Rare Japanese Maple Tree Garden Becomes Newest Addition to Wilmot Gardens

japanese-maple-treeA collection of rare Japanese maple trees has found a permanent home among the camellias, azaleas and bromeliads of Wilmot Gardens, thanks to a generous donation from the Vieweg family.

The collection of 30 trees were cultivated for years by Johannes W. Vieweg, M.D., former director of UF’s Prostate Disease Center and founding chairman of the Department of Urology, and gradually became acclimated to the humid environment of Gainesville. The collection is likely unrivaled in the state and provides a unique addition to the multiple gardens that comprise Wilmot. Dr. Vieweg and his wife, LaDonna, donated the trees to UF’s Wilmot Gardens before he took a new post as the founding dean of allopathic medicine at Nova Southeastern University.

The completed Japanese Maple Tree Garden is framed by a red cedar and cypress torii, a traditional gate that graces the entrance of Japanese temples, and includes tōrō, stone lanterns found in gardens and temples in China and Japan.

In addition, the Japanese Maple Tree Garden adds a new dimension to Wilmot’s foliage, with brilliant colors in the fall and spring and delicate green leaves during the summer.

“We are so grateful to the Vieweg family for this rare gem of a gift,” said C. Craig Tisher, M.D., director of Wilmot Gardens. “There is probably not another collection of Japanese maple trees of this rarity in the world that could withstand this climate, making it a tremendous treat for Floridians and patients from around the Southeast who will now be able to enjoy this unique site.”