He is hands down my favourite cultivar within the species Acer palmatum, often referred to as the ubiquitous 'Japanese' maple. I have flitted around the edges of this near obsession for many gardeners with menial success at best. My Z5 garden simply isn't conducive for most species within this beguilingly temperamental genus! This isn't to say that I haven't had at least one success! Meet A.p 'Mikawa yatsubusa' - my 'Tyrion' amongst a genus that possesses some rather large specimens!
'Mikawa yatsubusa' is a superlative dwarf, that many consider to be among the top five selections when it comes to the Japanese art of bonsai. Its outstanding structure, colour and dense foliage set it apart from other cultivars. The delicate, slightly serrated, thin leaves overlap one another, giving it a feathery appearance, which has led some to pontificate that its unique growth habit is comparable to the placement of shingles upon a roof. There is an undeniable resemblance, but I find it rather obtuse considering the diminutive stature and delicate appearance of this darling!
We have two larger sized specimens in our Japanese inspired display gardens at Cedar Spring Nursery, but I have been pampering this much smaller guy in hopes of transferring him to a container planting for my own garden once the weather turns. He is reliably hardy for this zone, having over wintered in our propagation bed the winter before last, but I was worried about the deer and rabbit population that seem to sniff out my most delicate and prized possessions every year! In the Fall, his leaves turn yellowish orange, and there is a discernible blood red coloration to the tip of each leaf! It makes for a staggering display from the moment it first leafs out, until it drops its last leaf as the temperatures begin to drop.
I have been hesitant to indulge in the art of bonsai, quite content to let 'Tyrion' put forth new growth at his own pace. Perhaps one day I will reconsider, but for the time being I find myself grinning like a fool every time he happens to catch my eye!