Hinkley and Monrovia, Sitting in a Tree…


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.


  1. For further evidence of the grammatical incompetence of our friends at Monrovia , look no further than the title of the press release:

    Monrovia Partners with Renown Plant Hunter Dan Hinkley

    Sure, I’m picky. But this is for the media: i.e., editors like me, so I reserve the right.

    As for his move to Monrovia, who knows the mysteries of these comings and goings. Like Aaron Eckhart said though–we all have to pay the mortgage. (or something like that)

  2. I probably should not comment since I am in such an agitated state (leaking pipes hidden in the walls and semi-hollow cement columns) and am likely to make a punctuation, spelling or grammar error, but isn’t that what editors are for before things go to print? Perhaps they are trying to save a little money on the catalog to pay new salaries.

    Any who, Mr. Hinkley will be speaking twice at a two day event at the North Carolina Arboretum next week. $120. Should I go or not go? Should I smooze with the Carolina Hortiglitterati or put girders on my renovated hollow columns?

    You may feel free to offer editing comments as well.

  3. Is Monrovia a ‘bad guy’? I know them as growers of quality plants. The plants from Monrovia are in a well marked container, usually fairly high priced and there are unusual varieties available. That they have partnered with Dan Hinkley is to their credit and he will have a well financed business promoting new varieties. I am excited! Please let me know what I am missing here.

  4. $120 – that’s cheap – at Crug in Wales to be able to say that you rubbed shoulders with the famous Dan the man, you would have to pay $270!

  5. “… isn’t that what editors are for before things go to print? …”

    Not on press releases. Likely that wasn’t written by anybody associated with Monrovia, but some poor $8/hour “account coordinator” at a PR firm.

    Still, businesses would do well to make sure their PR people are spelling and punctuating properly, because editors who HATE these mistakes are the ones who choose the press releases that get published.

    And I for one toss anything written by some BS-flinging idiot who doesn’t know how to use an apostrophe. I don’t get paid to fix a publicist’s stupidity so their clients can get free advertising.

  6. Well, this is an off-topic rant, but I agree with firefly. I am seeing more and more blatant spelling/grammar errors in all kinds of print, including headlines of newspapers. One recent one in the Post had the word “dependant.” (even my computer is underlining it in red right now- don’t these people even LOOK?)
    It seems the knock on the competence of our educational system may have some validity…..

  7. I stumbled on this Garden Rant posting while surfing the ‘net and thought, “Great, just my kind of people!”.
    Then I noticed the ads for Wayside Gardens, Gardener’s Supply, Dutch Gardens, and Garden Rant t-shirts, and felt disappointed and betrayed.
    I wondered, is it possible to rant against the same people that you are using to make an easy buck? Are they angry at Hinkley, Monrovia and Ball because they don’t have affiliate programs?
    It feels hypocritical to me…

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