I have yet to meet a Japanese maple I didn't like. They have just about every attribute you could want from a small tree: Graceful habit, a right-sized cultivar for almost any size bed or border, attractive foliage that keeps its looks all season long. There are the beautiful butter-gold leaves of Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum', orangey Acer palmatum 'Katsura' and the burgundy hues of many others. OK, so they don't flower dramatically--some do have emerging leaves in colors vivid enough and shapes intriguing enough to challenge many a blossom. And then there's fall color, perhaps the Japanese maple's most attention-getting feature.
I have a unique opportunity to appreciate that not far from home. Of course I can revel in my own many maples, but a few miles away in wooded neighborhood, someone must have planted a few quite a number of years ago. Now, a whole swatch of woodland is awash in Japanese maples. They've been hybridizing themselves, and seeding around for years. And each fall, they put on the best show in town. Tempted though I am to take a shovel and do a little digging, I restrain myself and take only pictures. For more fall foliage photos, check in at The Home Garden, where Dave is hosting the Garden Bloggers' Fall Color Project.