Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Death of Hybridizer Tony Huber

20151102ASwiss-born hybridizer Tony Hubert died in Laval, Quebec on October 26 at age 89. He worked for over 30 years as principal hybridizer with the firm W.H. Perron, releasing hundreds of plants, many of which have gone on to become classics. He mostly worked with perennials, creating such plants as Dianthus ‘Frosty Fire’, Arcanthemum arcticum ‘Red Chimo’, Monarda ‘Pink Tourmaline, Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Glory’, Kalimeris mongolica ‘Summer Showers’, Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Pot of Gold’ and Solidago ptarmicoides ‘Summer Snow’, plus a few small fruits, including the thornless blackberry ‘Per Can’. He’ll however certainly be best remembered for a shrub, Gold Mound spirea (Spiraea japonica ‘Gold Mound’), of which millions of plants have been sold worldwide. It remains popular today, over 30 years after it was released.

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Spiraea japonica ‘Gold Mound’

Tony continued to hybridize from his home garden after he officially retired in 1994, working notably with iris, where he managed several crosses once considered impossible. He even created a new hybrid genus: Iris x versata, resulting from a cross between the North American blue flag iris (I. versicolor) and the Japanese iris (I. ensata). Among the versata cultivars he created are ‘Enfant Prodige’, ‘Frank Cabot’, and ‘Joliette’.

Tony Huber received several awards during his lifetime including the prestigious Henry Teuscher Award given in 1999 by the Montreal Botanical Garden for his lifelong commitment to horticulture.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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