Japanese maples are one of today’s most popular tree species. Cultivars produce showstopping color and offer a dizzying array of forms and textures. Their oftentimes compact forms are perfect for small space gardens and even containers. What’s not to love?
The Nichols brothers have taken that love to an entirely new level.
You might say Matt and Tim were born into an appreciation of Japanese maples. Their father, Norman, developed a childhood fascination and turned it into a thriving career focused on growing and selling this unique species. The Nichols brothers participated in the family business from a young age and soon began to wonder why they, too, couldn’t turn their passion into a vocation.
Together, they began MrMaple Nursery, and they began to branch out – into the world of Japanese maple diversity. Like heirloom tomatoes, each variety of Japanese maple holds a story, and it’s those tales of discovery and development which keep Matt and Tim searching far and wide for more. Recently, they even traveled to Japan to see, up close and personal, Nakakamado Weeping Maple – a 600-year-old, nationally-protected icon in the Japanese maple world.
This unique garden niche quickly drew interest outside of their native Hendersonville, North Carolina area and so, the brothers found themselves diving into the business of online sales. Today, they package and ship hundreds of Japanese maples nationwide each week, and they have become recognized as industry experts. They’ve also developed a lush garden to observe and display many of the varieties they sell.
December through March at MrMaple.com is spent grafting. The brothers carefully graft 10,000 Japanese maple cuttings each year onto root stock which has a story of its own. During the 1950’s their grandmother planted a Japanese maple which still stands strong today. Since the brothers know, firsthand, that this particular tree offers durability and a non-invasive growth habit, they use it’s seedlings for the rootstock of all the Japanese maples they cultivate.
MrMaple isn’t just another nursery, it’s a Japanese maple mecca with over 1,000 cultivars, and the Nichols brothers can personally attest to the seasonal color shifts, growth patterns and history behind each and every one.