Exploring The World Of Exotics And Natives

Barry Glick

On a mountain aerie in West Virginia is an unusual plant collection that would likely satisfy the desires of the most ardent gardener. It is called Sunshine Farm and Gardens, and it is spread over the mountain, in hoop houses and along ridges and valleys where the varied microclimate fits the different species and cultivars.

The proprietor is as unusual and rare as his plant collections. His name is Barry Glick, and he is a self-acknowledged nut about plants. “I was born that way,” he says. As an eight-year-old living in Philadelphia, Glick would ride his bike to Longwood Gardens to track new species for his collection at home.

A Modern-Day Flower Child
In this day of smart phones and computers when interest in gardening seems to be declining, it is interesting to note that a demonstration of how to root a cutting in a glass of water on television kindled Glick’s interest in plants. As a little boy, Glick did the same thing with one of his mother’s prized coleus plants. He was hooked for life. It also did not hurt that flower children were all the rage; Glick became a flower child. He is still a flower child at 62 years old and combines a Barnum-and-Bailey knack for promotion with a sharp intellect and prodigious memory, all wrapped in a counter-culture, hippie-like persona.

In 1972 when Glick needed (lots) more room, he purchased 60 acres in Greenbrier County, W. Va., where visitors need the instincts of a mountain climber to find his plot of land. The impetus for this move was an advertisement in the Philadelphia Inquirer promoting the sale of the land at $30 per acre, which the young Glick could barely afford. He followed the advice of the poet who said, “Listen to your heart; when you jump off the cliff, sprout your wings on the way down.”

Finding Success In The Plant Market
He sprouted his wings by purchasing 500 apple trees from nearby Adams County Nursery and planting them in an orchard — an organic orchard, of course.

Today, Glick has well over 10,000 perennials, annuals, bulbs, trees and shrubs from every corner of the globe. He exchanges seeds and plants with people in nearly every country of the world, and he travels to many of these countries, as well. He has travelled to China, India and Russia on plant collecting expeditions. He is acquainted with many plant collectors and is on a first name basis with all of them. Glick loves to talk, which helps make him a popular lecturer. He even puts on workshops in plant propagation and is enthusiastic about anything that will promote knowledge about the plant kingdom.

Glick’s Collection
In early May, we spent a misty, cool morning with Glick and his dogs and saw enough plant specimens — ones that would fit in different types of climates and situations — to satisfy our appetites. These specimens included a prized Styrax japonicus (Japanese snowbell). Planted in 1993, this plant was loaded with blooms. We also saw a rare, variegated Zelkova serrata ‘Goshiki’ grafted on elm rootstock, and a weeping European beech, Fagus sylvatica ‘Tortuosa,’ easily 20 years old and thriving beside Glick’s house on his mountaintop. On a tour of the gardens, we saw a multitude of native plants in their spring splendor, along with a few experimental species. Some were wonderful, while others were not, which happens so often with all of us who love to try something new.

“The Pleioblastus distichus, or dwarf fern-leaf bamboo, has taken over everywhere,” Glick says. According to him, the variegated version is not as vigorous and has less chlorophyll, making it less overpowering in the garden.

Glick says there is a good reason why natives are all the rage these days: Tending to plants that are naturally well-suited to our gardens and landscapes saves time, water and energy. These plants also provide a healthy environment for native birds, insects and other wildlife. With these perks, it is easy to see why this trend has taken off in recent years and why more gardeners are going native.

Hellebores And More
Next door is a healthy patch of Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum, also known as yellow lady slipper, alongside a marbled-leaved, yellow hellebore of Glick’s named Helleborus ‘Sun Marble.’ Other nearby plants included:
Hexastylis virginica, a beautiful ginger bloom with marbled leaves of green and silver
Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh)
• A native Delphinium triflorum
Arisaema triphyllum  (Jack-in-the-pulpit)
Disporopsis pernyi
Arisaema dracontium
Aceriphyllum rossii
Primula meadia ‘Alba’ (syn. Dodecatheon meadia ‘Alba,’ also known as pride of Ohio or prairie shooting star)
Helleborus niger
Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf), a charming plant with a charming history
• A spring-blooming aconitum, which shows off white flowers in early spring

As we walk, Glick keeps us entertained with nonstop stories about his tours and speaking engagements around the world, collecting plants and the people that he contacts regularly.

Our original quest was to find the Helleborus ‘Sunshine Selections’ bred by Glick. This hellebore is a product of more than 30 years of propagation, selecting true F1 hybrids. It occupies more than six acres on his part of the mountaintop in West Virginia. Despite our original intent, we found much more than the hellebore to capture our interests and fuel our
plant envy.

In the greenhouses, we found Asclepias quadrifolia, Hexastylis arifolia and many varieties of ginger from around the world, each with leaves more spectacularly designed than the next. A native scutellaria (skullcap), hardy ginseng, a very unusual Hexastylis contracta, Prosartes maculata (syn. Disporum maculatum), carex of all shapes and sizes, Viola tripartita and Viola palmata have also taken root in the greenhouse. The list is truly endless, and with his passion for native plants, it’s no wonder Glick enjoys sharing his knowledge and living treasures with everyone.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Youngs Plant Farm Trial Garden feature

January 21, 2017

Don’t Miss the Southern Garden Tour This June

Growers, retailers, and all industry professionals are invited to the 2017 Southern Garden Tour, which is hosted by Young’s Plant Farms, Sakata, and Metrolina Greenhouses, and will be held June 6-8.

