Acer palmatum - possibly Bloodgood

A week ago I returned from a 20-day marketing trip to Kwazulu-Natal during which I covered over 4400km. The first thing I did on arrival was take a quick dusk walk around the garden, and followed up with regular walks thereafter. As I write this at the end of what has been a busy first week home, I can claim: autumn is at its peak! Minutes after I arrived last Saturday, friends from Bloemfontein, lovers of the garden over many years, arrived for their first ever autumn visit. Do you think they enjoyed it? Winking smile

Pieter in Bloodgood

These first photos were taken at one of my favourite autumn spots. The red maple is our darkest red Japanese maple – I suspect it is ‘Bloodgood’ although very few of our Japanese maples came to us bearing names. In fact this morning I discovered that the graftings propagated from it by my friends Laurie and Erie from Sandford Heights Nursery at the top of Magoebaskloof are sold as ‘Jack’s Red’!

Favourite trees

So here it is again: a weeping flowering cherry and beyond it ‘Jack’s Red’, then a swamp cypress just beginning to turn and ‘Jack’s Red Plane’ – a plane I found in a KZN nursery in April some 20 years ago bearing red instead of yellow autumn leaves.

Layers of autumn colour

I have after a week at home yet to take any systematic autumn shots – and thus I present to you now a selection of photos in which Japanese maples unashamedly predominate…

Light through Japanese maple leaves

Detail Japanese maple leaf

It’s been a good year for mushrooms – I’ve never before seen a fairies’ apartment block! (Colour-coded, of course…)

Fairies' apartment block

Here is the view from the bridge, looking across to one of our best autumn views.The House that Jack Built is a little to the right when seen from here.

View from the bridge

We are back at the trees in the first shots now, looking at the stream as it flows beneath them; a branch from Jack’s Red (I’m liking using that name Smile) and leaves from the weeping cherry. And then a self-portrait taken meters downstream.

Stream at favourite trees


A close-up of you-know-what…

Jack's Red Japanese Maple

We are due to move on now to the maples at the Beech Borders, the most overwhelming of all our autumn sights – but I think I’ll first have to sort through that pile of pics…


18 thoughts on “INDULGING IN AUTUMN

  1. What a welcome home! Jack’s Red is a brilliant reminder for those of us in the NH of what we have yet to come. Also love the muted tones of ‘Light through Japanese Maples’

  2. Your colours are simply superb – here in England we are in emerald green spring, and you are in fiery autumn – it’s quite mind boggling! Your photographs are wonderful of it all. Loved all the previous posts about your Dad – very moving, and great testament to one man’s vision. Happy gardening, Ursula

  3. ‘Jack’s Red’ is the perfect name, and what an honor! Your autumn reaches its peak just as our spring does. Both are my favorite times of the year in the garden. Of course, I love the Japanese maples, and your fairies apartment block is delightful!

    By the way, I enjoyed reading the story of your dad and his arboretum. It brought tears to my eyes.

  4. Hi Jack. Last Wednesday I came up with my folks, Colin and Cameron and we had a walk (and picnic) in your beautiful garden. It was such a wonderful afternoon and I’m so glad I got to see these maples first hand. They are spectacular! As for the picnic, we made ourselves comfy on the tables near ‘The house that Jack built’. Not sure if that’s ‘legal’ or not but it was a most memorable hour or two and we have laid plans to come and stay in that charming little cottage. Thank you for sharing your garden so generously!

  5. We are glad that you like the moniker of ‘Jack’s Red’ – it is clearly one of the better cultivars we have, Not only glorious autumn colors, but the new leaves in spring are outstanding, one of the brightest reds you get in maple leaves. Thanks for sharing your autumn with us, we never get to your garden at the right time!

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