"A solitary maple on a woodside flames in single scarlet, recalls nothing so much as the daughter of a noble house dressed for a fancy ball, with the whole family gathered around to admire her before she goes." ~ Henry JamesI read about the Japanese maple before the nursery fellows came to plant our tree. Stephen bought a ten year old tree, three trunks and I was nervous. The nursery delivered it on a large truck, they dug the hole, fertilized and planted it carefully. I watered it faithfully with the soaker hose, twice a day for three weeks and then once a day for another two weeks and then our more rainy season began. It has smallish leaves, but not as lacy and delicate as the weeping Japanese maple we have in the patio container. They said this was one of the most red of the red varieties and I kept waiting for the leaves to turn and fall.
The color started to really change around late September. By this time almost all of our other standard maples had lost their leaves due to the extreme heat of the summer. But not this Japanese maple. I read some more... and discovered that this variety clings to its leaves until the beginning of December. For two months we were graced with a brilliant show of red.... flaming like fire as the sun shines through the canopy.. and then... on December 1st, they started to flutter to the ground; slowly at first and then at a more frenzied pace as if they were in a race for some grand prize. At the end of one week and just before the first and early snowfall, they were gone... scattered in the wind, mulched back into the grass... leaving behind the bare limbs of winter, ready for that first touch of white.
So these are for my brother Stephen.. pictures of his flaming red tree. He had to leave before they changed color, before they flew, before they "flamed" out for the winter. And now, I sit and hope they bud again this spring. Never before has one tree made me so anxious!
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