Wickman's Garden Village

Wickman's Garden Village
an Ozarks nursery with an extremely rich history and legions of loyal customers. Founded in 1922, it now has been a thriving business for more than 91 years.
      The owner whose name it bears, Gus Wickman, bought the nursery in 1946 from founder Floyd Emhoff, and in 1972 Wickman  sold it to Glenn and Donna Kristek, who greatly expanded its operations and held it until 2013, when they sold it to their son Chris and partner Jim Simmerman.
      Its rich history notwithstanding, there is nothing past tense about today's Wickman's, which has a wide reputation for being at the forefront of the gardening world with superb plant stock, new hybrid plants, and new garden supplies.
      In addition to a large greenhouse operation and its retail sales, Wickman's also provides landscaping services, a flower shop, and a gift shop.
      The colorful border in the photo marks the entrance to the Wickman's location at 1345 North Fort in Springfield, Missouri. The nursery also has a location at 10791 E. Highway 60 in Monett, Missouri.


After more than 40 years of operating what clearly is one of the most successful nurseries in the Midwest, and maybe the entire U.S., Glenn Kristek has turned the nursery over to his son and Jim Simmerman, and quite possibly will take an occasional breather. 


Jim Simmerman, Wickman's affable landscape foreman, is now partners in the nursery with Chris Kristek. It's only natural, he says, because "I've been working here since I was 16."

A Hands-On Manager

Wickman's general manager Nikki Petitt can often be caught smiling, and the smile grows even broader when she finds herself creating scarecrows for Wickman's Annual Fall Festival. Note: If you think this suggests the folks at Wickman's might have a sense of humor, you would be right.


Becky Nicholas, the nursery's landscape designer, had a big smile on this bright, sunny day, and yes, the beautiful water feature and the bridge behind her are Wickman's work.

Nikki Wearing Another Hat

Nikki as general manager does a lot more than make scarecrows. Here we caught her at her desk, where she does a beautiful job with the nursery's website and a million other tasks. Nikki's one of our favorite people in the gardening world and has been an enormous help in providing good, solid info to share with folks on this website.


Knowledgeable and always helpful, Jeannie LeJeune keeps more than busy in her job managing the nursery's Garden Center.

Scott On the Phone

Scott Lawson, Wickman's new nursery manager, doesn't spare the horses when it comes to helping customers. Here he's listening closely, intent on solving the problem.

Scott Off the Phone

We finally caught Scott off the phone to try to catch a picture, only to discover that he has an uncanny genius for closing his eyes for photos in anticipation of the flash. After about six tries, we finally got one with his eyes open. We decided to post this one, though, because his smile was, well, real good.

The Greenhouse

Wickman's greenhouse manager Shirley Anderson had good reason to smile the day we caught this photo. She'd just raised 12,000 mums and an ocean of pansies for fall customers. Shirley, one of the most knowledgeable people about plants we've ever encountered, does yeoman's work for Wickman's producing superb plant stock. 


Steve Waddell, who manages the Wickman's Flower Shop, has gained a wide reputation and legions of customers by creating superb flower arrangements. Steve, a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers, is shown here with some of his creations at the nursery's colorful annual Fall Festival.


When it comes to the from-the-ground-up work around the nursery, we haven't seen anyone do a better or more thorough job than Clemente Cervantes. We've seen him dig, plant, mulch, water, and just about every other garden task you can name, and he gets it right.


Brian Bluehdorn, who does "just about everything" at Wickman's, including "seeding, planting, watering, you name it," likes taking lunch breaks at a small water feature by the greenhouses. "It's cooler," he said.

Ally at Work

Ally Neal, Wickman's horticulturist at the time of this photo, was helping in the greenhouse on this day by making geranium cuttings. Ally has since moved on to other endeavors, but she was enormously helpful to many people during her time at the nursery. We know, because we're included.

Ready to Plant

One of Ally's cuttings, ready to plant. How many geraniums does Wickman's grow in the spring? Are you ready for this? Twenty thousand.


Ken Reynolds taking up where Ally left off, in this case preparing the cuttings for the 2014 growing season. Asked if he has an official title, Ken, who doesn't lack for a sense of humor, said, "Senior grower is what I'm callin' myself. I'm old enough."

The Perennial Side

Wickman's is widely known as a great source for a outstanding perennials. Ally, who was also the perennials manager, here manages a smile even after grooming a season's worth of Lamb's Ears.

The Shady Side

Wickman's keeps a separate greenhouse with an unusually good selection of shade plants, here being tended by Ally and Pat.

The Giant Watering Can

Bob Griffin, a longtime Wickman's employee, is a real artist with a real sense of humor, as this bit of his handiwork attests.


Nancy Caplinger as one of Wickman's perennials specialists orders, pots, and maintains perennials and works with customers to help them pick the best plants for their garden projects. She also does custom outdoor commercial and residential winter floral designs.


Mackenzie Moore also specializes in perennials and helps order, pot up, and maintain them as well as working with customers. Nikki adds that "Mac" is "incredibly talented" and "is regularly called upon to put her artistic lettering, painting and design skills to work."  

