…Even as an elementary schooler, Rick Schoellhorn had an eye for other people’s plants. . .
Decades later, Schoellhorn, 49, no longer has to break the law to indulge his lust for new and interesting flora. For the past two years, he has been paid to rove the world as director of new products for Proven Winners, one of North America’s leading brands of flowering plants. . . .
That puts the Alachua resident in the latest generation of a centuries-long line of plant hunters whose roving eye and wanderlust brought to gardeners thousands of plants. These once-exotic newcomers now are garden staples.
Plant finders of old, such as Joseph Banks, Reginald Farrer and E.H. Wilson, whose names often are attached to the plants they found, used to haul their Wardian cases on years-long trips in the name of scientific discovery. . .
And for 2008?
“We have a great new cuphea called Totally Tempted, which is totally crimson with a very compact branch habit and is great in containers,” Schoellhorn says.
He calls agastaches, with their scented foliage and wonderful arching flower spikes, “an amazing family,” and says Proven Winners has two new ones coming out, one with pink flowers, the other with orchid blooms. . .