BIG Like You Won’t Believe

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 Bob Hill has a deal for you.

Even in our cell-phone-talking, Kindle-reading, GOOGLE-surfing age, this is the time of year when many of us are dwarfed by the deluge of incoming garden catalogs.

In the early years of our marriage, my wife and I debated if we should add a master bedroom, walk-in closet and tiled bath with jacuzzi – or just add a similar-sized room for catalogs. As the accompanying photograph indicates, we made the right decision. The catalog pile grows exponentially. FitBit and back brace required. Garden Up America!

The prettiest of the catalogs—always with the most expensive plants—offer floral fashion shows; perfectly shaped and photographed designer plants for only $21.95 a pint. They come in bright, sassy and languid. Feel the pull. Harper’s BAZAAR does Heuchera.

The best of the catalogs come from nurseries with a genuine love and appreciation for the best of the old, the brightest of the new. They express opinions, exhibit knowledge, sell only their healthy, time-tested preferences. Come see us, they beg. Why is it they’re always at least 400 miles away?

The most irritating catalogs come in cheap, pulpy paper. They offer three, spindly, everyday-daisies for only $9.95, or fast-growing willows and water maples with the reliability and life expectancy of a Bradford pear. But only $17.95. Bare root. Plus shipping.

Taking note of all this—and always eager to find a new way to lose money—Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden is taking its first shot at a garden catalog. Our one-time-only offers are below. All our really, really huge plants are guaranteed until the UPS truck hits the end of our driveway.


KNOCK OFF ROSE – Rosa imitatus – This patented beauty was developed here at Hidden Hill as a cross between Rosa giganetus and Euonymous alatus, hence the poetic reddish hue offering a blend of a Jamaican sunset and a 30-foot burning bush. Our Knock Off is resistant to blackspot, powdery mildew, cankers, botrytis, mosaic, crown gall, aphids and rose rosette. Please note we said “resistant.” Only $149.95 plus shipping.

HOSTA – IMMENSE EXPECTATIONS – Hosta giganetus fairytaleus – Finally, after centuries of world-wide research on a plant that mostly grows in the shade, Hidden Hill has developed a cultivar that will create its own shade. Honest. The one pictured here is only in its second year of growth, but already shows promise of becoming its own circus tent. We need to rent five acres from the neighbors to find out. Please stay tuned. Only $89.95 in one-pint containers, or two for $179.90.

PUMPKIN – CHARLEE BROWN – Cucurbita en pepo Lucie ­– We developed this ten-ton wonder as a cross between Cucurbita ridiculous and a monster French squash. Our goal was to provide enough meaty pulp to bake 10,000 delicate pumpkin pies with a European flavor in one sitting. Honest. Only $7.95 plus shipping.

RUDBECKIA – WIDE-EYED-SUSAN – Rudbeckia hirta optomitristsi – One of the continual complaints about Rudbeckia hirta is that it too short-lived. Boy, has Hidden Hill solved that problem. Our unique Wide-eyed-Susan is already 16 years old, has shed her adolescence, and wants to take driving lessons. OK, we’re kidding about the driver’s license. Estimated final height is 35 feet. Only $269.95 in one-pint container. Free shipping. Chain saw extra. 

Photos by Hidden Hill Master Photo-Shopper Byron Graham. 

Retired Louisville Courier-Journal columnist and author Bob Hill is owner of the eight-acre Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden near Utica, Indiana. Hidden Hill specializes in rare and unusual plants, whimsy and unfettered moonlight. For more information see

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Bob Hill

on December 21, 2016 at 7:41 am, in the category Guest Rants.

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