The Big Must-Do

Hand watering is a must for raising excellent nursery stock, and here's MacKenzie doing the job. 


When we asked Diane Bannon what she does at Wickman's, she paused just long enough to give us a big smile and say, "I'm a gofer." Truth is, she's a former elementary school teacher who the others say "does lots of creative things" at the nursery.


Shelby Cupples juggles college studies and part-time work at Wickman's. She helps customers, sells plants, answers the phone, helps maintain plants, and contributes design and decoration in the garden center.


Amiable Don McElhany handles nursery sales and, he adds, "Whatever needs to be done."


Mandi Turner is the newest addition to the Wickman's staff. Practically raised in the greenhouse business, this affable young lady does a bit of everything, including the creation of the wonderful woman made of plants, "Willow," which you can see below.

Flowering Trees and More....

Wickman's is known for providing gardeners distinctive plants of all kinds, including unique flowering trees such as this Malus species 'Weeping Candied Apple' Crabapple. With its soft-pink blossoms and red fruit, this tree also develops a beautiful weeping habit. It's a prize in the landscape and can grow to 15 feet tall.

'Sugar Tyme' Flowering Crabapple

'Sugar Tyme', a cultivar of Malus 'Sutyzam', is one of the top ten recommended flowering crabapples for its exceptional beauty in all four seasons of the year. It features dense masses of sugar-white blossoms in spring, crisp green foliage in summer, and glossy red fruit in autumn. The fruit lasts through winter and into spring, providing food for the spring songbirds. Awwww.... 

'Sargent' Flowering Crabapple

'Sargent Flowering Crabapple' (Malus 'Sargentii') is a smaller flowering crabapple with unusually attractive small, single, white, fragrant flowers and small, bright red fruit. It grows 6-8-feet tall and 15 feet wide. As this specimen shows, it's also beautiful when espaliered

Jane Magnolia

Jane Magnolia (Magnolia x 'Jane') is among the earliest-blooming, loveliest trees to brighten the Ozarks spring. Here already blooming in 6-inch pots, once planted it will grow vigorously in full sun or part shade into an upright, multi-trunked deciduous tree as tall as 25-30 feet and 20 feet wide. It bears its fragrant flowers first on bare stems, then after leafing out reblooms sporadically into fall.

'Aristocrat' Pear
aristocrat-pear.jpgAnother beautiful tree for spring, the 'Aristocrat' Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Aristocrat'), bears an abundance of lovely snow-white blossoms in early May. Ideal for smaller spaces, it grows in a pyramidal shape to 40-50 feet with a simiiar spread. Its glossy iight green foliage turns purplish-red in fall. A more dominant trunk and open form make it less vulnerable to wind damage than Bradford pear. Its fruits are inconspicuous. Its common names include Flowering Pear and Callery Pear.

Ready Redbuds
The Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is much loved by many Missourians for its extra-heartening early spring presence. A superb understory tree, it brightens yards and gardens throughout the Ozarks. Wickman's has a wide reputation for growing top-quality tree stock, and these superbly healthy specimens are nicely wrapped and ready to go to their new homes. 

'Royal Star' Star Magnolia

'Royal Star' Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star') has large white, fragrant star-like blooms in early spring. It grows as a multibranched shrub if left alone, but also with judicious pruning can be trained as a tree. It grows 15-20 feet tall and 12 feet wide and is especially reliable in areas with late frosts.

Red Cutleaf Japanese Maple
red-cutleaf-japanese-maple-jpg.jpgThe Red Cutleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum) is considered by many the loveliest of all trees for the home landscape, its finely cut leaves and warm red color making it  virtually irresistible. This slow-growing tree can reach 8 feet in height with a graceful spread of 10-12 feet. It will grow in full sun, but in the hot Ozarks summers and similar climates does best in filtered shade. Give it well-drained soil and do not allow it to dry out completely or leaf tips may burn.

'Belle of Georgia' Semi-Dwarf Peach

'Belle of Georgia' Semi-Dwarf Peach (Prunus persica 'Belle of Georgia') is a very special self-pollinating fruit tree. It bears beautiful flowers and firm, highly flavorful, white-fleshed freestone peaches. It needs at least 6-8 hours of sun daily and plenty of water. (It is not drought-tolerant.). It grows in a nicely rounded shape to 15-20 feet tall with a similar spread.

'Crimson Cascade' Weeping Peach
'Crimson Cascade' Weeping Peach (Prunus persica 'Crimson Cascade') is grown as an ornamental tree, as the fruit is small and considered poor quality. Its brilliant red double flowers, deep maroon leaves, and weeping habit, however, make it a beautiful presence in the garden. The leaves turn to green-maroon by midsummer, but new leaves in fall will again be dark maroon. It grows to 12 feel tall and 8 feet wide.

