It’s no secret that you’ll always find the most intriguing and unusual plants (and people) at an independent garden center or nursery. Likewise, owners of ‘independents’ can be rare and idiosyncratic individuals whose passion and pursuit for horticulture manifests itself into a business.
Such is the case with Kevin Collard, proprietor, horticulturist, and head grower of Pine View Nursery (est. 1993). I went down to visit Pine View on July 3rd, and while there were no Independence Day firework celebrations in Leitchfield, KY that day, the pyrotechnics were found in the display gardens and nursery hoop houses. I was given a private tour of the offsite nursery where this boxwood evangelist grows thousands of this centuries-old shrub.
Inside each house, Boxwood are organized by cultivar and size. Shown above & below: Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Justin Brouwers’.
Hundreds of pots line up like little soldiers and are nurtured until they are ready for sale.
The black screen-like cloth covering each house has a special function. It blocks the sun which cools the house. This aids in preventing the pots from drying out too quickly. The weave of the cloth determines the shade density. It can block percentages of sun by 20 to over 90 percent.
Some of the Boxwood are field-grown over an extended period of time and later sold as mature specimens.
Over the years, boxwood have fallen out of favor with many gardeners, but today’s gardeners are rediscovering this wonderful shrub that serves as the backbone for many landscapes and formal gardens. With increased deer browsing, water restrictions in urban environments, and the discovery on several new cultivars, boxwood are again gaining popularity.
Benefits of Boxwood:
- Deer resistant
- Drought tolerant
- Easy to maintain; require little to no pruning
- Growth versatility: many grow in both sun and shade
- Long lived
- Fulfill many design needs due to their many shapes, sizes, and growth rates
Back at the retail garden center, visitors are greeted by very large specimens of Buxus sempervirens ‘Dee Runk’. These tall uprights are indeed Boxwood. They are the largest ‘Dee Runk’ I’ve seen to date. They’re beautiful and I bet they’re pretty in winter snow.
Under the porch roof is an assemblage of antique tools and relics related to gardening and farming. A most spectacular collection of old watering cans is suspended in air around the perimeter of the porch– literally too many to photograph.
Walls of vines are being formed in the once open air porch. Clematis grow up the simple trellis structures lining the porch. This is Clematis ‘Candida’.
A ‘fireworks moment’ in purple– Verbena bonariensis in the foreground with Zebrina pendula (Wandering Jew Plant) hanging in the background.
Several display gardens line the property and greenhouses where I was treated to another fantastic tour. The day was unbearably hot and humid but the bursts of color were not lost on me.
Above: Calla Lily ‘Flame’ was quite vibrant in the hot sun. Kevin stated that this Calla defies the odds because it is not hardy to his zone. I say that’s pretty lucky! The foliage is incredible in and of itself.
The copper and red Coleus plants are striking among the various greens in the surrounding foliage. These Victorian gems are one of the most versatile plants in ornamental horticulture.
The bloom on this plant is very charming and stopped me in my tracks. Its color lies right between red and orange. This is Cyrtanthus elatus, and is part of the Amaryllis family.
As we walked along, this Yucca flaccida ‘Bright Edge’ caught my eye with its spectacular form and variegated foliage. It truly reminded me of fireworks in the evening sky.
Bougainvillea is always spectacular and this one was quite exceptional. The true, perfect flower is small, tubular, commonly white or yellow, and surrounded by showy, vibrantly colorful petaloid bracts. Bracts are sometimes larger and more brightly colored than the true flower.
And so, just as a grand finale of a July fireworks show heralds Independence Day, so do the independent garden centers herald their unique and specialized offerings to gardeners alike. I could have spent another day with Kevin Collard at Pine View Nursery. His passion for horticulture is intoxicating and inspiring. And we didn’t even get to the Japanese Maples.
Fortunately, Kevin does talks and lectures nationwide. I’m lucky to have met him at one of his numerous presentations here in Indianapolis. If you’re ever in Leitchfield, KY, stop in at Pine View or book him as a speaker for your next meeting or symposium. His Boxwood presentation doesn’t disappoint.