“Gardeners I work with are tired of the red, pink and white ‘old’ [hibiscus] cultivars that have been commonly sold at mass merchants for years. Cultivars like ‘Plum Crazy’ (purple) or ‘Fantasia’ (lavender) were the first breakthroughs in the winter-hardy hibiscus assortment to deliver long-sought new colors.”

— Dr. Dariusz Malinowski, breeder at Texas AgriLife Research

“Japanese painted ferns and lady ferns are elegant plants for shady places. Their feathery fronds provide texture in a variety of colors to contrast and complement other perennials. With few exceptions, these reliable and long-lived ferns are well-suited to a variety of gardens and landscapes.”

— Richard Hawke, plant evaluation manager at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Dr. Tom Ranney
Courtesy of Tom Ranney

“Every cross you make is a genetic roll of the dice. You can’t ever completely predict what you’re going to get. It’s science coupled with serendipity, which adds to the intrigue.”

— Dr. Tom Ranney, JC Raulston Distinguished professor at North Carolina State University

“Native gardens are nearly self-sufficient, and they only need supplemental water about once a month or less, sometimes as little as four or so good waterings a year. But only a handful of people really believe it. They still think they need to water these plants once a week. It’s almost too simple.”

— Mike Evans, Founder of Tree of Life Nursery, San Juan Capistrano, Calif