Read More
Gaillardia 'Mesa Red'

January 21, 2017

2016 Pike Creek Horticulture Center Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for The Pike Creek Horticulture Center in Kenosha, WI.

Read More
Anna Chernyavsky

January 20, 2017

New Director of Sales for Bedding Plants and Perennials at Danziger

Anna Chernyavsky, who joined Danziger in August 2016, will be in charge of the U.S. and United Kingdom markets.

Read More
Latest Stories
Youngs Plant Farm Trial Garden feature

January 21, 2017

Don’t Miss the Southern Garden Tour This June

Growers, retailers, and all industry professionals are invited to the 2017 Southern Garden Tour, which is hosted by Young’s Plant Farms, Sakata, and Metrolina Greenhouses, and will be held June 6-8.

Read More
Gaillardia 'Mesa Red'

January 21, 2017

2016 Pike Creek Horticulture Center Field Trials Result…

Check out the 2016 field trials results for The Pike Creek Horticulture Center in Kenosha, WI.

Read More
Anna Chernyavsky

January 20, 2017

New Director of Sales for Bedding Plants and Perennials…

Anna Chernyavsky, who joined Danziger in August 2016, will be in charge of the U.S. and United Kingdom markets.

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

January 18, 2017

2016 C. Raker & Sons Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI.

Read More
Joe Cimino, Sakata Seed America

January 17, 2017

Sakata Seed Names New Senior Sales Manager for Ornament…

Joe Cimino comes to Sakata with past experience at Sun Gro and Florexpo.

Read More
JinPin Flower Seedling Company partners

January 17, 2017

Ernst Benary Partners With Chinese Young Plant Grower o…

The partnership creates a new company called Jinpin Flower Seedling Company, which will focus on providing young plants to the rapidly growing Chinese bedding plant market.

Read More
Dipladenia Sundenia

January 11, 2017

New Tropical and Foliage Plants That Offer Hidden Benef…

Tropical and foliage plants can offer extra paybacks to your customers in terms of health-promoting benefits such as filtering the air, reducing stress, and absorbing noise. Consider these new varieties, hitting the retail market in 2017, for your product mix.

Read More
craspedia-golf-beauty-danziger-feature

January 9, 2017

Growing Tips for Craspedia ‘Golf Beauty’

Laura Robles of Mast Young Plants offers advice on ‘Golf Beauty,’ a novelty plant with can’t-miss yellow flower heads and silver foliage that blooms throughout the summer.

Read More
Bride with wedding orchids.

January 7, 2017

How to Stand Out in the Orchid Market

With the popularity of the Phalaenopsis orchid growing and its saturation in the market, orchid growers are hunting for new ways to stand out from their competitors.

Read More
California Coast

January 3, 2017

Expect Big Changes for California Spring Trials 2017

California Spring Trials 2017 will be here before you know it. Find out what you can look forward to and get a head start on planning and registering for your trip.

Read More
westerlay-orchids-feature

January 1, 2017

How Westerlay Orchids Solved Its Bacteria Problem

Water-borne bacteria was causing havoc with Westerlay Orchids’ production, so the company took preventative action to ensure the health of its plants.

Read More
nepeta-purple-wave-with-roses

December 30, 2016

Allan Armitage: Plants That Can Bring Success in the Ne…

Are you wondering which plants to grow? Here are some perennials, annuals, and herbs that are gaining popularity.

Read More
Honeybelle combo

December 27, 2016

19 New Combos for Containers Big and Small

Check out 19 combos and mixes new for the retail marketplace in 2017 that offer something for every container type.

Read More
sun-parasol-original-crimson-web

December 20, 2016

Suntory Launches Unrooted Cuttings Program for Sun Para…

While the domestically produced rooting program for the Sun Parasol will continue, growers who would like to purchase unrooted cuttings will have the opportunity for the Sun Parasol Original varieties and Garden Crimson.

Read More
santos flare

December 20, 2016

Ball Horticultural Expands Potted Plant Offerings With …

Ex-Plant, which specializes in potted plants, will become a part of Ball’s PanAmerican Seed division.

Read More

December 16, 2016

Please Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Poinsettia S…

Are plant sales up or down compared to last year? How did Black Friday set the tone for this season? What varieties and sizes were your best sellers? Did you try anything new this year to appeal to younger consumer demographics? We tackle all of these questions and more to help you understand the trends in Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Poinsettia Survey.

Read More

December 13, 2016

Dümmen Orange Shares Trends And Season-Extending Tips A…

As a purveyor of a wide collection of poinsettia and potted plant genetics, Dümmen Orange offered attendees a look at current trends – and a glimpse into the future – at its annual event in Columbus, OH.

Read More