Announcing our plant patent tracker

PP25095, submitted image

PP25095, submitted image

We’ve been interested in plant patents for a while at  It’s fascinating to track them and see what’s in the pipes for floriculture, crop sciences, or landscaping.  We realized that it was becoming tedious to monitor this stuff using the standard tools that are out there, so we started populating our own database with plant patent data.

Every Tuesday we report on the past week’s issue plant patents.  Right now we just give you the name of the plants that patents were issued for, but we’re extending our database to include:

  • assignee
  • inventor (breeder/discoverer)
  • attorney
  • patent examiner
  • applicant city/state/country
  • expiration date
  • scientific name
  • all plant patents available electronically, back to December 1976

We think it would be interesting to be able to search for all of the patents issued to a given breeder, see which countries are specializing in hybridization of what species, etc.

What features would you like to see?  Comment below, and check back every Tuesday to see the latest updates!

2013 fall plant orders, part 1

Half of the plants from the order

I used to order plants via mail fairly frequently, but because of time and monetary constraints I slacked off for a while.

Until this fall.  It all started when I was looking for a replacement for my beloved Dirca palustris which had been broken by some careless tree trimmers who worked for the power company.  They didn’t actually kill it, but they broke it in half and opened up a perfect space underneath for my dog, Romeo.  On hot summer days Romeo would dig deep and curl into the exposed roots to keep himself cool.  However, I love Romeo and hate the tree trimmers, so I’m giving the tree trimmers full blame.

The original plant came from Woodlanders nursery in 2003, but their recent catalogs didn’t list leatherwood any more.  Until this fall, that is.  I was so excited to finally have a source again, but shipping was going to be expensive.  “I’d better order more plants since I have to pay pretty much the same shipping rate anyhow,” I rationalized.

I think every gardener who orders via mail has gone through this process to satisfy their plant lust.  There should be a support group.

Somehow I justified my way to twelve different items.  I upped the quantity to five for two of the plants, giving me twenty plants total:

  • Dirca palustris (to replace the murdered one)
  • Stewartia koreana (I’ve always wanted one)
  • Athyrium felix-femina var. felix-femina ‘Minutissimum’ (I have some of these ferns from Woodlanders and they’re great.  They stay 6″ high and are awesome with miniature hosta)
  • Clethra fargesii (why not?  It sounds interesting)
  • Clethra barbinervis (after hearing Dan Hinkley praise this plant so extensively, I had to try it in my own garden)
  • Salvia koyamae (I grew this with great success for several years, until the one year that Aegopodium made its way to that bed and strangled the poor Salvia in the night)
  • Zenobia pulverulenta ‘Woodlanders Blue’ (I tried this in 2003, but killed it pretty quickly.  I wanted to have another shot)
  • Franklinia alatamaha (I have always wanted to try this plant because of its rich and fascinating history)
  • Hosta yingeri (Mine from 2003 is flourishing, but lonely; I ordered five friends)
  • Oxydendrum arboreum (Another interesting plant that I really should be growing.  The only one in town was cut down)
  • Viburnum acerifolium (Another 2003 plant that was getting lonely; it now has a friend to shout across the garden to)
  • Viburnum sieboldii ‘Seneca’ (I don’t know why.  I got caught up in ordering, I think)

The other half of the order, mostly perennials.

I have places in mind for many of these, but not all.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach.  I mean yard.

So what am I going to do with them?  Since the plants came from South Carolina (which is considerably warmer than East Central Illinois), I hardened the plants in the garage at night and left them outside during the day.  Because it’s so late in the season I may not get a well-established root system before winter, so I’ll add a heavy layer of mulch after planting these bareroot beauties to help protect against frost heaving.

Once I figure out where they go, that is.