Scenes from the Japanese Maple Garden

Last Father's Day my present was a little Japanese Maple. It rested in it's pot for a while and finally was planted in the fall when I had the perfect location for it, the Japanese Maple Garden next to our newly constructed patio. It's a young garden bed with just a few plantings but in time it will grow as the Japanese maple grows. I tend to plant smaller plants and give them time to grow rather than spend lots of money on larger plants. Time is one element that a thrifty gardener can exploit! In this bed I planted pink Mulhy grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), a Japanese Maple (couldn't be a Japanese maple garden without one could it?), two 'Husker's Red' penstemon (Penstemon digitalis), coreopsis, and hopefully a variegated hydrangea.  I suspect the hydrangea didn't make it through the winter but we'll see.  In the fall I planted daffodils and hyacinths with the idea that the purple and yellow colors would look great together but a strange thing happened on the way to blooming.  The blue-purple hyacinths...

were not all blue-purple!

Apparently the hyacinths were mixed together when the package claimed they were all of one color.  It happens sometimes.  I'm not too picky about it so I'll just leave them be for now. The gentle smell of the hyacinths wafts over the patio making it fragrant space to spend the warm pre-spring evenings.

The daffodils will thicken as they age and will gradually fill up the space.  I could have planted them closer together to give the appearance of a more established bed but I'm content to wait until the bulbs multiply by themselves.  I'll add a few more daffodils to the gardens each fall.

Soon the daffodils and hyacinths will fade away and perennials and annuals will begin to take over the beds.  It's a good idea to leave the foliage until it turns brown to give the bulbs as much energy from the sun as possible for next season. There's always something growing!