Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 36

GEORGIA Gardens
By Pamela A. Keene
J
Japanese maples: a
apanese maples deliver when it comes to color and seasonal
interest.
" When you add a Japanese maple cultivar to your landscape,
you're making an investment that will continue to give back, " says Jim
Gibbs, owner of Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground and founder of Smyrnabased
Gibbs Landscape Co. " They can be an important and showy part of
your landscape, bringing color and interest three or four seasons a year,
depending on the cultivar. "
Japanese maples, a broad classification of plants known as Acer
palmatum, are diverse in color, leaf shape, growth habit and mature size.
Some can grow as tall as 25 to 30 feet; others stay as small as 3 to 5 feet.
Foliage colors include light chartreuse, red, flaming orange and deep
purple.
" Some Japanese maples have a mounding growth habit, others have
weeping branches and still others are upright, " Gibbs says. " But perhaps
the most important thing to know about Japanese maples is the difference
between a cultivar and a seedling when it comes to plant reproduction. "
Gibbs explains that cultivars are exact replicas of the parent plant,
usually grown by taking a cutting and either rooting it or grafting it onto a
rootstock.
" Seedlings are just that: grown from pollinated seed that may or may
not replicate the traits of the parent plant, " he says. " Seedling Japanese
maples are much less expensive than cultivars because the seedlings may
carry traits of either parent plant. True cultivars reproduce the sought-after
characteristics of the parent: leaf color, growth habit, leaf shape and so
forth. "
He advises shoppers not to purchase trees that don't have a label with
the cultivar name.
" You won't know what you're getting, because in all likelihood it's a
seedling, " he says. " To see true cultivars, Google 'Japanese maples' and
explore the wide range of possibilities. "
Top picks for color, interest
Gibbs visited Japan in the 1970s and has a special appreciation for
plants native to Asia. Since 1980, he has naturalized more than 6,000
Japanese maples on Gibbs Gardens' 376 acres.
All Japanese maples are known for their hand-shaped leaves with five
to seven pointed lobes.
Gibbs has several favorite varieties.
" 'Bloodgood' and 'Emperor' are among my favorite cultivars when it
comes to reliable red and burgundy foliage, but each has its own strengths, "
he says. " 'Bloodgood' can grow 10 to 20 feet tall with a spread of about the
same. It has bright-red new leaves in the spring, then reddish-purple
36 Georgia Magazine January 2023
'Sango Kaku'
'French Kiss'
focus on form, foliage
Japanese cutleaf maple
COURTESY GIBBS GARDENS
COURTESY GIBBS GARDENS

Georgia Magazine - January 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - January 2023

Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 4
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 5
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 6
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 7
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 8
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 9
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 10
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 11
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 12
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 13
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 14
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 15
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 16
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 17
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 18
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 19
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 20
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 21
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22A
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22B
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22C
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22D
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 23
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 24
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 25
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 26
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 27
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 28
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 29
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 30
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 31
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 32
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 33
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 34
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 35
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 36
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 37
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 38
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 39
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 40
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 41
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 42
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Cover4
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