—Pacific Horticulture, Summer 2005
The Plant Hunter's Garden: The New Explorers and Their Discoveriesby Bobby J. Ward, Brian Mathew (Foreword by)
Many gardeners are vaguely aware of the "greats" of plant exploration, such as E. H. Wilson, George Forrest, or John Tradescant. Fewer may know the names of today's plant explorers or recognize the makings of a new golden age of plant discovery. Nonetheless, a quick visit to almost any nursery will reveal the bounty of these intrepid plant collectors, whose
Many gardeners are vaguely aware of the "greats" of plant exploration, such as E. H. Wilson, George Forrest, or John Tradescant. Fewer may know the names of today's plant explorers or recognize the makings of a new golden age of plant discovery. Nonetheless, a quick visit to almost any nursery will reveal the bounty of these intrepid plant collectors, whose handiwork enriches gardens everywhere. The Plant Hunter's Garden profiles 32 of today's more prolific plant hunters. From the Czech Republic to the Rocky Mountains, Bobby Ward has sought out those explorers in the private sphere who are collecting plants specifically for horticultural introduction. While providing interesting details on the lives and careers of these new explorers, the real focus of the book is on the plants themselves. Ward asked each of the hunters to choose the very best treasures from their years of collecting, and has sumptuously illustrated these jewels in stunning photos. Many plants in these pages became bestsellers quickly after introduction from the wild, but hundreds more underappreciated gems are sure to entice and surprise any reader of this book. From the comfort of the armchair or the potting-shed table, readers of The Plant Hunter's Garden can embark on their own voyages of discovery in these delightful pages.
—Pacific Horticulture, Summer 2005
—Alice Joyce, Booklist, July 22, 2005
—Michael Cunningham, Horticulture, April 2005
- Timber Press, Incorporated
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Read an Excerpt
Driving along the tree-lined neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, in search of Sean Hogan and Parker Sanderson's house, it is difficult to determine where their garden ends and another begins. You gradually realize that there has been an expansion into a neighbor's backyard, over to another's front yard, a leap across the street to another, and so forth. Sean and Parker practice the art of neighborhood street-gardening — spilling your garden up and down the street onto your neighbors' property (with approval from the neighbors, of course).
I once asked Sean what his favorite plant was and he responded without a moment's hesitation, but with a sly grin: "The plant that is in front of me at the moment." That is probably a rehearsed answer from a confirmed "plant geek," an endearing term bestowed on Sean and Parker by their friends and by professionals in the nursery industry. Sean and Parker are into "extreme plants" (the odd, the unusual plant) and "zonal denial" (stretching limits by testing a plant's adaptability to horticultural hardiness zones outside its range), a term they coined.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Sean studied biology in college in California. From 1988 till 1995, he worked as a horticulturist at the University of California (Berkeley) Botanical Garden where he managed the New World, Australia/New Zealand, Africa, and California cultivar plant collections. Parker is a native of Wales and spent time in Hawaii. He has a botany degree from the University of California at Davis and worked for the Davis campus arboretum for seven years.
Sean spent time as director of collections of Portland's Hoyt Arboretum, renowned for the extensive conifer collection, and he and Parkerwere co-curators and planting designers of the Classical Chinese Garden, a garden of tranquillity and beauty walled away from Portland's busy streets. Both of them volunteer with numerous plant and horticultural organizations, write about plants, lecture, and travel to see plants in gardens and arboreta and in the field, both domestically and abroad. They have a commingling expertise in plants: for example, Parker is an authority on the Brodiaea alliance of Allium-like bulbous plants and Sean on Lewisia, native plants of western North America. The Lewisia interest extended to assisting in completion of LeRoy Davidson's book, Lewisias, and in sorting out taxonomic problems and the range of L. cantelovii, including the recognition of three botanical varieties (Davidson 2000).
Sean and Parker founded Cistus Design in Portland in 1995, specializing in the design and creation of private and public gardens. The business was expanded to include a nursery, now carrying about twelve thousand selections of plants and specializing in hardy tropical plants, broadleaf evergreens, Mediterranean, and Southern Hemisphere plants. Their tastes in plants are catholic. Sean and Parker's great skill
Meet the Author
Bobby J. Ward is past president of the North American Rock Garden Society. He has a degree in plant physiology, received his PhD in botany from North Carolina State University, and is a retired environmental scientist. A dedicated gardener, he has long been interested in plant names and plant lore. His book A Contemplation Upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature won the Quill & Trowel Award of the Garden Writers Association.
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