Monday, July 26, 2010

A peek behind the curtain...

Makes a pretty good twin to Monrovia's serried ranks in the previous blog, don't it? Every bit as mind boggling, my first visit to Terra Nova exceeded my rather high expectations. When you have heard Dan Heims as often as I have, and seen those sumptuous images...and when you have grown some of their amazing plants, you begin to think that like the Wizard of Oz, surely the kingdom itself can't also be so wonderful: they must use a bit of smoke and couple dozen mirrors. One wonders if indeed Dan isn't JUST the man behind the curtain...Turns out this wizard doesn't mind if we step behind the curtain with him!
Alas, the sun was blazing. Otherwise I too could have gotten lots of those pictures I always secretly thought were photoshopped: the display gardens were as lush and the colors as vibrant as I Dan turned out to be understating things, that old modest harmonica player!

What fun to visit the scene of the crime, as it were...Mecca! No one has done more to transform America's shady corners into gorgeous gardens than this rather youthful business venture. And they are far from done.

Who would have dreamed just a few decades ago that our modest genus Heuchera would eclipse Hosta as the workhorse of shady gardens? And now the Terra Nova magicians are busy on a dozen other groups. Thank you, PPA, for inviting me to attend this year's meeting and finally making my Hadj....Praise to Allah! And his master hybridizer, vizier and magician, his excellency Dan Heims!


  1. And no fewer than 7 new Echinacea cultivars in the past couple of weeks -Remarkable! Have you any insight into why His Royal Highness selected the plant whose name sounds like a cat coughing up a furball for breeding? Who knew (did he?) that all that phenotype resided within the genotype?

  2. I remember ten years ago Dan was teased mercilessly about being Mr. Heuchera, and how could you flog a genus so! Look who's laughing now...remember Palace Purple and a number of breakthroughs in Heuchera ANTEdated Terra Nova. They were the ones who took it to the next level and level beyond that.

    Jim Ault invented the psychedelic (if not psychotic) coloration of Echinacea...and has moved on. Terra Nova grows thousands, tests for gardenworthiness as well as shelf life, and who knows what else, and puts them out there. And not surprisingly, they float. I was dumbfounded by the size and variety of "furballs" as you put it in their test gardens: if they can make them gardenworthy, they will reap the reward (and seem to). Hence the crown!


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