Misaka Itoh Peony
misaka-peony-jpg.jpgWickman's general manager Nikki Petitt surprised us one day with this amazing new (and rare) peony. Its name is Misaka, a Japanese word meaning "beautiful blossom," it's an Itoh peony, a hybrid series named for Toichi Itoh, the first person to cross tree and herbaceous peonies. She said the nursery couldn't resist ordering four of them, even at about $100 apiece. She hoped, and expected, that they would become less costly. And they have, at least a bit. We've found one at $75.

Misaka Itoh Peony Up Close

A closer look at the remarkable Misaka Peony reveals more of its gorgeous coloration. The Itoh series of peonies are produced by crossing tree peonies with herbaceous peonies. They therefore tend to be stronger and more vigorous. Oh, the botanical name for Misaka is--are you ready for this?--
Paeonia (Intersectional hybrid) x 'Smith Opus 1' P.P.# 22,192.

Keiko Itoh Peony

Another beautiful new peony in the Itoh series, Keiko features exceptionally large, lush, pink flowers. "Keiko" in Japanese means "Adored". 

'Lorraine Sunshine' Heliopsis

'Lorraine Sunshine' Heliopsis (Heliopsis helianthoides 'Lorraine Sunshine') is a marvel of visual interest in the garden, from the lacy variegation of the leaves to the bright 'n beautiful yellow blossoms. A perennial, it grows 24-36 inches tall with a similar spread, is heat-tolerant, likes sun and well-drained soil, and naturalizes well. Heliopsis are also commonly known as False Sunflower.

Hanging Baskets

Wickman's is also known for beautiful hanging baskets in all colors and highly creative plant combinations. This simple but very striking basket mixes red and white Supertunias, a group of about 30 hybrids developed to bloom prolifically from spring to frost, withstand heat, take little watering, and require no deadheading but remain neat all season long. In short, they're "super petunias."

Extra Charm

As if Wickman's hanging baskets weren't already attractive enough, the nursery sometimes makes their prices even more charming.

'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus

We don't know a prettier or more gratifying plant for full shade exposures than this beauty--'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus (Plectranthus x 'Mona Lavender'). It features gorgeous deep-green, glossy foliage and a great abundance of lovely lavender flower spikes from April through October. Related to Swedish Ivy, Creeping Charlie, and Mexican Mint, this marvel of a plant also keeps its neat, compact look all season long. 

Good Luck Plant

Good Luck Plant (Oxalis quadrangularis) is an engaging South American plant that features 4-leaf-cloverlike leaves with a dark purple center and bears delicate, pale pink flowers. Like all Oxalis, it can be grown indoors as a houseplant or outside in the garden when the weather warms. It does best in full sun but will also grow in light shade and likes to be fed occasionally. 

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is an herbacious perennial much loved by gardeners for the beauty it brings to the shade or partially shady garden. It features lovely arching stems, delicate pink or white heart-shaped flowers, and divided foliage.The flowers appear in spring but in dry conditions may fade by midsummer, so be sure to provide plenty of moisture.  In ideal conditions it can grow to 4 feet tall with a 2-foot spread.

'Luxuriant' Formosa Bleeding Heart

'Luxuriant' Formosa Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa 'Luxuriant') is a prize perennial plant for shady exposures and is said to be the best "fern-leaf" bleeding heart available, and indeed its finely cut gray-green foliage is lovely in the garden. Delicate, heart-shaped flowers that may be white, pink, or red appear from late spring until frost. It can reach 2 feet tall and just as wide. Common names include Pacific Bleeding Heart, Western Bleeding Heart, and Frilly Bleeding Heart.

A Colorful Crop

In June of 2012 the nursery turned out a better-than-bumper crop of unusually vigorous, exceptionally colorful Tithonia (Tithonia rotundifolia). This bright and cheery annual, more popularly known as Mexican Sunflower, can grow upright to a spectacular 6 feet tall and is also terrifically attractive to butterflies. Here, greenhouse manager Shirley Anderson takes on the grooming.

'Fanfare' Gaillardia

'Fanfare' Gaillardia (Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Fanfare') is a happy accident, as it originated as a chance seedling. This striking perennial from spring to fall bears an enormous number of perfectly gorgeous flowers with fluted yellow-and-red petals and dark red centers. Given full sun, it forms a compact mound 14 inches high and 18 inches wide--perfect for beds, borders, and containers. Note: It can have as many as 100 flowers and, like all Gaillardias, it's also known as Indian Blanket Flower.

'Cleopatra' Canna Lily

For many, the 'Cleopatra' Canna Lily is simply breathtaking. The plant grows to 4 1/2 feet tall and produces unusually large flowers of red and yellow in varying patterns. The foliage is green with occasional purple streaks. In full sun it does spectacularly well in the Ozarks, blooming from July into September.

Special Roses

Among the Wickman's special treats for gardeners are some truly excellent rose varieties. This 'Rio Samba' hybrid tea, an All-America Selection in 1993, features yellow blossoms with rose-orange edges and a light, fresh fragrance. As a New Generation rose, it isn't grafted but actually grows on its own rootstock. It can reach 4 feet tall.

