I have a small garden, but I have many Japanese maples. I'll count them later, but there are a lot, four actually planted in the ground (intentionally), and a veritable host in a variety of amateur bonsai. They love Seattle and its shadowy skies and general dampness, the proximity of the ocean, the clouds that come in heavily laden, the rain.

I have a small garden, I’ll say again. But for some arcane reason the trees last year sent out a sign amongst themselves to be fecund, to share pollens together and make seeds of almost magical fertility. And now that a cold and suspiciously stormy winter has lifted with some degree of certainty, those seeds are all awake.

Japanese maple seedling in the garden

First I started to harvest them for my sister’s garden. Seedlings will be lovely small trees in five years, and will continue to grow and flourish over decades of majestic maturity. We will still be here to see it become a forest, barring force majeure.

Japanese maple seedling transplanted to a plastic pot

And I kept thinking over days, how very many of them there are! Soon so many seedlings were rising in unlikely places, with their long seedling leaves and the hint of reddish green maple leaves growing from the center, that I imagined I could plant a Japanese forest like the ones outside of Tokyo, all planted in tight rows in close harmony. It’s not my style, but we could plant one that was really dense, too.

So I tried to count them this evening. I found ninety of them at the back under the sangu kaku. I’m not saying I have ninety sangu kaku seedlings, I offer no guarantees. Of all the maples I have, most of them came from refugee seedlings of mixed parentage from a faraway Japanese garden. They would have had their roots tugged from the soil and been discarded as weeds. I did a good thing.

No, but they’ll be trees someday and I definitely don’t have room for them. I stopped count at one hundred Japanese maple seedlings, because it didn’t make any sense to count more than that. I certainly can’t rescue them all.


April 24, 2019 @05:09 pm
Chris, over 100 is many. Went to see maples at the Japanese Garden in the Arboretum last week...so many varieties... azaleas soon...

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