Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Project: The Heuchera Tome

In my last post I mentioned that I have some projects I'd be working on. One of those projects is a reference site for Heuchera, Tiarella, xHeucherella, and a few other saxifragaceae members titled The Heuchera Tome. This certainly isn't a unique concept; there are other "Heuchera encyclopedia" sites out there if you look. So why am I doing this? For a number of reasons.
Heuchera 'Georgia Peach'
1. I'm becoming an avid collector of Heuchera and am starting my own hybridizing program. That means I'm doing research off and on and taking pictures. I like to share what I find and this is a good way to do it. If you've been paying attention to this blog, you know I'm also a huge collector of Hostas. The Hosta Library is a massive pictorial reference site for that genus, and I want this to be similar.
Heuchera 'Spellbound'
2. Not all of the sites out there are easily browsed. Some don't have a good index, some don't have adequate information about growing them, some are nursery catalogs, some only use marketing pictures, etc. I want this site to be easy to search, easy to browse by variety, easy to browse by newest added, and I don't want people to have to look at sales pages to do that. Yes, I run a nursery and this site is attributed to Botanophilia LLC at the bottom and I may add an active link to our offerings in the future; but each listing won't be a pitch to sell you plants. (Nothing wrong with nurseries that are great Heuchera references! But sometimes they're tough to wade through). I also want pics to be representative of actual plants. I will probably include marketing pictures, but I also want to include pics from garden situations of collectors. Right now they're just my pics, but I will probably add a contribute link at some point.
Heuchera 'Caramel'
3. To educate. Despite their popularity and a number of sites promoting them, these plants are still misunderstood by so many gardeners. I want to help educate people about them and spread awareness about them as garden plants. Tiarella especially seem to STILL be flying under the radar here in the USA.
Heuchera 'Midnight Rose'
There are other reasons as well, but those are the big ones. The site is still in its early stages and I have many more varieties to add. But I've gotten a start and wanted to start sharing the site with all of you. Please check it out, I'm always happy to hear feedback about what could make it better. For the time being it's hosted here on blogger. I may move it in the future if needed and will almost certainly get a custom domain once it's big enough.
Heuchera americana 'Green Spice'

Saturday, September 17, 2016

News and Happenings

I've been an awful blogger this year. I haven't posted since February, mainly because life has been crazy busy! Sadly a lot of the craziness the last few months could have been good post topics, but there just wasn't time to even take pictures for posting later.

So what's been going on? Spring was crazy as it always is; that's the reality of working in horticulture so nothing new there. But immediately after spring we got some news. My wife was getting a new job. 200 miles away. 200 miles NORTH, to Rhinelander, WI. It will be a grand adventure living in Z4a instead of Z5b and having a 25 day shorter growing season. You will hear about it.

I spent the early part of summer removing the gardens and seeding grass. This may sound familiar, as I did this same thing 4 years ago in 2012 to try and sell the house only to refinance and put the gardens back in during late 2013. My plant collections have all been dug and potted and will be over-wintered with our sale stock on the farm. Interestingly I think most of my plants will survive just fine in their new location. But maybe I'm just being optimistic.

We also had to finish up a few home renovation projects. In late winter we started doing some projects that included new flooring and some bathroom updates. Those were done just in time for my wife to start her job in late July. I finished up my nursery day job on September 2nd but because of the plants being here and the house not being sold yet, I'm still living here part time. September is time for getting the growing house reorganized and get the plants cleaned up, weeded, and inventoried before cutting them back in October and getting the house ready for winter. I have lots to keep me busy before I officially move!

So what does this move mean for me and for the future of Botanophilia? In spring we will (hopefully) have a new property and the business side of things will move along with the plants. I have the opportunity to work only for myself and concentrate on growing the nursery and getting some more great new/unusual plants added to the catalog! Hopefully we'll be able to have some open retail days in the future as well. I'll be able to travel to more events for vending and/or speaking. And attend more garden related gatherings. It also means I will have more time for writing and other projects. I'm excited to do all the things!

Sadly my admission that I've been a bad blogger has become a common phrase here. Hopefully that will change. I'll certainly have plenty to write about once we have a new property and start installing gardens. This winter I may still be an infrequent blogger. I do have a few projects planned to share with you though, so stay tuned!