Long ago and far away, the story of some very special superheroes begins. In the wild west of Minnesota, a humble gardener--an honest and good man--tended a beloved but tattered greenhouse near a nursery on the river. The gardener has two loves--his daughter and the plants in his greenhouse. Living in the upper story of the nursery building, the man spends his days tending to the trees, shrubs and plants. One day, the river begins to rise. It rises so quickly that the nursery owner is forced to retreat to his loft with his daughter, leaving behind his precious plants. When the water recedes, the gardener returns to the water-soaked downstairs nursery to find everything in shambles.
Sure that his beloved plants are gone, he sobs, then suddenly stops as he spies, in a far corner of the nursery, a small carton of plants tucked under a large piece of lumber. Although the plant plugs were violently beaten by the treacherous water, the gardener is ecstatic, as it appears the plants may survive.
The day the river retreats, the old gardener vows to care for these survivor plants with every ounce of energy he can muster. Townspeople come from near and far to offer their help to rebuild the nursery, but ever proud he turns them away. The gardener’s daughter helps rebuild the nursery, restocking the shelves and grounds with plants day after day. The gardener, sometimes forsaking food and sleep, concentrates on nursing the eight survivor plants back to health. He talks to them, fertilizes and waters them daily, growing his love for these special plants by the hour. He can’t imagine what it would be like to lose them.
When the plants grow bigger, he moves them out to a garden on a nearby hill. The gardener spends many nights lying in the garden, looking at the stars and retelling the plants the story of that treacherous night and their survival. He notices that the plants keep growing way past their expected height. Even after the first frost and the snows come, there is no sign of the plants cutting back. Puzzled, the man consults with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum gardeners to ask their expert advice. The Arboretum gardeners, an inquisitive bunch, drive to the nursery to check out these super plants. There appears to be nothing unusual about the plants except for their cold-hardiness and amazing height. “Keep ‘em growing,” encouraged the Arboretum gardeners. So, the gardener accepts the plants as super cold-hardy and keeps the garden clear of snow.
After a hard winter, with many plant casualties at the nursery, April showers bring a sense of renewal. But wait - the gardener’s daughter feels like she has failed to keep the nursery afloat. Pests and fungus are wreaking havoc on the grounds and in the nursery. The gardener is oblivious to what is going on around him, save nurturing the survivor plants.
The old gardener and his daughter are agog over the beauty of the garden. He exclaims, “You did it! You made this nursery the most beautiful place in the world!” She replies, “Father, this is not my doing. This is a miracle!.” They immediately looked back to the garden on the hill. All eight of his beloved survivor plants are wondrously back in their places. As the old gardener approaches the garden, he overhears whispering among the plants. “Did you restore my nursery to its natural beauty?” The roots of the plants move and a voice rings out--”You loved us when you had nothing. You could have let us perish but you didn’t. Your daughter spent many days tending to us after you went to sleep. This love was just enough to transform the eight of us into true Powerhouse Plants.“
Each plant, as it grew, was blessed with a special feature that would eventually make them famous in the plant world. In the years to come, these Powerhouse Plants provided energy to fuel your body, life and imagination.
One day, the daughter climbed the hill to the home of the Powerhouse Plants with sad news. She quietly whispered, “Father is gone.” The old gardener had passed away in his sleep the night before. A somber silence hovered over the nursery for days. Townspeople came to pay their respects and told stories of their fondness for her father.
Business at the nursery prospered in the years to come. In honor of the old gardener, the Powerhouse Plants bequeathed to the daughter their plant knowledge. Their legacy includes Incredible Edibles-a delicious bounty of ideas on how to eat fresh and grow your own, Amazing Art-five unique perspectives that celebrate the links between people and plants; and Bio-Energized, experiencing energy from the ground up on the challenges of green and growing renewable energy.
The Powerhouse Plants are now on a mission to take their superpowers and share the story on gardens of eatin’, superheros, supervillians and more.
A spectacular array of buttons is available at the Arboretum Gift Store for only 50 cents! Stop in today to collect all 16. Click here to see what buttons are available and when they will be released.