'Our Lady of Guadalupe' Rose

'Our Lady of Guadalupe' is a floribunda rose in the Fortuniana series of roses developed for the light, excessively well-drained, high-temperature soil peculiar to coastal areas. As such, it does beautifully in our hottest Ozarks summers, bearing clusters of exquisite, beautifully formed, silvery-pink flowers all season long. The rose for some has religious significance and has been blessed by the Diocese of Los Angeles.

'Light My Fire' Rose

The 'Light My Fire' Rose is an eyecatcher extraordinaire in the garden by virtue of its vivid red-orange blossoms and glossy dark-green foliage. A floribunda rose, it grows to 2 1/2 feet tall and as wide with a nicely attractive compact and rounded shape.

Flower Carpet Scarlet Rose

The Flower Carpet series roses are widely considered the best ground cover and landscape roses available. Their features include masses of blossoms all season long, very glossy green foliage, vigorous growth, and the best disease resistance of all roses. Scarlet (Rosa 'Flower Carpet Scarlet') has velvet scarlet blossoms and can grow to 24-32 inches tall and 40 inches wide. Besides Scarlet, the series includes Amber, Appleblossom, Coral, Yellow, Pink, Pink Supreme, Red, and White.

Flower Carpet Coral Rose

The coral color Flower Carpet rose has the same cultural characteristics as the scarlet variety. 

sundown-coneflower.jpgAn exciting new development in plant culture is the "Big Sky" series of coneflowers--crosses between the Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea paradoxa species that yields coneflowers in new colors from yellows to oranges to reds. The curious hue of this 'Sundown' variety is transitional, as the blooms turn from pink to bright orange to soft purple-pink. The plant can reach 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide and thrives in full sun and average to dry soil. If you find one, snap it up, because it sells out early.

'Mongo' Butterfly Bush
mongo-butterfly-bush.jpg'Mongo' Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii nanhoensis 'Mongo') is a marvelous plant that grows compactly to 5 feet tall and as wide and is loaded with slender flower heads ranging in color from lavender to reddish purple. It's dwarf size makes it ideal especially for cottage gardens, island plantings, or landscapes. Note: It's also known as ''Nanho Blue', 'Petite Plum' Butterfly Bush, and Summer Lilac.

'Blue Bird' Rose of Sharon

We thought this marvelous plant,
'Blue Bird' Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), was a modern hybrid when we first saw it, but then were surprised to learn that it's an old-fashioned favorite heirloom shrub. Its longlasting bright blue flowers with red centers appear from late summer till fall. It prefers full sun but also does well in partial shade. It can reach 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide and requires no pruning except for removing dead or damaged branches.  

'Blue River II' Hibiscus
The spectacular 10-inch-wide pure-white flowers of the 'Blue River II' Hibiscus (Hibiscus x 'Blue River II') last only a day, but new ones open daily from late summer till the end of the season. This vigorous hibiscus needs full sun and moist soil, grows to 5 feet tall, and is ideal for containers and cut flowers. The foliage is deep green with a faint blue cast. Note: the name comes one of its parents, Hibiscus militans, which was first discovered along southern Oklahoma's Blue River.

'Turn of the Century' Hibiscus
Wow. We've just discovered 'Turn of the Century' Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos 'Turn of the Century') and think it the most beautiful hibiscus we've ever seen. These amazing blossoms can be up to 9 inches in diameter. Very low-maintenance, it grows to 8 feet tall with a 5-foot spread. It needs full sun and does best in medium to wet organically rich soil, but will thrive in ordinary garden soil if kept moist. It responds well to deadheading.

'South Seas' Daylily

The 'South Seas' Daylily is a new variety sbsolutely unique in its colors and shadings of pink-coral and orange and many hues between. It grows to 30 inches tall with an 18-24-inch spread, and when it blooms each scape contain 30 or more flowers. 'South Seas' is one of the Designer Daylily Collection plants judged superior by a major daylily grower.

Jumbo Red Purslane
jumbo-red-purslane-jpg.jpgJumbo Red Purslane (Portulaca grandiflora hybrids) is the most striking of the Jumbo series hybrids with larger flowers and leaves than other purslanes, all of which resemble trailing succulents with glossy leaves. It grows to 8 inches tall and spreads to 2 feet wide, making it perfect for containers and hanging baskets. It needs full sun or part shade and should be kept on the dry side to prevent disease. Jumbo Purslanes come in red, yellow, and white, and we're not sure, but maybe orange, too.

'Jackie' Verbascum
jackie-verbascum-jpg.jpg'Jackie' Verbascum 'Jackie' (Verbascum x 'Jackie') is a beautiful hybrid of the common roadside wildflower Mullein. An herbaceous perennial, it produces erect flower spikes of exceptionally lovely, soft peach to yellow. With full sun it will grow to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. It should be kept a little on the dry side and deadheading will encourage further bloom. As it lives only to 2 or 3 years, it should be propagated by division to keep it going in the garden.

