My Girls, The Maples

By Amy Grant | April 28, 2021
by Amy Grant
April 28, 2021

I adore trees. I grew up in Eastern Washington with towering Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs and then spent decades in Western Washington teeming with Western red cedar, Sitka spruce, and Western hemlock. 

Evergreen trees aside, I have always had an affinity for deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are mercurial and change with the seasons, never looking exactly the same for more than three or so months at a time. 

Japanese Maple Gift

This is why even when I didn’t have a garden space of my own I coveted a tree. Something I could grow in a container. My best friend made this dream come true by giving me a lovely Japanese maple for my birthday, oh, about 25 years ago. 

There are about 700 cultivars of Japanese maple give or take. I must admit that I don’t remember which cultivar I have. What I do know is that it has a twisted central trunk out from which wispy branches thrust, adorned with bright scarlet leaves that shift in hue through the seasons from burgundy to gold. 

Ms. Shoyu 

I love this tree so much and have moved it over the course of 25 times to areas bright with sun and also shadowed. Shoyu (yep, I named my tree) has reliably weathered outdoor temperatures in the negatives as long as it is under a patio and heavily mulched. 

Each year she (yes, I deem her a female) slowly unfurls her graceful foliage. I look forward to this as much as I look forward to the daffodils pushing forth from the soil or the bloom of my crabapple. 

And Her Friend Mabel

Shoyu usually lags behind Mabel. Who’s Mabel? Mabel is another Acer given to me by my Mom. Again, no one knows Mabel’s exact lineage (well, Mom the Master Gardener, probably does) but she coexists with Shoyu in her own container and has for about 20 years

Both of my container grown maples are links to my past and my future and I look forward (albeit with bated breath fearing the winter has killed them) to their leafing out each spring, much like I look forward to a visit from an old friend I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing in awhile. 

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