In the Pacific Northwest, the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is prized for its ability to provide ornamental interest in every season. One of the most diverse collections you'll find around Puget Sound is at the Evergreen Arboretum & Gardens in Everett, Washington, about 30 miles north of Seattle. Fall is a fine time to see the trees here and imagine which ones might fit into your landscape.
Founded more than 30 years ago, the arboretum occupies 3 acres of Legion Park. Among the first Japanese maples planted here were a pair of A. p. 'Osakazuki' (one is shown above). Today, these magnificent trees put on a spectacular show in October. In the same grove are A. p. 'Sango Kaku' (coral bark maple), which has apricot gold fall foliage, and A. p. 'Shindeshojo', which displays scarlet foliage in spring.
Elsewhere on the grounds, you'll find a conifer garden displaying trees and shrubs for residential landscapes.
Evergreen Arboretum & Gardens: dawn to dusk; free. 145 Alverson Blvd.; (425) 257-8597.