Perfect Match-Crimson Queen Maple and Sunpower Hosta
Arguably the most beautiful of trees, the threadleaf weeping Japanese maple, when properly pruned and sited is the jewel of any garden. Often planted as a focal point to a home’s entrance by professional landscapers, it is beloved by all who gaze upon it. Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ is one of the most common cultivars available. Two of these are growing in the back gardens of the Fairegarden at present. One of them is gracefully anchoring the steeply sloping corner by the lower deck, where she can be viewed at all times from within the house through the glass sliders.
If left unpruned, as many choose to do for various reasons, fear of making a mistake being a prime motivator for doing nothing, Crimson Queen will grow into an unwieldy red blob, with the ravishing branching totally hidden by the waterfall of foliage. And that’s okay, but it is not the way of it here.
Most deciduous shrubs and small trees are, at the very least, limbed up here, the lower branches removed, so that plants can thrive in the filtered shade beneath to give added interest year around and provide more room for a hopeless plant collector to stash their prize plants. The reddish leaves cry out for golden hues as an accessory. The hardy, drought tolerant Hosta ‘Sunpower’ has proven to be the perfect accompaniment in the extremely dry environs of the Daylily Hill where this Japanese maple was planted in 2000.
The largest deciduous tree on our property, a multi-trunk silver maple casts ever more shade each year on the Daylily Hill and is greedy with the available moisture, as well. Starting out with three Hosta ‘Sunpower’, divisions taken from another section of garden, seeing how well they flourished, more were added.
The combination has proven wildly successful, with the hostas keeping weeds to a minimum. Crimson Queen is pruned up high enough to allow for the hosta flower stalks to be seen in mid summer, although they are quickly cut down when the flowers fade. It is the foliage that is the star of this perfect match, not flowers.
Bulbs are planted amongst the crowns of the hostas, with Muscari ssp. being the predominant bloomer. Hyacinthus ‘Gypsy Queen’ have not done well, but the plan is to try something else under there this fall that will show up more and thrive. The earliest yellow daffodils that came with the house are planted between the ring of Stipa tenuissima that borders the outer slope.
Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ begins each new year leafing out in a brilliant rouge colored cloak that slowly becomes more dull as the growing season progresses. As the days shorten in fall, the leaves become even more spectacular with the chlorophyll giving way to the true hues. Even the fading faire Hosta ‘Sunpower’ leaves go out with a blaze of glory.
There are other Japanese maple cultivar and hosta combinations that might be equally as lovely as these, but for our situation, this is a perfect match.
Other Perfect Matches: