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The Real Deal

Baptisia is often called false indigo. I fail to see how remembering false indigo is easier than remembering baptisia (and I don’t care if you pronounce it bap-tees-ee-a, bapteesha, or bap-tis-ee-a). I suppose one could say calling baptisia false indigo ties it back to its historical use as a substitute for true indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) that was THE dye for blue fabric until synthetic dyes took over. You will also find baptisia listed as wild indigo sometimes.

Traditionally, we have used Baptisia australis as an ornamental. Its deep blue flowers and tough-as-nails disposition have earned it a place in gardens for a long, long time. Occasionally you might find one of the white flowered species, on rare occasions the bright yellow B. sphaerocarpa.

Two factors have changed how often these plants are used today, which is much more often than in the past. One is the increased interest in native plants. All baptisias are North American natives with four native to Indiana. Many gardeners want more natives in their landscapes and the baptisias provide beautiful tough plants for this. This beauty comes not only from the flowers but also from the attractive disease and insect free foliage and seed pods which turn dark gray/black when they ripen. The larger types act as shrubs in the landscape until late fall/early winter.

The other factor that has increased the use of baptisias is the hybridizing work done by multiple plant breeders. The first commonly available hybrid was ‘Purple Smoke’, a cross of B. australis and B. alba. This was just a chance seedling in the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Probably the second available hybrid was ‘Carolina Moonlight’, a yellow flowered plant from the same cross. Both cultivars present their flowers well above the foliage increasing their ornamental value.

It was not long before breeders saw the potential of this genus and work to create more hybrids went into overdrive. Dr. Jim Ault and the Chicago Botanic Garden introduced the PRAIRIEBLUES™ series and Walters Gardens introduced the DECADENCE® series by Hans Hansen a few years later. Both of these series involve multiple baptisia species. I should say the two I mention are not the only people working on baptisias. They do have the most hybrids on the market and the most readily available currently.

So many hybrid cultivars are available now but I can still remember when we first ordered ‘Purple Smoke’ for the Formal Garden. The plants were so small and cost so much it was like one almost felt guilty buying them. They were well worth the investment. Few perennials will give you so many months of ornamental value for so many years.

I also want to mention Baptisia sphaerocarpa ‘Screamin’ Yellow’ even though we don’t have it here at the IMA (though it and many of these may be available for purchase at our Greenhouse).This is a smaller plant than some of the hybrids but I love the name and the bright yellow flowers. The seedpods in this species turn tan and are round (sphaero – round/spherical, carpa – fruit). The cultivar is supposed to bloom heavier than the species.

Sources often say do not disturb baptisia once established, however my personal experience suggests you can dig and divide without too much worry. Admittedly I dealt with plain B. australis but that plant was dug then sat outside for a week or two before I got around to dividing it. I made a lot of plants from the mother-clump and all did fine. I would definitely do dividing in fall or early spring (don’t leave the plant laying around like I did) with my preference being spring as soon as you see shoots poking through the soil.

Below are some photos of our baptisias blooming in the Gardens right now.  As you can see there is nothing false about them. They’re the real deal.



Plant buying time!

Despite some snow early in the week spring seems to be here. On Saturday it was 77 and sunny. As sunny as the blooms on my Magnolia ‘Butterflies’.

On Tuesday it was 26 and snowy. Even my blue balls were covered with it.


Yup. That’s pretty much April around these parts. Wednesday morning brought upper 20s again and I think some frozen tender young foliage.

But by the end of the week we returned to pretty nice spring weather. Just as the last month or so of winter tends to take out the plants tucked away in the basement you have been trying to save, April takes out the gardeners that just don’t have the muster. Those of us that have gardened awhile know April can be kind or cruel depending on its whims. We relish when it is perfection. We steel ourselves against its hatefulness when it is less than perfect. And we are always ready to start the new season regardless of which April we are dealing with.

Of course, working at the IMA means one of my favorite parts of each new season is Perennial Premiere. It is next Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27. Back when it was 14 below and there was a foot of snow on the ground, I thought this celebration of spring would never appear. While the Greenhouse carries plants year round, this is when the perennials become available along with some woody plants and certainly the colorful tender plants. A list of many of them is available here.

This week, I am going to cover a few I am especially smitten with, some I have grown and some that are tempting me.


Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst Dream’

Now, everyone pretty much knows I like gaudy plants and good-gawd-almighty! plants. Those are nearly always my first choice. Go gaudy or go home. But once in awhile I Iike something a little simpler or something that actually looks like its catalogue description. Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst Dream’ is such a plant.

Regular Centaurea montana (mountain bluet) is a delightful spring bloomer with gorgeous true blue flowers. It self sows but not invasively and seedlings are easy to remove. ‘Amethyst Dream’ really is amethyst colored. I was sure it would not be. Other than color it is like the straight species, except I’ve only had one or two seedings. Amazingly they were identical to the mother plant.

And now back to the more gaudy side of the garden. Aralia ‘Sun King’ is bright and bold. The chartreuse/yellow foliage has dramatic texture as well with the leaves large and divided.


Aralia ‘Sun King’. Courtesy

Aralia ‘Sun King’

Normally it grows to about 4’ x 4’ but if you have ideal conditions it might reach 6’. There are some white flowers in summer but you are growing this for the foliage, folks. It likes a good soil that does not dry out too much. On the other hand do not leave your plant sitting in a bowl of water for a week or more because it will drown. Trust me on this one, okay? ‘Sun King’ prefers part to full shade but I think best growth will be in less dense shade. The foliage color could be an echo for some hostas (yellow or yellow variegated) while the texture would provide a nice contrast to the same hostas’ foliage. If you do not feel you have room for Aralia ‘Sun King’, then kill one of your hostas. It’s alright. I give you permission. Okay. Okay. Don’t kill it. Give it to your cousin Muffy. Just get rid of the damn thing so you can plant something new.

Heuchera villosa ‘Brioche’ Courtesy

Heuchera villosa ‘Brioche’

I love Heuchera villosa. It has proven itself time and again as not only beautiful but super tough as well. ‘Caramel’ with its gorgeous amber and copper foliage remains my favorite heuchera. We’ve used the cultivar Autumn Bride multiple times in the landscape here as well as the purple forms a couple times. ‘Bronze Wave’ can be found outside the Deer Zink Special Events Pavilion. This year, ‘Binoche’ will make its first appearance at Perennial Premiere. I am thinking seriously of adding this to my home garden. It is a seedling of the beautiful and strong ‘Frosted Violet’ which is a villosa hybrid. ‘Brioche’ is a smoky chocolate color with very nice ruffling to the leaves. I have only seen it in pictures but they are tempting enough to make me buy it.

A bit of a trend showing up in perennials is selections that are first-year flowering from seed. Meaning you can plant the seed and get flowers in the same year. Two salvias in this group are ‘New Dimension Blue’ and ‘New Dimension Rose’. To be honest, pink salvias have never gotten me too excited because they are always more lavender-pink. Not my favorite color. But really, I tend to be the minority in that. And ‘New Dimension Pink’ seems to have pretty good pink color.

‘New Dimension Blue’ is a rich blue-violet.

Salvia ‘New Dimension Pink’ (left) and ‘New Dimension Blue’ (right) Courtesy

Salvia ‘New Dimension Pink’ (left) and ‘New Dimension Blue’ (right)

The advantage both of these have is the stems and calyces are darker versions of the flower color making the flower color richer and giving color after the actual flowers fade. Plus both rebloom in fall if cut back after the first bloom. These will probably be under a foot when purchased but in their second year of growth will get to be around 15 inches.

I am a firm believer in using non-hardy plants in the garden. You may know about that as much as you know I love gaudy. They add a great deal to the landscape whether you use tons, like I do at home, or you just add a few for a touch of color. The Greenhouse is carrying two of my favorites, Canna ‘Stuttgart’ and Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’. You may choose to dig these in the fall and save or you may choose to leave them in the ground to more than likely die. Plants like these are not so expensive that you MUST DIG them. You get six months of wonder and delight for your dollars and that is a hell of a good deal. If you feel like digging them — dig them. If you do not feel like digging them — don’t.

Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’

Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’

Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’ is part of the Karma Series, all of which make excellent cut flowers in addition to being beautiful in the garden. I do not understand why they did not call this one Chocolate instead of Choc. It is a rich sultry shade of chocolate-burgundy. I love the color. ‘Karma Choc’ can go with most any color including gray and blue foliaged plants. A handful of these in a bouquet with green zinnias or gladioli would be HOT! Plants grow to around 4’ tall and the long stems do make great cuts. Flowers should come from early summer through fall. Once the plants are hit by frost you can make your decision on digging them.

I once paid $100 for a pot of Canna ‘Stuttgart’. And killed it the first winter. So obviously do not cry to me about how a tender plant costing $XX is too expensive. You’d be too beneath me on this one. Only a year or two later it was available wholesale for $14. ‘Stuttgart’ has a stunning grey-green and white color pattern. The degree of variegation is a bit different on each leaf. Do not plant it in full sun like one usually does with cannas. That white will brown and crisp like bacon in a cast iron skillet. Morning sun is fine. Excellent soil, nice and rich and moist, will allow you to push the sun exposure somewhat. I’ve had this plant happy enough to grow to close to 8’ tall with the bloom even higher. A sport of ‘Omega’, ‘Stuttgart’ has small peachy flowers that are quite lovely. I had it to survive in the ground during one of our recent zone 7/8 winters, but I dug some of it too that year. This one I potted up in some barely moist potting mix. I think its rhizomes tend to dry out over winter and I don’t want to risk losing it. It is a vigorous grower once in the ground. ‘Stuttgart’ remains one of my favorite cannas even though out first experience together wasn’t exactly positive. I wonder how many other people gave Tony Avent a hundred dollars for that plant? You want to see one? Buy one.

Take a look at plant list online but remember, NOT ALL of the plants available at this year’s Perennial Premiere are included. And perhaps most importantly, new stuff will be coming in almost weekly. But you would be a fool to miss that opening weekend. Don’t be a fool. I will point at you and say nasty things about you. Really. I will. Especially when you complain that something you wanted is out of stock.


April Showers

It’s raining. A lot. I am severely tempted to complain. A lot. Then I remember the last three summers when it did NOT rain. A lot. Then I push aside that temptation and think of all that rain as water in the bank to be spent when moisture funds run low. The bareroot perennials in the root cellar can wait another week or two and they will be fine. The spring clean-up of garden beds can wait. The pansies don’t arrive until next week so I don’t have them to addle my brain over the rain. Rather, the rain is a chance to get paperwork wrapped up that soon there will be no time to deal with. Volunteers have returned and time for indoor activities disappears rapidly now.

From my office window I can see green buds swelling on woody plants. Some maple trees are blooming. The male goldfinches are again gold. Spring has arrived and there is no turning back. I realize that does not mean Mother Nature will let us move smoothly on through April and May. She may well have a couple bitch slaps planned for us. But … not a damn thing I can do about that. Enjoy the moment and hope for the best.

Digitalis ‘Polkadot Princess’

Digitalis ‘Polkadot Princess’

Lots of blooming plants appearing now. Well, maybe not lots but a good many. I would show you some pictures but it is raining too hard right now to do that. So I will cover a few more of the new plants we are adding to the gardens this year.

In an earlier post I mentioned a foxglove we are adding this year, but we are actually adding second this year. Another sterile hybrid, Digitalis ‘Polkadot Princess’ (part of the Polkadot series) looks more like a traditional foxglove.

Bred by the folks at Thompson & Morgan it gets 2 to 3 feet tall and blooms from early summer to early fall thanks to its lack of seed production. If it does well I will consider adding ‘Polkadot Polly,’ the peachy colored sister.

This next plant we are taking a bit of a chance with and pushing it to the limit of its hardiness zone. Euphobia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is a zone 6 plant, maybe 5b. And technically we are a zone 6 region. Except when we are not. But what the hey? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Euphobia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’

Euphobia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’. Photo courtesy of

‘Ascot Rainbow’ grows about 20” x 20”, wants full sun, and should have good drainage in winter. It does bloom in late spring but this is one you grow for the foliage. The green and yellow variegation takes on deep pink and burgundy when weather cools down in fall. The new growth always has a touch of this but it intensifies with the cooler temperatures. Interestingly, the showy bracts (structures that surround the real flowers) are variegated as well. ‘Ascot Rainbow’ makes a great container plant also.

