Great Gardeners

A front row seat

I missed my chair. For six summers I sat in that Adirondack chair beneath the front yard’s silver maple to take notes on my garden, my notebook supported by its wide, flat arm. Hummingbirds whizzed past my head on a beeline to the Malvaviscus, while swallowtails danced among the phloxes and dangled from the ballooning joe-pye weed…

Renee Shepherd

It was soccer that got Renee Shepherd into the seed business. In the mid-1980s, while she was completing a PhD (in the history of consciousness) at University of California, Santa Cruz, she mowed a pasture alongside her house to make a soccer field…

Remembering Christopher Lloyd

Among the plants and ideas he championed in Horticulture were a number that have since become staples of the gardening scene: cannas and dahlias, hot colors, see-through plants (like Verbena bonariensis), bold foliage, and of course, the mixed border, the everything-goes style that he epitomized.

Darrel Apps, Daylily Breeder

It was about 1968 when Darrel Apps realized that daylilies were changing in a major way, and he quickly decided that he wanted to be a part of it. With his newly minted Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in …

A Rare Plantsman: Panayoti Kelaidis

Teacher, explorer, and collector Panayoti Kelaidis has transformed the horticulture of the American West BY LAUREN SPRINGER Last year I paid a visit to Sarastro, a superb perennial nursery in Ort, an Austrian village near the German border. Beyond my …

Dutch Designer

Dutchman Piet Oudolf is very much part of a movement, a tendency in garden and landscape design that seeks to bring the wild and the natural back into the human habitat.


The fable of great gardeners is that they swallow a nasturtium seed during their first exploration of the backyard and are instantly and forever transformed into hortaholics. In Polly Hill’s case, the seed took far longer to germinate.