Kazakhstan is 12 time zones around the globe from Colorado (i.e., it's as far to the East as it is to the West...in other words, it's at the ends of the earth). Which is where both the gentleman in the picture and the tree he is shaking leaves/hands with comes from. The man is Vladimir Kolbintsev, a remarkable and wonderful naturalist who is spending three weeks in Colorado
thanks to the North American Rock Garden Society which brought him to speak at our annual meeting that just took place last week in Salida (another story and a good one...maybe my next blog). Vladimir knows herps, mammals, birds and geology as well as he knows plants, which is pretty darned good! He was shocked to see Acer tataricum 'Hot wings' at Denver Botanic Gardens...
This is the original plant, originally picked out of a long line of seedlings grown at Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery by Gary Epstein, owner and guru of that fabulous nursery. It has become a star of Plant Select We were lucky to have it transplanted to a prominant site near our entrance. This wonderful tree with bright red samaras (which make it look like it's blooming all summer) originates in Central Asia...in fact, I was shocked to find Acer tataricum in the Kalbinsky Hills between Ust Kamenogorsk and Katom Karagai....names that resonate with me now but which were gibberish to me too a year or so ago! In fact, we found maples with red samaras that could have passed for 'Hot Wings' at one locality.
How appropriate that our friend from Kazakhstan might reunite with this stunning maple so far from home. Gardening is really all about gentle reunions along these lines.