Fleming's Flower Fields was founded in 1947 by Jim, Bob and Dave Fleming in Lincoln, NE. It started in Omaha and soon moved to Lincoln, NE where it would remain for their lifetimes. They were some of the country's first serious hybridizers of perennial plants and sold them wholesale, retail and mailorder like we still do today. They quickly became known for their oodles of winter hardy Giant flowerered Mums and other sustainable perennial standards that were splashed through magazines like Flower and Garden, Horticuture and the local newspapers for the remainder of their careers. They also helped create the basis of the perennial industry by showing that tough water conserving specimens were a valuable commodity to gardener and landscape alike.
They were true hybridizers who refused to use other breeder's patented plants for their crosses instead priding themselves in creating easy to care for cultivars that were original and tropic like to the northern market. Some of their early inventions included classics like 'Burgundy Glow' Ajuga, Caryopteris 'Bluebird', 'Spotty' Dianthus and thousands of other truly hardy classics. The culmination of their years of work resulted in the creation of the Fleming Hardy Hibiscus tm and the Fleming Filligree Dwarf Crepe Myrtle tm both of which are our main focus today. Their first patented plant in 2002 'Kopper King' with its 4 ft. compact nature, Coppery-red foliage, huge white flowers with red streaking from the center out would bring about a revolution in the Hibiscus market which had little going on at the time altering the future of Hibiscus. Soon followed by dozens of our other standards it would become the basis for all other to come, emulated forever.
Though they loved all perennial plants, they each had their own favorites. Jim was partial to winter hardy Carnations and created many industy standards such, 'Spotty', 'Dottie', 'Snowflurries', 'Double Spotty and also helped to influence the amazing Fleming Hardy Hibiscus. Bob focused on the Crepe Myrtles and after decades of work ended up created the much sought after winter hardy Dwarf Crepe Myrtle first hardy to -30 F making them available to more of the country. Shrinking them from 5ft. and taller of the past down to 3 foot and down to 1 foot with 'Violet Filli'. Even though an electrical engineer, Dave would become the "Hibiscus King" responsible for the new breakthoughs that led to the modern Hibiscus. The signature characteristics of the first purple and red 'Maple shanped' leaves, new color breaks including yellow, bicolor, lavendar, steaked, etc with consistently large flowers of 10-13",hardiness to -30 Fahrenheit all on the most compact plants of 4 foot and under to fit urban landscapes. The Hibiscus of the past had been shaggy 6 foot plants with small flowers in basic colors of red, pink and white. All three Brothers worked to expand the hardiness of their favorites in order to offer new possiblities to gardeners in colder regions.
Although the boys stint in WWII had delayed the beginning of the flower fields, the Brothers fulfilled their dreams with Fleming's Flower Fields and bringing happiness to their customers was icing on the cake. As they grew older entering their twilight, the decided they wanted to find the right apprentice to pass their knowledge and business onto since they never had children of their own. After hiring and testing a long line of potential candidates one finally came along that was the perfect fit. Gretchen had a background in Anthropolgy and could see the boys were a tribe of their own. She had the right stuff for them to teach her all the things they deemed the most important like business ethics above all else. They were the three sweetest professors that one could imagine and taught her all they knew about plants and hybridizing including secret techniques. She was proud and honored to continue the important work they had done like patenting their own plants with their stellar small business. After Jim, Bob and Dave passed away, Gretchen needed help herself and inlisted some friends, Kerry Cooper and Joe Schafer to come on board and start the new chapter of Fleming's Flower Fields and to propagate and hybridize in Lindsay, CA. They carried on the torch for inventing more unique and quality Fleming Hybrids that reflected the ethical standards that the brothers held so precious and passed on..
When you shop at Fleming's it will be obvious our love for Hibiscus, Crepes, and other perennials as it is also expressed in our handcrafted Art for your home and Garden.
Because Fleming's Flower Fields, LLC has the same owner as the hybridizing nursery, Fleming's Flower Fields, Inc., you know that you will recieve the best quality plants with the most experience and know-how in their mix, because we want to personally help supply the demand for our classic hybrids and put the gardener first. We want to keep our standard of quality and excellence a standard in the market.
Gnomies tm Bob Dave and Jim