Friday, December 1, 2017

Two terrific trees...

Acer monspessulanus in east Denver
 If I had to pick one favorite tree....well, I couldn't. But Montpelier maple may be near the very top of the list of five or so in Denver. This specimen was first shown to me twenty, maybe thirty years ago by Lainie Jackson, one of the most long term volunteers at Denver Botanic Gardens. I have admired it ever since, and since it's on my commute from work to home (and vice versa) I often drive by to admire it. And bring friends along to do so--colleagues in the instance above: I recognize Ebi Kondo in the middle, Mark Fusco on the left, but not the bearded gent (this WAS several years ago)...

Acer monspessulanus in seed at Denver Botanic Gardens
These are seedpods on a seedling of the maple in the first shot we grew where the Childrens garden is now. It was moved to the parking near Waring house where it transplanted and is thriving, although perhaps a tad stunted from its change. It sets wonderful samaras nonetheless!

Acer monspessulanus in fall color
Many a maple has good fall color: but this ancient specimen (I guestimate 100 years old) does so each year--old gold in some lights, more daffodil yellow in others (see below). The tree is really big--although perhaps just 40 tall, it's very happy. I don't think it's been watered in a very long time. These are drought tolerant plants!

Acer monspessulanus in fall color
I love the elegant trident shaped leaf: there IS a trident maple (we have one in Plantasia at the Gardens) but Acer buegerianum is from a humid, maritime climate rather than from the Mediterranean. I doubt it would tolerate this sort of dry spot.

Acer monspessulanus in fall color

Euonymus bungeanus in red fruit
I have rhapsodized about this tree in another blog, But driving by the parkways on the way home and seeing them glimmering with red berries: time to rhapsodize again. This giant Euonymus was planted generously in the magnificent boulevards designed by Mayor Speer and Saco DeBoer almost precisely 100 years ago. They're one of Denver's real marvels--just take a closer look at that trunk! I've always thought they'd be ideal trees for Japanese Gardens since they take on the sinuous look that suits these naturally. And this does grow wild in Japan. Interestingly enough, it appears as though it extends its range into Steppe climates, and I have one in my garden that is thriving--and un-watered!

Euonymus bungeanus closer view

If you drive down 17th or 6th Avenue--or other Boulevards as well--you can hardly help but notice the blazing yellow and red color of these magnificent and unique trees.

Euonymus bungeanus fruit closeup
I think it's ironic that two of the best trees for Denver are restricted to one or two homes in the case of the maple, and to boulevards in the case of the Euonymus.

But they may have a grander future in the next century as we wake up to the value of Tree Diversity!

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