When the pond and waterfall were constructed in front of our garden centre there was much discussion about which plants we were going to install. There was, however, no question that we were going to plant a weeping form of Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple. And there was no discussion over which one it was going to be. I called one of our nursery suppliers in the Fraser Valley and asked them for their very best specimen. “We’re going to be looking at this tree every day for many years to come, so it has to be a beauty” I told them. Many years later the Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Waterfall’ that they provided is truly a specimen to behold.
NUTS AND BOLTS
Dissectum refers to Japanese maples with finely-cut leaves. ‘Waterfall’ has the typical dissected foliage but the leaves are slightly larger. These leaves have a longer, more flowing appearance. The branches appear to be cascading down the outside of the plant, hence the very appropriate cultivar name. Like all Japanese maples ‘Waterfall’ appreciates good soil which retains moisture and some shelter from wind and sun. Our specimen is sheltered from the hot, dry south winds and a large Hick’s Yew (Taxus media ‘Hicksii’) keeps the north winter winds at bay. Most plants mature at around three metres tall and four metres wide but this takes many years to achieve. Foliage emerges a breathtaking light green with fall colours a brilliant gold and crimson red. ‘Waterfall’ is hardy to -25 deg. C and our tree has never suffered any winter damage.
IN THE GARDEN
Weeping Japanese maples are a spectacular choice for the edge of a pond. A cultivar like ‘Waterfall’ can be situated on top of a berm or in a raised bed so it can dominate the surrounding landscape. As it matures the branches get more dense and beautiful and you’ll be smart to plant it where you can see and appreciate its beauty through the winter months.