I think I’m in love with a small tree. Pink might be stretching a point – would apricot-pink be more accurate? Either way, it’s a striking colour for a tree – perfect for growing in a winter garden, when the bark and branches come into their own.
We found it in Bodnant’s winter garden in Wales and it may have been that the late afternoon light was playing a few tricks on the camera. Acer x conspicuum ‘Phoenix’ would tick the conspicuous box – something about it reminds me of a bad spray tan from the 1980s (spray tan plus sunburn, perhaps). An unfortunate look on a person, but great on a tree.
Even the snakebark bit doesn’t faze me. A real snake would have me dashing for the hills, but I wish I had lingered longer to take better close ups of the unusual bark, which is striped pink and silver in places. Never having seen a tree like this before, I had the vague feeling of wondering if it was real or if I was going to find a sign nearby saying ‘Tee-hee – fooled you! Pink Tree sculpture by XXX’.
I’ve since read that this cultivar can reach quite some size when fully grown (up to 6m / 20ft), assuming it doesn’t succumb to our wet winter climate. My fingers are crossed. I’ve made a promise to call back often and see how it gets on – you might call it a tryst with a tree. Mind you, I’ll have to be on my toes to spot it – the bark is greenish yellow in summer and its foliage turns golden yellow in the autumn. Chameleon tree might be a better name, with the added benefit that I like chameleons. They don’t scare me at all.