Ipomoea lobata (aka Mina lobata or Quamaclit lobata)

Ipomoea lobata (aka Mina lobata or Quamaclit lobata)

One of the finest annual flowering vines will put on its show on the fence outside the Greenhouse sales area. Ipomoea lobata, or Mina lobata, or Quamaclit lobata is gorgeous. I mean GORGEOUS! And the only things more intriguing than the flowers are the common names. Spanish flag. Firecracker vine. And my absolute favorite, Exotic love vine.

Oh hell yeah! That is exotic love and I’m feeling that love all the way to my very soul. Exotic love vine grows to several feet and blooms start appearing in mid-summer. The flowering continues up ‘til frost. Jim grows these from seed. You can too.

The rain has let up but I know the minute I go outside with the camera it will return. Just thinking about it made the thunder start again. Over the next several days I expect plants to simply explode out of the ground. A little sun and a little warmth and everything is going to want to express its joy of surviving the winter. Check you gardens frequently so you don’t miss a thing. And if you are missing anything then you don’t want to miss Perennial Premiere April 26 and 27. We will have just what you’ve been missing.

In the meantime, how high’s the water, Mama?



SPRING! Spring? … spring …

Let’s hope it really is here. And it doesn’t have to be one of those crazy springs that is more like summer. Just a nice “normal” spring. Whatever the hell normal is now. So far, like winter, spring is trending cooler than average (look beyond the 65 of today). But that may make all the spring flowers last longer so long as it does not turn frigid. Which is to say – No More Polar Vortexes! You got that, Mother Nature? I certainly hope we understand one another.

Real signs of early spring are finally upon us. Every blog, tweet, and Facebook posting you come across is talking about the same group of plants. And that’s okay. We are all so hungry for the return of spring each year it is only natural. This year, our appetites for spring are ravenous! Nothing like a diet of barren white snow and subfreezing temperatures to make you drool over a simple meal of bright green and sunny yellow. I strongly suggest you get out there and eat it up.



Gotta get a little dirt on your hands

Well folks, here I am after being gone for a spell. My last posting was back in June and you all may be wondering as to the why, what for, and so on of my absence. Well, it’s complicated and in many ways hard to explain so let’s get started.

For this week I decided to look at some of the plants we are adding in 2014. I could go on and on about the weather and this winter but hell, it’s been done. Maybe later.

I am doing a major renovation of the Tunnel planting. These are the plants on top of the tunnel leading from the parking garage to the main museum building. It has the paperbark maples and useless skylights that you hopefully notice on your above-ground walk to the museum entrance. The maples I mean, not the useless skylights. Paperbark maple (Acer griseum) is my favorite tree so I always notice them.

The perennial layer in this area has some Echinacea Big Sky Sundown™ (‘Evan Saul’) and many many self-sown children and grandchildren of Sundown, a few Geranium Roseanne (‘Gerwat’), several Sedum ‘Black Jack’ and ‘Matrona’, a few Agastache. I will say that the ItSaul Plants bred Sundown has been the toughest “fancy” Echinacea to date for me but the whole area needs a major reboot after a decade or so.

I am putting some Echinacea back in. I’m going with what I have heard described as the reddest one currently on the market – Sombrero™ Salsa Red (‘Balsomsred’). I have seen this and it is a beauty. Here are some photos from Boston in 2012.

Sombrero™ Salsa Red (Balsomsred)

Sombrero™ Salsa Red (Balsomsred)

Salsa Red grows to 24 to 26 inches tall. I so want to say to around 2 feet and be done with it. I mean, I’m all about exactitudes. Don’t get me wrong. But let’s get real. For a design, guess about 2 feet and run with it. I want easy viewing of the fountain for passers-by so this height will work nicely. Plant spread should be about one and a half feet (16 to 22 inches).

