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Star of the Season : Light and Lacy… Japanese Maples

Alan Jackson is crazy about maples! His nursery, Maple Springs is in Little Hartley where he propagates, grafts and grows 250 species of maple. Over the last 25 years he has designed and created Gory’u Japanese garden

Alan is jumping out his skin with excitement as his maples burst into fresh new leaf.

The Lace-Leafed Maple, Acer palmatum ‘Ornatum Roseum’, recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society for its outstanding qualities, has delicate ferny, lace-like leaves. Bronze red in the spring turning bronze green in summer, then crimson red in autumn; it’s a winner!


This one is Acer palmatum 'Ornatum Roseum' (pictured). It was given to us just a month ago … by Alan himself! It’s still young and we have promised to care for it, and keep it in a pot. Now it’s come into leaf we are so thrilled with its delicate foliage.


Here are Alan’s top tips to grow great maples:

  • Grow maples in morning sunshine, protect from the hot western sun.

  • Do give them good drainage, and well composted soil.

  • Do mulch well each year to protect the roots from heat.

  • Do not grow maples in shade.

  • Do not allow them to dry out, keep them irrigated.

  • Do feed in August and late February with Blood and Bone or controlled release fertiliser.

  • Do watch out for aphid attack on the new spring growth. Ladybird larvae can control them. Alternatively spray with dishwashing liquid.

  • Best areas for growing delicate lace-leaf varieties: The Tablelands, Blue Mountains NSW, Hinterlands of Queensland, Tasmania and most of Victoria.

  • The basic species Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple) is excellent in all districts. It will grow 4-6 metres in height and as wide.


Read more about Alan's magnificent garden in Graham's interview here.


Alan’s favourite upright Japanese maple:

Acer palmatum ‘Emperor one’

A graceful form with blackish red bark and dark red foliage that turns a brilliant scarlet in Autumn. An ideal specimen or small lawn tree. Most intense colour in full sun, but best protected with dappled or afternoon shade in hotter regions.

His favourite weeping ‘Feather Leaf’ maple:

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Inaba Shidare’

An excellent variety of weeping Japanese Maple thought to have the best, deepest red/purple colour of all. Weeping Maples are grafted onto a standard, usually between 50cm -1.8m and will bush out and weep down from this height.


Where to buy Japanese Maples

Maple Springs Nursery, Baaners Lane, Little Hartley