Superbells 'Dreamsicle'Callibrachoa
superbells-dreamsicle-calibrachoa-jpg.jpgThe Proven Winners Superbells series of Callibrachoa plants are a godsend for gardeners, especially those who love hanging baskets and containers. Each plant produces a huge profusion--literally hundreds--of flowers from spring to frost without needing deadheading, pinching, or cleanup. They grow 6 to 10 inches tall and spread 2 or more feet wide. They also come in an enormous range of colors, and this one, 'Dreamsicle', is our favorite, maybe because we love the taste of real Dreamsicles.

'Dreamsicle' Up Close

We couldn't resist providing you this closer look at the Superbells 'Dreamsicle' Callibrachoa because it's, well, so delicious.

Superbells 'Blue' Callibrachoa

Another Proven Winners Superbells plant, Superbells 'Blue' Callibrachoa, has all the virtues of these special hybrids with flowers in a gorgeous blue-lavender. (See above.)

Superbells 'Blue' Callibrachoa Up Close

A better look at the Superbells 'Blue' Callibrachoa flower color.

'Intensia Blueberry' Phlox

The Intensia Phlox series of hybrids, introduced in 2003, feature larger, more vigorous leaves, thicker stems, and good disease resistance, and this one, 'Intensia Blueberry', stands out especially for its vibrant blue-purple flowers. An annual in the Ozarks, it grows in a mounded habit to 12 inches tall and as wide. In sum, it's a gorgeous standout in the garden.

'Intensia Blueberry' Phlox Up Close

A closer look at the 'Intensia Blueberry' Phlox reveals much more of its marvelous coloration.

The Pinstripe Petunia

Shirley seemed extra-delighted by this plant, Pinstripe Petunia (Petunia x hybrida.) An annual developed by Ball Horticultural, it blooms from spring to frost and features flowers of the richest, deepest purple marked with a white "star." It grows to 12 inches tall and as wide and is great both in the garden and in containers.

The Phantom Petunia

No, your eyes don't deceive you. It's a totally black Petunia. The Phantom Petunia developed by Ball Horticultural is one of the most dramatic plants we've ever encountered. Shirley is giving this one from Wickman's its own space in a ceramic pot in her own garden. An annual, it grows in an upright mound to 12 inches tall and as wide, likes full sun, and blooms from late spring through autumn. And guess what. It changes. See the next photo.

The Phantom Changes

And here it is, the Phantom Petunia's mysterious metamorphosis: here just beginning, the appearance of a yellow "star" on each flower.

Supertunia 'Pretty Much Picasso'
pretty-much-picasso-jpg.jpgThe 'Pretty Much Picasso' Supertunia from Proven Winners has won a world of gardening awards, and for good reason, being superb for its uniquely subtle colors, season-long bloom, vigorous growth, and compact trailing habit. It takes drought and heat, grows to a foot tall trailing to 3 feet, and never needs deadheading. Shirley grew this one beautifully in a pot, and it's been terrific in our own garden. Our verdict: If you see this one in the nursery, snap it up.

'Rolly's Favorite' Campion
l-rollie-s-favorite-silene-jpg.jpg'Rolly's Favorite Campion' (Silene x robotii 'Rolly's Favorite') is a beautiful evergreen perennial that hugs the ground and from early to mid summer produces lovely starlike shell-pink flowers with white eyes. It grows to 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide and does best in full sun to partial shade. It's also excellent plant for all gardens, including woodland and alpine, makes good edging, and is superb in containers.

Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox ( Phlox subulata) is thought by many to be the very best perennial for the rock garden and outstanding for the border. Growing rather quickly, it produces beautiful pink carpet of flowers from early to mid spring. A single plant grows only 4-6 inches high but can spread via stolons to 24 inches wide. Common names include Moss Pink and Moss Phlox.

'Candy Stripe' Creeping Phlox

'Candy Stripe Creeping Phlox' (Phlox subulata 'Candy Stripe') is similar in habit, size, and culture to Creeping Phlox above, but the flowers are a very striking combination of white with a pink midstripe.


Caryopteris (Caryopteris x clandonensis) is a woody shrub with small, rather delicate,  unusually lovely clusters of blue flowers from late summer into fall. It likes sun or partial shade, is drought- and heat-tolerant. and grows to 3 feet tall and as wide. The foliage is fragrant. Common names include Blue Mist, Bluebeard, and Blue Spirea. It is not, however, a Spirea. 

Moonlight Scotch Broom

Moonlight Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius 'Moonlight') is a beautiful hybrid of the broom family that features emerald green foliage and unique cream-yellow flowers in spring. It grows to 5 feet tall and as wide and is especially effective in mass plantings as a hedge or screen. It needs full sun and is highly drought-tolerant, preferring soil on the drier side.

Contorted Filbert
contorted-filbert-jpg.jpgContorted Filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') is an absolutely unique shrub with twisting, spiraling branches and, in winter, showy catkins that dangle from them. In full sun or partial shade it can grow to 8 feet tall and as wide. In the garden it's a real conversation piece, even though the conversation might be limited to, "Hey, look at that!" Common names include Corkscrew Hazel and, yes, Harry Lauder's Walking Stick.

