Whenever you read a description of coral bark Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango kaku’), you’ll probably see the word glowing used early on. While there are many maples I find more appealing year-round than coral bark, I was struck by the fact that it really did seem to be glowing as I rounded the bend of the road one recent overcast day. There it was, all lit up against a backdrop of magnolias and other evergreens — probably the most effective use of the tree I’d seen.
This maple has suckered and spread to a width of 8-10′. Nestled in a variety of plants between the road and the lakeshore, it’s an unexpected treat for eyes that have grown accustomed to winter’s more muted colors. Hmm…. maybe I need to reconsider the virtues of Sango kaku.