Nichols Nursery, a family-owned Japanese Maple Nursery in East Flat Rock, will host its fifth annual Mr. Maple Festival on Monday, May 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will showcase rare and unusual trees and feature arboretum and garden tours as well as a gardening lecture on “Area 51,” where the nursery’s top-secret species are grown. Hundreds of maples, including rare cultivars, will be available for purchase.
“Normally, we do everything by appointment so we wanted to create an event that is open to everyone and we wanted to use it to introduce our newest trees for the season,” says co- owner Tim Nichols. “This combination led us to host our first open house five years ago. It has continued to grow and improve over time.”
More than 450 people from North Carolina and beyond attended the event in 2018. With at least as many visitors expected this year, the festival presents not only a great opportunity to find the perfect tree for your space but also to enjoy the camaraderie and conversation of other Japanese maple collectors and garden enthusiasts. Free lunch will be provided. The gardening lecture and guided tours of Hill Stone Arboretum and Maplewood Gardens are also free of charge. Trees will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Because the WNC climate is very close to the natural climate of the maples in Japan, some of the biggest Japanese maples in the world can be found here in Western North Carolina,” says Nichols. “They’re a great addition to any landscape because of their diversity in size, shape and form.”