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Member Spotlight: Interview with Brenda Sipher
Interviewed by Delisa Harvey
April 25, 2010
Brenda, what year did you start growing Brugmansia?
What is your first recollection of the start of your love for Brugmansia?
I was working in a flower shop when a customer told me about Brugmansia. I looked it up on the internet, and knew I had to have one. I found a garden center in New York that advertised Brugmansia and my husband and I went to New York for a plant. I was terrified that they would have none left.  Upon entering the garden center I saw a tall versicolor peach loaded with at least 1,000 blooms. I left with two (over-priced) Brugmansia:  a versicolor peach, and an 'Ecuador Pink'. I covered them from the cold, got them home, and at once displayed them in my living room. I enjoyed looking at them all day as if I were a child looking at unopened presents under the Christmas tree. The next morning I went down to the living room to look at them again and all the blooms were on the floor!
What is your single most favorite Brugmansia?
After considerable thought, I'd have to say ‘ Fleming Island Jewel’.
Tell me about the young Brugmansia hybridizer from Canada with whom you are friends. 
Danny is a really smart young man that I helped start a Brugmansia program. His nickname for me is Mother Christmas.  Danny and all young growers are our future.
Brenda, when did you realize you wanted to hybridize Brugmansia?
My Brugmansia are like my children, and I would like to have that one Brugmansia to be proud of: a perfect, yellow, disease-resistant cross.
You have told me that your granddaughter shares your love of gardening. Has she tried her hand at hybridizing?
Emily’s favorite Brugmansia is 'Velvet Rose' by JT Sessions, on which she has started two pods of her own. Emily also adores Brugmansia variegates.
Tell me about your seedlings for this year.
Right now I have 116 Brugmansia warm weather seedlings and over 50 cold weather (Sphaerocarpium) seedlings.  I have just perfected my medium for growing out the Sphaerocarpium. Two important components are coir and volcanic gravel. Coir has made a huge difference in seedling germination and growth. It (coir) helps drain water and keeps the medium moist. 
You live in the northeastern United States. How do you start your seedlings and over-winter your Brugmansia?
I have a large basement for over-wintering my Brugmansia, and I use T5 fluorescent grow lights.
What are your other plant passions?
I also have collections of Hemerocallis (daylilies) and Hosta.
What plans are in your near future?
A trip in May to the Montreal Garden Festival for a look at hydroponic systems!
Brenda, do you have anything you would like to add to our interview?
Yes, I am truly blessed to have a husband who shares my love of gardening.  Without him none of this would be possible. I would surely have lost everything last year when I had heart surgery; it was a long time before I could take care of my plants again.
Brenda, it’s been a pleasure interviewing you and I would love to talk to you about hydroponics in the future.

Brenda’s first Brugmansia versicolor peach and ‘Ecuador Pink’


Brenda's beautiful seedlings!



Posted in: Featured Member

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# Joelle
Friday, April 30, 2010 8:17 PM
Thanks for inviting me into your Brugmansia world!
# gardenpaw
Friday, April 30, 2010 11:03 PM
Delisa, what a a wonderful interview with Brenda! Such a super nice Lady!
I loved reading about Brendas start with Brugmansia and her ongoing passion!

# Dianne
Saturday, May 01, 2010 2:01 AM
Great to read about a person who has a passion and is happy to foster that passion in others,
and share their knowledge and experiences.
# RJ
Saturday, May 01, 2010 3:31 AM
Great Interview Delisa! It's always nice to know how different people get involved with Brugs. Brenda, like so many other northerners has a lot of tenacity for hauling in and out over the course of a year, and that's an admirable task. :)

# alpha
Saturday, May 01, 2010 8:38 AM
Congrats on a great interview Delisa and Brenda!

Thanks for sharing the journey with your Brugmansia and a bit about your life. You're a wonderful Brug friend to all of us :)
# Teresa
Saturday, May 01, 2010 7:32 PM
Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview. Fantastic shot too!
# Teresa
Saturday, May 01, 2010 9:20 PM
LOL! I got such an un-happy face for congratulating you for such a lovely interview. I'm not unhappy with it Brenda! LOL
Space Dog
# Space Dog
Saturday, May 01, 2010 10:47 PM
Great interview! It sure is nice to know more about the people we interact with in the Brug community.
# Brenda
Sunday, May 02, 2010 5:02 AM
Where did that picture come from? I don't remember that, had to have been Florala. Thank You all for the kind words. I feel so blessed to be amoung such a great group.
# Kylie
Tuesday, May 04, 2010 10:04 AM
How nice to put a face to a name.. Great interview Delisa and Brenda thanks for sharing your beginnings and your love of Brugs! I look forward to your success of the perfect Brug! ☺☺
# Lulu
Tuesday, May 04, 2010 10:03 PM
Finally,,a face to the name!

Thanks so much for taking the time to do the interview, Brenda,,really enjoyed it! Lulu
# chrissy
Wednesday, May 05, 2010 12:09 AM
I share those feelings for our beautiful brugs brenda we are so lucky to be able to build on your hard work.
read this with great joy
Sally Cruse
# Sally Cruse
Wednesday, May 05, 2010 5:02 PM
What a nice interview Brenda. My sister lives in New Rochelle, New York and has a hard time getting her brugs to grow well. Don't know if its the heat, humidity or the varieties she has tried, but not much luck. The brugs she has tried are cuttings of ones I have sent her from the Pacific NW, and that have done well for me. She has pretty much given up trying to grow these beautiful plants, although she really enjoys them when she comes to my home and sees mine. Is there a brug you can think of that she might have better luck with in NY?

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