Obedient Plant
obedient-plant-jpg.jpgObedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) is a Missouri wildflower with attractive narrow, lancelike leaves and lovely flower spikes in white, pink, or pale lavender. In full sun and moist soil it can grow to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. (Taller plants may need staking.) It's ideal for rain gardens and the flowers make excellent cut flowers. Why is it called "obedient" plant. Because if any of its flowers is pushed out of position, it will remain so for a short time. One common name is False Dragonhead.

'Madame Wilfron Gonnere' Waterlily
madame-wilfron-gonnere-water-lily.jpgWickman's also stocks some beautiful aquatic plants. 'Madame Wilfron Gonnere' Waterlily (Nymphaea hybrid) is a classic waterlily introduced in 1912. It's free-flowering and its double, pink, fragrant flowers grow up to six inches across. The lily pads are round and green. Perfect in any size pond, it thrives in sun or partial shade.

'Chromatella' Waterlily
nymphaea-marliacea-chromatella.jpgThe 'Chromatella' Waterlily (Nymphaea x marliacea 'Chromatella') is a hardy waterlily from famed French hybridizer Joseph Bory. It bears large cupped semi-double white-to-yellow flowers from May till frost. Ideal for small water gardens or containers, it thrives in soil in stll water at least a foot deep. It's hardy only if water isn't allowed to freeze. It blooms with as little as 3 hours of sun, but flowering is best in full sun.

Nymphaea Pink Waterlily

This beauty grown by Wickman's is one of several pink waterlily varieties that go by the name "Nymphaea Pink Waterlily." We don't know the exact varietal name of this one, but we do know that it most likely favors neutral-to-alkaline pH water and and should be planted in May to late June in the Ozarks.

A Colorful "Sun"

When we spied this decorative garden "sun" in the nursery, it knocked us out. We think it's Mexican art. At the upper right is one of our favorite-ever quotes: "You miss 100% of the shots you never take."--Wayne Gretzky. Think we should tell 'em this item misspells "Gretzky"?

Ox-Eye Daisy
Ox-Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is one of the prettiest sights in fields and meadows in midsummer, and it makes a fine garden plant, too, with its bright white flowers with yellow centers. A perennial introduced from Europe, it can grow to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide in the Ozarks if given full sun. Very easy to grow and quite vigorous, it spreads so quickly and is so deep-rooted that it's considered to be an invasive weed in many states. It is, however, easy to control in the garden.

'Tequila Sunrise' Coreopsis

''Tequila Sunrise' Coreopsis is a beautiful, compact perennial Coreopsis hybrid with unique variegated leaves and briliant yellow flowers with maroon "eyes." Very easy to grow, in full sun and almost any soil (except moist with poor drainage) it produces a clump 1 1/2 feet tall and as wide and flowers abundantly from May to August if deaded. The flowers also attract butterflies.

Ornamental Millet
ornamental-millet-jpg.jpgOrnamental Millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is a great find for gardeners who love the unusual. This is probably 'Purple Majesty,' an All-America selection in 2003. It grows to 5 feet tall and flower heads add another 8-12 inches. Its long, slender leaves turn dark purple with maturity and sun exposure to the sun. Easy to grow in sun or part shade, it's heat-and-drought tolerant and has the deepest color with full sun. By the way, birds love the seed.

'Florida Sun Jade' Coleus
Coleus, native to Southeast Asia, are annuals in the Ozarks and excel in the region's often fiercely-hot summers. 'Florida Sun Jade' Coleus (Solenostemon scuttellarioides 'Florida Sun Jade') is one of the best, thanks to its rich, bright purple and green coloration and neat, bushy habit, which makes it a superb container plant, it will do well in full sun to partial shade and in garden or pot will grow to 24 inches tall and 20 inches wide.  

'Masquerade' Ornamental Pepper

'Masquerade' Ornamental Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Masquerade') is a highly striking annual plant that starts out producing very dark purple-black peppers that go beautifully with its light green foliage. The peppers then turn orange, yellow, and finally red. Easy to grow in garden or container, it can reach 12 inches tall and 10 inches wide. Warning: The peppers are exztremely hot. (A friend who tried one regretted it deeply and said, "Don't even think about it.")

'Masquerade' Ornamental Pepper Changing Color

This picture shows the color changes that inspired the 'Masquerade' Ornamental Pepper's varietal name. 

More Ornamental Peppers

We don't know the varietal name of these ornamental peppers, but we love the colors.

A Big Job

Keeping so many plants at once healthy and attractive is, as you might imagine, a huge job, but Wickman's manages to do it, and largely by hand watering, thanks to Justin Sanders and the rest of an industrious nursery crew.

Northern Sea Oats

One of the most beautiful of all ornamental grasses, Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) can thrive in full sun, part shade, or total shade. It grows 2-3 feet tall and 2 feet wide and does best in fertile, well-drained soil. Gardeners love its slender, arching habit, bamboo-like foliage, and especially its showy flowers, which also make it superb in dried arrangements. To see the flowers, click here.