This is part of the Sombero™ series from Darwin Plants that includes yellows, orange and coral so if you prefer a different color in your garden there may be one you will like. I am definitely deadheading to prevent seedlings. It is a lovely thought to leave seedheads for the birds but I can assure you the birds do not eat all the seeds and you soon have garden full of plants that look far more like the species Echinaceas than your red or orange or double hybrid (see above). It won’t take long for you to have a garden of mixed plants evolving (or de-volving) farther and farther from your fancy originals each year. I would suggest you have a separate planting for feeding the birds.

Echinacea ‘Marmalade’. Photo courtesy Chris Handon.

Echinacea ‘Marmalade’. Photo courtesy Chris Hansen.

I’m also putting in some Echinacea ‘Marmalade’ cause I can’t stand to go another year without it. Thank you, Plants Nouveau, for this introduction.

The National Gardening Bureau has declared 2014 the Year of the Echinacea. I can get behind that. You can go to their website for a very nice history of Echinacea and dozens of photographs. Definitely check them out.

Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle'

Kniphofia ‘Mango Popsicle’


Every year I seem to become a bigger fan of Kniphofia, the red-hot pokers. Plant breeders have increased the bloom time on these considerably while also making them tougher. Many new cultivars will bloom June to October with the heaviest flower production in the first couple months. I am repeating Patty’s near-by selection, ‘Mango Popsicle’. This Terra Nova introduction is a blooming machine in a gorgeous shade of – what else? – mango. It almost glows. Love this plant. L-O-V-E!

Those were tiny plugs when they went in the ground last Spring. They came as 72s – that means 72 plants in a 9X18 tray. Kniphofias want good drainage and especially so in winter. Full sun gives you the best performance. Deadhead as individual stalks finish. That keeps the nice clumps of spiky foliage looking neater.

Phlox paniculata 'Peppermint Twist'

Phlox paniculata ‘Peppermint Twist’


I’m a big fan of Phlox paniculata for their long period of bloom in summer, usually early July into early September at a minimum. It’s also one of the plants that has performed best in the tough environment of the Mall. I’ve had ‘Peppermint Twist’ at home for a couple years and love the color and the pattern of the blooms so I’m adding it this year.

Phlox paniculata 'Peppermint Twist'

Phlox paniculata ‘Peppermint Twist’


I’ve not noticed any mildew as of yet. With phlox you can never be certain of absolute immunity from this foliar scourge but by selecting resistant plants you greatly reduce the amount that shows up on your plants. Rarely is any cultivar immune 100 percent of the time but just because one has it this year does not mean it will next year. ‘Peppermint Twist’ is around 3 feet tall and I would space small plants about a foot apart, larger ones 18 inches. I have had reversion on mine at home but love the solid color as well.

In the Northeast Border Garden, Gwyn is doing some rehab work and adding new plants. Including Helleborus x hybridus ‘Sunshine Ruffles’, a member of Chris Hansen’s Winter Thrillers™ series. ‘Sunshine Ruffles’ is a double yellow with some red picotee on each “petal.”

Helleborus x hybridus; L-R: Sunshine Ruffles, Red Racer, Grape Galaxy. Photo courtesy Chris Hansen.

Helleborus x hybridus; L-R: Sunshine Ruffles, Red Racer, Grape Galaxy. Photo courtesy Chris Hansen.

We won’t see blooms this year, but next year the show should begin. I really like the pictures of these so if they are that beautiful I may steal them from Gwyn and put them in one of my areas. We already have a couple cultivars from this series we planted last year. Look for ‘Red Racer’ and ‘Grape Galaxy’ in the Southwest Border Garden as they should bloom nicely this year.

Helleborus x ballardiae HGC® Pink Frost

Helleborus x ballardiae HGC® Pink Frost

Katie is adding to our Helleborus Gold Collection® with some more Helleborus x ballardiae ‘HGC® Pink Frost’ (my favorite).

The “HGC® Pink Frost’ and ‘HGC® Cinnamon Snow’ plants have the heaviest flower production of all the hellebores on the property. They also have some of the best foliage with some silver gray and burgundy on the early leaves. Future years will hopefully see more cultivars from this collection in the gardens. Remember, hellebores are deer proof AND shade loving. You can’t say both those things about hostas.

