Spring Fever Greenhouse

luna-red-hibiscus.jpgSpring Fever Greenhouse
in its nearly 30 years in business has been in its own quiet way one of the Ozarks' most colorful family nurseries.
      Well known to a great many gardeners and landscapers for their outstanding plant stock, owners Olee and Sharon Jobe grow an abundance of annuals, perennials, fine herbs, and vegetables in their Rogersville, Missouri, greenhouses. And as an extra treat, many are heirloom and specialty plants.
      Opening up in April, the Jobes sell at their Rogersville home base located at 6080 State Highway 125N and also at the Downtown Rogersville Market, 319 Main Street. Visitors to either location can expect to find plenty to like, including some real surprises.
      This photo is the clearly spectacular 'Luna Red' Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), which produces a profusion of these enormous, brilliant-red blossoms (7-8 inches wide) on a compact plant only 2-3' tall, making it ideal for the garden or containers. In our opinion, the superb quality of this specimen exemplifies what visitors can expect in every plant from Spring Fever.

A Familiar Face
Olee Jobe is a familiar face to many who got to know him at the Springfield Seed Co. on Walnut Street in Springfield, Missouri, where for many years he helped folks learn about plants and seed and how to pick and grow the best for their own gardens. Springfield Seed unfortunately no longer exists after its purchase by a major company, but Olee? He's still doing it.

An Artful Attraction

This wonderful metal Missouri mule drew a world of customers to Spring Fever Greenhouse when it was selling in Springfield, Missouri, at Glenstone and Bennett streets. We only recently learned that the mule was created by Clarentz Brewer, metal artist and, as King Clarentz, blues musician extraordinaire. No longer selling in Springfield, Olee and Sharon now focus exclusively on their Rogersville, Missouri, operations.

It's About Diversity

"My interests are so diversified," says Olee. "We grow 30 to 40 different perennials. We also grow herbs, and some native herbs. We grow a lot of plants that I find extra interesting."

It's Aztec Sweet
One of those "extra interesting" plants for Olee is Lippia dulcis, commonly called Aztec Sweet and known to the Aztecs. Said to be "much, much sweeter than sugar," the leaves can be eaten or used to sweeten other foods. (A distinct camphor flavor, however, somewhat discourages the latter.) Lippia leaves have been used to treat coughs, colds, bronchitis, and asthma. A low-growing perennial, the plant does well in shade and spreads quickly.

Toothache Plant
Among the more interesting specialty plants the Jobes grow are several with histories as medicines. Olee is quick to say he makes no medical claims for them but just makes them available. Part Choctaw and part Cherokee, he's especially fond of plants traditionally used by Native Americans. This one, Spilanthes acmella, or Toothache Plant, is said to numb the mouth when chewed.

Pineapple Mint
Pineapple Mint (Mentha suaveolens 'Variegata') is a perennial with light-green, cream-edged, textured leaves that have a very pleasant pineapple flavor. (It's said to go well in punches and fruit drinks.) It likes partial shade and average soil and grows to 18 inches tall and 12-15 inches wide. It also bears very fragrant white flowers and attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. Like all mints, it can be invasive in the garden if not trimmed back. 

Ozark Sundrops

This beautiful Missouri native perennial, Oenothera missouriensis, has two common names, Ozark Sundrops and Missouri Evening Primrose. It grows to 16 inches high and 2 feet wide and bears beautiful soft-yellow blossoms as wide as 5 inches that open in the late afternoon. Easy to grow, it likes dry soil. Bonus: the buds have a touch of red.

A Winner In Every Way
melampodium.jpgWe owe it to Spring Fever for introducing us to this wonderful plant. It's Melampodium (Melampodium paludosum) and a winner for every Ozarks gardener. Absurdly easy to grow, this uniquely cheery annual from late spring to early fall is covered with a profusion of small, bright-yellow star-like flowera. It also tolerates drought, reseeds nicely, and grows to 24 inches tall in a neat, compact mound. The common name is most often Melampodium but some gardeners know it as Medallion Plant, Butter Daisy, or Star Daisy.

'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus
Any gardener desiring color in a shaded area is bound to love Mona Lavender Plectranthus (Plectranthus x 'Mona Lavender'). This beautiful annual in full shade bears spikes of gorgeous lavender flowers from April to frost. Neat and compact, it also has beautiful deep-green, glossy foliage and grows to 18 inches tall and 20 inches wide. Related to Swedish Ivy, Creeping Charlie, and Mexican Mint, it nonetheless does not spread freely, but keeps its neat habit.

'New Look Red' Pentas
We'll say it loud and proud--Pentas is a fabulous annual for any garden. 'New Look Red' Pentas (Pentas lanceolata 'New Look Red') is the most vivid in color of all red Pentas, grows to about 2 feet tall with a similar spread, and has lovely lance-shaped green foliage and beautiful clusters of tiny star-like flowers all season long. Like all Pentas, it's terrifically attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Common names include Star Flower, Star Cluster, and Egyptian Star Cluster. Note: Thanks to Spring Fever for introducing us to this variety.

'Butterfly' Pentas

The 'Butterfly' series hybrids of the Pentas plant (Pentas lanceolata species) are named for their flower colors:
Butterfly Deep Rose, Butterfly White, Butterfly Blush, Butterfly Deep Pink, Butterfly Light Lavender, Butterfly Lavender, and Butterfly Red. They feature slightly larger flowers than other Pentas and grow as tall as 30 inches high and 16 inches wide. Like all Pentas, these hybrids are wildly attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. 

'Goblin' Gaillardia
One of the easiest and most picturesque of all perennials to grow, 'Goblin' Gaillardia (Gaillardia grandiflora 'Goblin') is drought-tolerant, hardy, and does well even in poor soils. Growing in 12-15" mounds, it's ideal for borders, beds, and rock gardens, too. The plant's yellow-edged red blossoms and sharply defined "frayed" petals have earned it the name Indian Blanket Flower.

'Red Ruffles' Coleus
Coleus, native to Africa and East India, were extremely popular bedding plants in Victorian days, but gradually gave way to more vigorous plants. After years of use primarily indoors and in window-gardens, Coleus have reemerged in many new hybrids not only suitable but highly desirable for the garden. 'Red Ruffles', one of the Sunlover series of new Coleus, is highly heat-tolerant and features bright red and burgundy leaves. It loves full sun and can grow to 2 feet tall and as wide.

The Mums
Each autumn Spring Fever stays true to its love of diversity by offering customers a wide range of truly beautiful mums. This photo was taken at the nursery's previous outlet in Springfield. All sales now take place at their Rogersville locations. 

A Subtle Beauty

We're not sure of the varietal name of this mum. We'll have to ask Olee and Sharon. All we know is that we were really taken with its subtle coloring, had to photograph it, and forgot to get the name. Our apologies.

September Pansies

Autumn is also a good time to plant pansies for some cool-season color, and Spring Fever offers some lively choices.

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