Purple Fountain Grass
purple-fountain-grass-jpg.jpgWherever it's planted, Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') seizes the eye with its upright habit and long, gracefully arching bronze-burgundy leaves, the perfect background for its pinkish, catkin-like flowers. Easy to grow, it grows to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide in full to part sun. An annual in the Ozarks and perennial where winter temperatures stay above 20 degrees, it's an ideal garden or container plant and makes excellent cut or dried flowers. 

Golden Japanese Forest Grass

With its brilliant yellow leaves with thin green stripes, Golden Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola') is a gorgeous ground cover perfect for shady areas. It grows slowly to 18 inches tall and as wide and does best with partial sun. It's ideal in the garden and also extra-attractive in containers.

'Ebony Knight' Mondo Grass
'Ebony Knight' Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Ebony Knight') is a small perennial ornamental grass that can strike a dramatic note wherever it's planted. Ideal for borders, edging, and the garden or containes, it features arching black leaves that grow in a clump a foot tall and as wide. In summer it bears flowers soft lavender in color. Note: It's especially effective in mass plantings.

'Angel's Blush Hydrangea'

'Angel's Blush' Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Ruby') is an especially showy Hydrangea that bears beautiful 10-inch-long clusters of white flowers that gradually turn rosy red in late summer and fall. The clusters are long-lasting. The plant grows to 8-12 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide.

'Zuni' Crape Myrtle

'Zuni' Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica 'Zuni') bears clouds of unusually lovely lavender blossoms from July to September. Highly vigorous, it can reach 11 feet in height and spread if left unpruned; however, if cut back to about 8 inches in winter, it'll grow to about 4 feet tall the following year. 'Zuni' also has superb mildew resistance.

A Greenhouse Goodie

This luscious plant in the Wickman's greenhouse--by far the reddest red we've ever seen--stopped us in our tracks. We're thinking it's got to be the famed Red Lion Amaryllis, said to be the most popular of all Amaryllis for the Christmas season. 

Rainbow Fern

Rainbow Fern (Selaginella uncinata) is marvelous plant with fine foliage that changes color. Absolutely ideal for hanging baskets, does best in bright indirect light with adequate but not excessive moisture.
Growing to 6 inches tall and spreading to 3 feet, it's also sometimes used as a shade ground cover.

Rainbow Fern Up Close

We just had to post this closer look at the Rainbow Fern. Can you believe it?
Common names include Club Moss, Rainbow Club Moss, Spikemoss, Peacock Fern, and Peacock Spikemoss.

Creeping Mahonia
creeping-mahonia-jpg.jpgCreeping Mahonia (Mahonia repens) is a low-growing evergreen ground cover that bears showy yellow flowers in April and small clusters of grape-like berries in late summer. The leathery, spiny-toothed, holly-like leaves provide interesting texture and turn purplish in winter. It grows to a foot tall and 1 1/2 feet wide and spreads by stolons. Common names: Creeping Oregon Grape, Creeping Hollygrape, Creeping Barberry, and Prostrate Barberry. Note: The very sour berries are said to be good in jellies.


Wickman's can always be relied upon for a good selection of vigorous, healthy Hostas, which, by golly, are far and away America's most popular foliage plant. The nursery's offerings always include some of the most valued and most interesting varieties available, as shown below.

'Frances Williams' Hosta
frances-williams-hosta-jpg.jpgThe 'Frances Williams' Hosta (Hosta sieboldiana 'Frances Williams') is one of the most popular of all hostas and an American Hosta Society Merit Award winner. It features heart-shaped leaves, lovely overall shape, impressive size, and beautiful coloration. The leaves are green with a slight bluish tinge and creamy yellow margins and the midsummer flowers are white. Give it plenty of room, as it grows as tall as 1 1/2 to 2 feet and 5 feet wide. Note: We've grown this one ourselves and loved it. 

'Twilight' Hosta

The 'Twilight' Hosta (Hosta fortunei 'Twilight') is a nicely compact hosta that features heart-shaped leaves that turn from light green to deep green with lovely gold margins that gradually fade to white. The flowers are pale lavender and appear in late summer. It grows to 20 inches tall and 30 inches wide.

'Stiletto' Hosta

How's this for an unusual Hosta? It's 'Stiletto' (Hosta 'Stiletto') and it features very slender, wavy, lance-like leaves with white margins that grow in a dense mound 6 inches high and 9 inches wide. The flowers appear in July, are purple-striped, and attract hummingbirds.

'On Stage' Hosta

'Onstage' is an extremely striking Hosta variety that features leaves with bright yellow centers and beautiful streaking green margins. This one is actually sun tolerant and, in fact, shows the best color in bright locations Depending upon the light, the central color may change to chartreuse or cream. Lavender flowers appear in late summer. A slow grower, in time it will reach 20 inches tall and 48 inches wide.

'Cherry Berry' Hosta

The diminutive 'Cherry Berry' Hosta features beautiful lance-like leaves with a bold white center edged with dark green margins that can trail into the white. As if that weren't charming enough, it bears purple flowers in July and August on reddish-color scapes, and the seedpods are cherry colored. We're pretty sure this is the dwarf, which grows to 10 inches high by 6 or 7 inches wide.

