Many gardeners are familiar with the cut-leaf maples, those elegant and graceful small trees from Japan with finely divided foliage. Although related to our large sugar and red maples, these trees are very different. They have been collected for centuries in Japan and more recently in the West, with enthusiasts finding new and novel specimens to enchant all of us. At the Tree Center we specialize in a wide range of these trees, covering all types, and we have looked through our collection and selected some that are particularly suitable as gifts because of their unique character. A gift needs to be something special, that will be generous and thoughtful, and a tree such as this Baby Lace Japanese Maple Tree, is perfect to do just that.
What makes this tree very special is the unique coloring and the incredibly quality of the foliage. The leaves are especially finely divided, then divided again, literally resembling a delicate piece of hand-made lace. These leaves are carried elegantly on long leaf-stalks, giving the foliage an ‘airy’ look of true quality. The natural habit of this tree is sprawling, spreading widely but not growing tall at all. We felt that this was not the best way to show off this tree, so we had our specialist growers attach it to a short trunk so that it would be brought higher to be better admired.
So in time this tree will grow between 4 and 6 feet tall, with a spreading crown a little wider than its height. In spring, as the buds open, the expanding leaves will go through a symphony of color changes, being pink, red and green in turn, even all on the same leaf. As summer comes the leaves become a quiet and soft light green, in keeping with a season of relaxation and calmness, but as fall arrives a new riot will break out, with shades of yellow, orange and red splashed across the leaves, before they fall to the ground, ending another season.
Such a versatile tree can be used as a small specimen in an Eastern-influenced garden, or in any garden at all. It will look charming in the partial shade beneath larger trees, or among flowering shrubs like azaleas and rhododendrons. Planted into a large pot – make sure there are drainage holes – it can be placed on a terrace, patio or balcony and moved around to show its seasonal beauty, as the Japanese do with their prized trees. Move it into a shady area for summer, bring it into the sun in spring and fall to develop the best colors. A tree in a pot is a great asset in the garden, allowing you to make changing scenes as you choose.
Like other special Japanese maples, this tree was found by chance. A teacher called Rick Rey, at the Delaware Valley Agricultural School, saw an unusual shoot on another variety of Japanese maple and propagated the piece as a separate plant. This was in the early 1980’s, and the name ‘Baby Lace’ was given to the plant by a nurseryman who saw and grew it. Since then this plant has risen to a special position among aficionados of these lovely trees, who see this as one of the most exotic and special Japanese maples.
Choose a spot in the garden which is partially shaded, especially during the afternoon heat, so that the leaves will be protected from scorching. This tree will be happy in any soil that is moist but well-drained, and adding some organic material during planting, and as annual mulch, will help keep the soil damp too.
Wherever and however you grow your Baby Lace Japanese Maple Tree, you can be sure that this gift tree will bring joy and beauty to the receiver year after year – but our supplies are limited and when this rarity is available requests come rapidly. So, if you want to buy the perfect gift for anyone, including yourself, order now.