The Acer japonicum ‘Aureum’ is struggling so very much. I think overall it is in much too deep shade on the north side of our house (being a rowhouse we only have north or south sides), and with that horrible windstorm just after it had been transplanted it may have been shocked too much. We’ll see what it comes up with for next year, because there are few plants that I would like to grow more than this one, but at the moment I am not terribly hopeful.
We’ve spoken with our amazing neighbors though, and are going to remove some branches off of their tree over the back wall. This tree is an enormous and wonderfully healthy Bradford pear, whose branches now rake the side of our house and make opening the upper windows difficult. Our neighbors have enthusiastically been encouraging us to prune it back as much as we like on our side for some time and this week is it. Perhaps that will help the ‘Aureum’ a bit.
Otherwise I have a short list of contenders for its place next spring: English Yew, some type of hydrangea (arborescens and quercifolia being most shade tolerant, but fantasies of a tree-trained P.G. persist), or Cornus florida (with underplantings). My dear husband says I am maniacal and desperately fickle tyrant when it comes to my plants; they have one chance to show their worth or their on to someone else’s garden. He may have the right of it.