Plant explorer and former Heronswood owner Dan Hinkley, having parted ways with Ball, has found a new best friend: ornamental plant grower (excuse me, "horticultural craftsmen") Monrovia. According to their press release:
Hinkley will help Monrovia’s new plants team identify exciting plant varieties and to integrate those efforts with Monrovia’s sales and production craftsmen. [Ed: There’s that word again! Craftsmen?] This will ensure that Monrovia is focusing on plants that can be propagated in large quantities and will be desired by retailers and consumers. According to Nicholas Staddon, director of new plants, “Hinkely’s vast experience and wealth of knowledge will be a tremendous asset and help us maintain our leadership in this area.” Over the years, Monrovia has become known for introducing fabulous new varieties that are more interesting in color, texture or size, and plants that tend to be hardier and more pest resistant.
Monrovia will be sponsoring numerous events at which Dan will be featured. “He is a natural at speaking and most entertaining,” said Staddon. “Avid gardeners will have a chance to hear him talk about topics such as landscape design, unusual and under appreciated plants, plant hunting, importance of foliage and texture in the garden, drought tolerant plants and xeric garden design.”
Apparently there are ways around those five-year non-compete clauses. No mention of the new Monrovia gig on Hinkley’s site yet, but hey, he’s probably busy entertaining his fan base with amusing tales of the importance of foliage and texture.
Interesting to note that at least one plant in Monrovia’s catalog shows that Monrovia, Ball, and Hinkley once played in the same sandbox: the "history" section of the description for silver-veined wintercreeper
Euonymus fortunei ‘Wolong Ghost’ reads:
This new plant was collected by George Ball from the Wolong Nature Preserve in Sichuan province, China and introduced by Heronswood Nursery, Kingston, WA.
That’s it. That’s all we know. Except that we can’t let this "craftsmen" thing go. The word appears several dozen times on Monrovia’s site; there is never a mention of craftswomen or craftspersons, and actually the word "women" appears only twice, in the context of the "hardworking men and women" at Monrovia.
In all fairness, the word "woman" does appear in two delightful catalog entries. We learn that:
"In Polynesia, the way a woman wears hibiscus flowers in her hair indicates marital status" and that cottage gardens were " traditionally planted by the woman of the house in the convenience of her ‘dooryard.’"
So that’s nice. So cozy and domestic. We conclude our linguistic exploration of Monrovia’s catalog with this lighthearted bit of plant lore–one of the only uses of the word "man" outside of the expression "man-made"– punctuation errors and all:
Hosta is the grown up cousin to the plantain weed, which came to America with colonials. It naturalized so easily that Native American’s claimed it sprang up wherever the white man walked.