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Meet Jeremy Schmidt and Discover a Passion for Trilliums

Meet Jeremy Schmidt, Researcher and Grounds Supervisor of  Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden, and owner of Hortco. Jeremy gardens in Raleigh, North Carolina, Zone 8a. He was recently part of the team that installed the new crevice garden at Rancho Cistus with Sean Hogan. 
Additionally, Jeremy is speaking at an upcoming Zoom program: “Trilliums in the Southeast…Gateway Plant to Lifelong Botanical Passion”. Click here to learn more and sign up!

How would I describe my personal garden?

In its tenth year of growth, my home garden, the Bristol Briar, has served as a personal platform to trial daring horticultural display ideas and to test botanical theories, while maintaining the garden at the highest aesthetic standards.  It is in this environment that I am at home.  Integrating familiar, easily translatable garden features into an adventurous layout, this inspirational garden experience encourages visitors’ deeper exploration and imagined application of the Bristol Briar’s bold and ingenious use of limited space, budget, and water.

Variegated trillium, photo credit Jeremy Schmidt

Why are crevice gardens suddenly becoming so popular?

Although originating in the 1950’s Czech Republic, most crevice gardens were constructed in just the past five years.  Why are crevice gardens suddenly becoming so popular?  When Kenton Seth, Paul Spriggs, and I teamed up with Sean Hogan to build the crevice garden at Rancho Cistus, the answer was clear…because they bring people together in the garden like no other Horticultural installation can.

I can’t say it better than my crevice gardening mentor, Kenton Seth: “Crevice gardens have evolved beyond strangely named esoteric novelties into powerful, unifying features for any garden with any budget, for any audience, and in any climate. A fresh, eye-catching design element infused with the imperishable spirit of stone universally appeals to any audience—crevice gardens earn immediate emotional attention.”  Further, Kenton says: “The worlds of botany, of resource conservation, of art, and the international world of horticulture- are all brought together by crevice gardens.”  For more about this, check out the first-of-its-kind book by Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs…The Crevice Garden.

How did I become involved in horticulture?

As a child:

  1. Stumbling upon Trillium recurvatum while morel mushroom hunting every spring.
  2. Adding peat and tuberous begonias to my backyard mud pit during summer break.
  3. Visiting the Illinois state champion Aesculus glabra tree to collect leaves for a school project 
  4. Traveling just far enough south for winter break fishing trips to kick at beige rocky soil, to touch a blue Cedrus deodara, and to imagine what bermuda grass must look like when it was green.  

Photo credit Jeremy Schmidt

What advice would I give a beginner gardener?

  1. Design garden spaces that allow for machine access. 
  2. Learn how to operate a skid steer and an excavator…and find out who rents them locally.
  3. Test your soil and amend accordingly.
  4. Control the addition and subtraction of water by constructing irrigation and drainage systems.
  5. Join the North American Rock Garden Society.
  6. If you planted anything in your garden before completing steps 1-5, you may have done things in the wrong order.

Thanks so much for sharing, Jeremy!

You can see more of Jeremy on his recent appearances on the YouTube channel, HortTube with Jim Putnam”:

Join us at an upcoming Zoom program with Jeremy on December 14th, 7 PM. Click here to register and learn more!

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