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Hybridizer Don Jacobs, 1917--2010

Decatur, Georgia, USA

Don Jacobs was a great plantsman who introduced a number of Iris species. The following is an obituary written by Tony Avent;

"In sad news, one of the best known names in plant nerd circles passed away on May 14. Plantsman Don Jacobs, 93, had been in declining health for the last two years, battling cancer, heart failure, and a series of strokes. I always enjoyed stopping at Don's backyard nursery in the suburbs of Atlanta and was fortunate to make a final stop in 2010, just prior to Don becoming ill. To say Don was a quirky nurseryman would be the understatement of the century, but Don's impact on the number of rare and unusual plants available to gardeners was huge. Don ran a small mail order nursery that never published a catalog...just a single page typed list that you could only get if you requested it each year. When you ordered, Don would then propagate or divide your plant which you would receive...usually within a year or two. Don's nursery wasn't for gardeners without patience, but was instead for serious plantsmen who realized that rare plants were worth the wait. I always enjoyed following Don around the garden, shadowed by his pet parrot who oversaw our every step from the tree limbs above.

Few people ever took the time to chat with Don about his life, which included a PhD in Ecology from the University of Minnesota in 1944. Don taught ecology for nine years at the University of Georgia, before becoming frustrated with the university system and starting a wholesale tropical fish and pet store.The store became the largest of its kind in the Southeast US and during the 24 years he ran it he also developed and patented seven water treatment systems for aquariums, which are still used today. In 1979, Don sold his business and started a mail-order plant hobby business that he named Eco Gardens. You'll find Don's plants grown worldwide, most named with the cultivar prefix "Eco", such as Viola pedata 'Eco Artist Palette'. There was rarely a time when I visited and didn't find other nurserymen and plant collectors from overseas that had flown to the US just to visit Don and purchase plants. Don also authored 2 books, "Know Your Aquarium Plants" (1971), and "Trilliums in Woodland and Garden; American Treasures" with his son, Rob (1997). Don is survived by his three children and their families. Those who want to honor his memory, please make donations in his name to The American Cancer Society, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or the American Heart Association.

Registrations/Introductions:

Species: Eco Blue Boy', 'Eco Easter', 'Eco Little Bluebird', 'Eco Orchid Giant', 'Eco Purple Pomp', 'Eco Royal Ruffles, 'Edo Snow Bunting', 'Eco Violet'.

-- Main.RPries - 2012-05-18
Topic revision: r4 - 08 May 2015, Betsy881
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