There is nothing like going out in fire; our garden is certainly in its seasonal senescence right now... a series of progressively harder freezes (with 'teens predicted for tonight) have pretty well pared it to the core. However, there is one last hurrah; the Japanese maples, in all their red, gold, and yellow glory. This is Acer palmatum dissectum Green Waterfall; a mouthful of a name for a small tree. I use the word "small" somewhat hopefully, for I have it planted about three feet from a garden bench, and Green Waterfall is said to reach up to ten feet across. Of course, by the time that happens, the whole garden will be so overgrown with everything I've stuffed into it, that you won't be able to get to the bench anyway. This is one of my favorite palmatums, with very finely cut fern leaves; green in the summer, it turns to fiery yellow-orange, deepening to bronze with crimson overtones. In the evening, as the last rays of sun cross the west ridge, this little maple glows like a pile of fireplace coals. Many of the finely cut leaf maples are not known for winter hardiness, suffering repeated twig and branch die-back to the point of terminal ugliness. Green waterfall has so far not been even touched by winter here, and it was one of the few Japanese maples not damaged by our freakish late spring freeze this year... I know gardens all over the midwest (even down into Missouri and Kentucky) had their Japanese maples just devastated by this freeze.
Hopefully the severe cold tonight will not just crisp all the other maples, for there is lots more color to come; fire then ice.