Monday, July 7, 2008

World's Only Blue Japanese Maple

At first, it was a normal and quite lovely little red laceleaf maple exuberantly residing along side the kitchen patio. It's dark red foliage was just the right accent for all the colors around it. Had it not been severely damaged by a falling tree en route to market, it would have been adopted out. Yet there it was living large and growing to great beauty that left mo visible traces of the once maiming event.

That was until those rascally rabbits discovered the delectable array of fodder known as my fenced in garden. I suspect this arrival of the cottonball tailed wretches was due to a harsh winter's lack of available food. Indeed, we had all lived in peace and harmony for years prior to this particular fateful off-season.

Whatever the reason for the invasion of the body munchers, the heinous murder of the once fabulous Acer palmatum dissectum 'Crimson Queen' was rendered overnight by creatures with harmful intent. Not only did they raise the branch canopy as far above the ground as could be reached by standing on the tips of their thumper feet, they stripped the specimen of nature from stem to stern of bark and greenwood. Heartless wee buggers!

Spring arrived and nary a sign of leafy life erupted from the sad remains. Not that I expected any such occurrence. Mind you, while I may be a tad crazy, one would never say that I was daft.
Daily, I mourned the loss of the red leaves as I scurried from task to task, completely consumed by the mad work load called spring. The notion dawned that though no longer of the living, the architecture of the remains was a rather lovely sculpture. I toyed with the idea of painting it as a method of resuscitating the corpse.

Every time I laid eyes on it there just beyond the patio table, I considered which color would best set off the framework. White? Red? Purple..... surely one inkling would steer me in the right direction. The perfect idea came not from my own mind but from the infamous Carolyn - inspector of plants and issuer of growing licenses to persons such as myself.

"Oh, how sad - the rabbits have killed your lovely Japanese Maple," she cried when the lifeless evidence crossed her range of vision. "You know," she continued, "it has lovely architecture. Why don't you paint it French Blue? Thats like the hot color right now you know." And so French Blue it was...

Our instincts proved on target, it made the perfect container garden centerpiece invoking comments of wonder from all who spied it there in front of the barn. The first sentence out of any visitor's mouth upon arrival to the location... "Whats up with the blue tree?" It even inspired some folks to consider what color they should paint a dead tree they had to look at.

This all took place the same year that some enterprising soul sold a piece of toast on eBay for $20,000 on which the browning pattern supposedly bore Mother Mary's image. Ever inventive myself, I thought to have something that should surely be worth $100. So my lovely little tree was listed for auction (sans container). I was soon to discover why we should be very concerned about levels of intelligence at large in modern society. Please note how filled in the begonias in the container are in the actual photo posted on the auction, as seen above.

The auction said:
"Aure Asagi Dedo Japanese Maple
World's Only Blue Japanese Maple for sale. The striking and unusual Acer palmatum dissectum 'Azure Usagi Dedo' is the only specimen in existence. Cannot be reproduced. There will never be another one like this offered anywhere ever again. (Auction is for tree only, container and flowers are not offered for sale.)"

Pretty straightforward don't you think? Here is a sampling of the queries I received:

"What color are the leaves?"
"Do the leaves turn red later on?"
"What country did this tree come from?"
"Will you be propagating more of them?"
"I trust you will guarantee it to be in good health."
"Is this photo real or did you do this in PhotoShop?"
"I thought you said it was a tree. It looks suspiciously like a vine to me."

Carolyn and I had a total hoot over these ridiculous questions. Next, I rode the wave to fame on Garden Web as a scam artist of all things. The pitiful purists in the Japanese Maple threads were having a field day scathingly reprimanding my rather questionable reputation. Is it possible that these overly indulged plant collectors could actually assume such haughty demeanor that they cannot see the humor here? This discussion thread went on for about a month after the auction ended. I worry about too much seriousness lavished about by these supposed believers in tomorrow. Like get a life already, buddy!

Newly clad in True Blue for the following season.

The entire little scenario was far to fantastic as fodder for hilarity online. Much to my regret, not one bid was ever placed. The notoriety this won me was a short lived burst of fame which thankfully was never connected to my professional person ... plant shoppers behaving in this manner was more than I wanted to deal with daily. I decided no one else deserved to enjoy my Azure Usagi Dedo Maple. What did I care if no one bought it?

About 3 days after the auction ended, I got an email from a lady regarding the tree. She thought it was just beautiful and wanted to know if she could buy it for $20.00 if shipping were included. It was then that I washed my hands of eBay completely. What sane and reasonably intelligent person would want to try to sell things to this set of mindsets? I told the woman it was sold to some high priced catalog nursery. She was very sad she had missed out on such a special item. Perhaps this is the woman who bought the toast and blew her savings on a hard piece of bread of dubious reputation.

Enjoy the memory of the worlds only Japanese Maple. These kinds of things do not have a longevity rating. It did however gather many interesting comments over the two seasons it graced the driveway approach to my barn. I know that there is a dead apple tree somewhere that is painted rose and used to display a large collection of birdhouses somewhere in mid Michigan.

By the third spring, the brittle structure became so easily broken that a late, heavy snowfall broke most of the limbs off falling out of the tree above it. Rest in peace Azure Usagi Dedo, thank you for brightening so many people's days. May all the little wahbbits find themselves turned into furry slippers. Incidently, Usagi is Japanese for "rabbit", Dedo translates to "dead" and Azure... well the French word just rolled out with the other two words far better than the Japanese counterpart.


Phillip said...

This is too funny! Did you jump in on the Gardenweb discussion or just stand by amused?

Guilty Gardener said...

No I didn't jump in, then they would most likely have ceased puffing up their egos and revealing their ignorance. All told the entire affair was quite hysterical. It brings a whole new meaning to the warning on a shampoo bottle that states, "Do not get in eyes."