginia Bluebell in April under the boughs of the Japanese maple
Azalea on the slope below the Japanese maple
Ferns under the boughs of the Japanese Maple
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.
Leaves turn silver-brown and some remain attached.
Then, after the last snow
After the Lenten roses appear in March
Lenten rose in March in Winterthur
after the blues have colonized the grounds of Winterthur in March
and winterhazel and Korean rhododendron have again accompanied each other’s spring,
Spike winterhazel and Korean rhododendron every April in Winterthur
then the Japanese maple sends out its fine green shoots before leafing into its magnificent fiery reds which do not burn.