Japanese Maples Garden Tour

Bill Hudgins' Atlanta garden is a showplace for shade-loving plants. But for this lifelong gardener and owner of Lush Life home and garden boutique, it's his hundreds of Japanese maples that make his garden so special. 

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Hillside Harmony

Bill Hudgins' garden is a study in textures. Japanese maples, English boxwoods, ferns and hostas fill his hillside retreat in northwest Atlanta. 

Fiery Fall Foliage

Most Japanese maples prefer part shade, but many thrive in full sun, unfurling their most vibrant fall color.

Compact Beauty

This maple, Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira', features heavily curled green leaves that give an interesting texture to this compact, shrubby tree. The foliage becomes purple-red with orange-red patterns in fall. 

Natural Wonder

Hudgins' Buckhead garden is part formal, part natural with bridge-covered streams meandering the wooded property. There, he's lovingly nurtured his collections of Japanese maples, boxwoods and hostas.

Cascading Color

The 'Tamukeyama' maple, with its strong cascading form, is known for holding its color throughout summer and early fall.

Gems of Gold

A trio of coral bark maples forms a screen of brilliant chartreuse and then gold in fall.

Threadleaf Thriller

The foliage of 'Crimson Queen' has a delicate lacy texture and is tinged with burgundy.

Study in Grace

'Crimson Queen' is a low-branching, dwarf maple with a weeping look. 

A Dash of Color

Pots of ornamental peppers and chrysanthemums add accents of color throughout Hudgins' mostly green shade garden.

Alfresco Glory

Potted boxwoods and other shrubs help enclose an outdoor dining space in the garden. In the background, rows of Japanese maples provide a splash of fall color to the hillside.

Behind the Scenes

Hudgins maintains a small nursery of Japanese maples at various stages of growth. In fall, the volume of trees can produce a blaze of color.

Simply Serene

A pair of weeping Japanese Maples forms a focal point above a patio water feature, flanked by the contrasting forms of potted boxwoods. 

Color Evolution

'The 'Coonara Pygmy' Japanese maple is an excellent dwarf variety with a compact structure. Pale pink and green leaves emerge in spring and by summer turn all green. Fall brings bright orange and yellow leaves, accented with splashes of red. 

Pots of Gold

Japanese maples make great container trees and can be underplanted with ferns or annuals.

Gracious Spaces

From the house, outdoor living spaces range from a slate-covered porch to a stepping stone- and mondo grass-checkered terrace, from which steps descend to the front-yard garden. 

Elegant Forms

Renowned for fine red foliage in spring, 'Shigitatsu Sawa' turns a pink-tinted green for summer, and finally a muted shade of orange-red in autumn. These maples are well known for their pale veins. Hudgins' tree has been pruned up for a vase form.

Inviting Vistas

One of Hudgins' favorite ways to grow maples is in pots. This green threadleaf variety, Acer palmatum dissectum 'Viridis', marks the entrance to the back hillside garden.

Weeping Wonder

This maple, 'Jiro Shidare', has small, green leaves that turn scarlet in autumn. Its branches are know to weep all the way to the ground.

Unique Colorations

Planted in a large pot, this dwarf variety, 'Sekka Yatsubusa', is characterized by leaves that bunch up along its stems and are edged in red for an even more unique effect.

Maple Connoisseur

When not at work at Lush Life, his Atlanta home and garden boutique store, Bill Hudgins loves nothing more than spending time cultivating his favorite plants in his home garden.