'Guacamole' Hosta
guacamole-hosta.jpgThe famed hosta 'Guacamole' has shiny chartreuse leaves with blue edges and, in late summer, strongly fragrant white flowers  It grows to 20 inches high and 28 inches wide, loves light shade, and tolerates dry soil. A winner on every count, it was named Hosta of the Year in 2002 by the American Hosta Grower's Association. Note: To see a full-grown 'Guacamole', click here

'Hanky Panky' Hosta
hanky-panky-hosta.jpgThis cluster of baby 'Hanky Panky' hostas eventually will produce a great number of most unusual and highly engaging adult plants. A sport of the beautiful hosta 'Striptease', this Hosta's leaves have the same unusual color pattern as 'Striptease' (which you can see here). The colors, however, change through the season, the first leaves having green centers and cream margins, then gradually becoming creamy yellow with green margins. A vigorous grower, 'Hanky Panky' does well in light sun to full shade and will reach 16 inches high and 30 inches across. In midsummer it sends up lavender flowers.

'Pathfinder' Hosta

'Pathfinder' is a very striking hosta that features very thick, slightly rounded, corrugated leaves with white centers flecked with green. It grows upright to 12-16 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide and bears pale lavender flowers in July and August. Note: Green flecks in hostas are said to be quite rare, making this plant more desirable to mahy gardeners.

'Paradigm' Hosta
paradigm-hosta.jpg'Paradigm' was named Hosta of the Year in 2007, and it's hardly a wonder, as the leaves can reach 11 inches long by 9 inches wide and start out chartreuse in the spring and turn greenish-gold as the season progresses. The plant grows quickly to 26 inches tall and 4 feet wide. Leaf margins are dark green and in midsummer very pale, almost white flowers appear on 24-inch scapes. All told, this is a great specimen plant in any shade garden.

Variegated Solomon's Seal

Variegated Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum falcatum 'Variegatum'). Always a beautiful presence in the shade garden, with its elegant arching stems and white-bordered leaves, its especially effective as a companion plant for Hostas and Ferns. It must have moist soil to thrive, and in the right conditions it grows quickly to 2 feet tall and as wide and spreads by rhizomes (underground stems). Clumps may be divided for new plants.

Autumn at Wickman's

Autumn is always a special time at Wickman's, as the nursery brings out a spectacular array of fall colors in mums and asters, and even some special guests, as you'll see below. 

A Scarecrow Bistro

We loved this scarecrow taking his leisure. Such special guests vary from autumn to autumn, but he was for us was a favorite. The nursery has a colorful Fall Festival every year, and you can see an example, including one of this guy's cousins, on this website here

'Bravo' Mums

Want color in your fall garden? Flowers of a most intense red with raised centers have made this mum variety, 'Bravo', a favorite with gardeners world-wide.

'Cupido Pink' Mums

'Cupido' pink mums are an early flowering variety that bears exquisite shell-pink flowers with a hint of lavender.

'Hannah' Mums

'Hannah' is one of the most engaging orange mums for the garden, and one of the first varieties to flower in the fall. 'Hannah' and the next three mums are varieties produced by the Yoder company headquartered in Iowa, said to be the largest mum grower in the world. 

'Hot Salsa' Mums

'Hot Salsa' mums bear an enormous profusion of very striking 2-inch-wide flowers on neat, compact plants.

'Celeste' Aster

The 'Celeste' aster (Aster novi-belgii 'Celeste') features blue-violet rays and yellow center disks. It needs full sun and grows to 2 1/2 feet tall and as wide, blooming profusely in August and September.

'Purple viking' Aster

The 'Purple Viking' Aster (Aster novi-belgii 'Purple Viking') is a darker purple than 'Celeste' and also an early bloomer. Very striking in the garden.

'Puff' Aster

The 'Puff' aster (Aster novi-belgii 'Puff') is a real charmer, bearing a profusion of small, extra-neat white blossoms with yellow centers. Like all asters, it needs full sun and must have soil with good drainage. A standout in the garden.

A Snowy 'Bright Edge'
a-snowy-bright-edge.jpgThe 'Bright Edge' Yucca (Yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge') is a virtually care-free yucca with beautiful variegation. The sword-like leaves are green with white or cream margins form a spray that can reach 3 feet tall or more and as wide. Fragrant white flowers appear in midsummer. One common name is Adam's Needle. This specimen planted in a country garden was, we thought, even more beautiful in a late spring snow

A Very Special Lady

Isn't she wonderful? Her original name was "Woman of the Wilderness," but now it's simply "Willow." She was created by Nancy Caplinger, Becky Nicholas, and Mandi Turner of Wickman's. I don't know about you, but she's definitely my new crush.

'Mojito' Elephant Ear

The 'Mojito' Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito') is an absolute marvel of a plant. No two of the lovely light green leaves flecked and spattered with darker green are the same. This tropical plant does beautifully outdoors in the Ozarks as long as temperatures are above 70, and then the bulbs can be taken up and wintered over.

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