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Acers and Azaleas

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Production team | 16:33 UK time, Friday, 2 October 2009

Toby BucklandThere's something so lovely about the scent and feel of the soil at this time of year. It's noticeably warmer than the crisp autumn air - no wonder newly planted trees are so keen to root now.

After planting 'Osakazuki' in the new woodland garden at Greenacre I feel as though I have what Oprah Winfrey might call 'some closure'.
Years ago, I sowed a tray of seeds collected from the maple with the most fiery autumn colour of all; Acer 'Osakazuki'. After a winter out in the cold they sprouted and the following year I potted up the one with the best colour for turning into a bonsai. I even made my own shallow pot drilling holes in the base of a terracotta drip tray, collected moss to cover the roots to create a Japanese woodland floor-look and spent the next five years pruning, training and preening. But no matter how much I mollycoddled, the tips of the leaves always turned an ugly brown.
What could possibly be going wrong? I watered with collected rain and misted regularly - I did everything by the book. After the tree gave up the ghost I interviewed a bonsai grower who said that all acers were brilliant for bonsai. When I told him how difficult my 'Osakazuki' seedling was he said "yes - all acers except that one"!
Both the newly planted Azaleas and Acers will produce fiery autumn tints at Greenacre. The foliage colour alone will look wonderful but tumbling amongst late season flowers it will look magnificent. So, to keep with the Oriental theme, Japanese anemones will fill out the soil around their roots. To do this I'll need quite a few, but they are the easiest plant to propagate. We don't even need to take cuttings. The pots of plants brought up from Berryfields have rooted into the soil in our nursery beds and the roots if left undisturbed will sprout into new plants in the spring. Brilliant!


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