Scent First® Pot Coral Reef

Scent First® Pot Coral Reef


The Cutting Garden has slowly lost perennials so I am adding some new plants. There is a ton of Dianthus hitting the market right now. I decided to try one of the new ones from Whetman Pinks in the UK and introduced to the US market by PlantHaven. The cultivar I chose is ‘WPO7OLDRICE’. You may better remember the cultivar name of Scent First® Pot Coral Reef and for our purposes here I will shorten it to Coral Reef.

As the full name implies, these were bred for scent. Coral Reef has 1 to  1.5-inch double coral flowers with a white piccotee edge on each petal and a spicy fragrance. Repeat bloom and glaucous blue-green foliage helped to get Coral Reef a spot in the garden. Heaviest bloom will be in spring and deadheading will help in insuring that reblooming habit. It was also bred for pot or container use so it is a very compact 9x 9-inch plant with flowering stems rising to about 12 inches. The resulting cut stems will be best used in small arrangements or tucked amongst larger cuts I suppose.

Digitalis Goldcrest (‘WALDIGONE’)

Digitalis Goldcrest (‘WALDIGONE’)

More foxgloves are being introduced that are true perennials. The foxglove one traditionally finds is the biennial Digitalis purpurea. For a long time it seemed all one could find in perennial foxgloves were strawberry foxglove (Digitalis x mertonensis, a hybrid of D. grandiflora and D. purpurea) and the yellow flowered foxgloves (Digitalis lutea & D. grandiflora). Fine plants, but one desires something fresh for the garden. Jim is introducing Digitalis Goldcrest (‘WALDIGONE’) to the Southwest Border Garden.

This 18 inch hybrid (D. grandiflora x D. obscura) is sterile so it sends all that energy normally reserved for seed production into flower production from early summer into fall. That is considerably longer than the bloom period on traditional foxgloves to say the least. It is another PlantHaven introduction.

We all want perennials with long bloom time so when cultivars are developed or found that extend the color show we are quick to add them to the garden. If that plant also earns a 4.5 star rating from the Chicago Botanical Garden’s Plant Evaluation Program then you definitely want it! Such is the case with Veronica spicata ‘Ulster Blue Dwarf’ which Chad is putting in the Garden for Everyone this year.

Deadheading will keep this purple-blue speedwell blooming from mid-June to mid-September. Now, they won’t have flowers every day as the new buds need time to develop. So don’t get yourself all worked up if there is a week or two with no flowers. ‘Ulster Blue Dwarf’ is only about a foot tall when in flower (dwarf!) with a spread just a little wider. Blue is an oft sought color in the garden so a perennial with its extended bloom is most welcome. The low stature of ‘Ulster Blue Dwarf’ sort of relegates it to the front of the border but that purple-blue color can go with almost every other flowering plant you may have near it be they red, orange, yellow, pink, red, or other shades of blue/purple. That sort of versatility is great to work with.

Royal Candles (‘Glory’)

Royal Candles (‘Glory’); Photo courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

I could not secure a decent photo of ‘Ulster Blue Dwarf,’ but another Veronica spicata we are adding is Royal Candles (‘Glory’).

Royal Candles is larger at 18 inches tall. I suspect colors of the two are very similar since Royal Candles is called dark purple while ‘Ulster Blue Dwarf’ is purple blue. We planted some ‘Ulster Blue Dwarf’ last year at Westerley but I cannot for the life of me picture the bloom.

I almost forgot. Royal candles earned a very solid four-star rating in the CBG trials.

I’ve touched on but a few of the new plants going into the IMA Gardens in 2014, and only perennials at that. There will be new annuals, grasses, trees, and shrubs as well, comingling with our already tried and true selections.

Okay, I am way over the suggested 300 to 700 words. No wonder it takes so much time for me to write these things. Time to quit on this and get outside. It’s sunny and headed for the 50s today. Gotta get a little dirt on my hands.


About irvin

Job Title: Horticultural Display Coordinator

Interests: Cooking (love to bake and the waistline shows it), gardening (it seems to be a passion not just my job), helping my neighborhood stay on the upswing (while avoiding getting uppity)

Favorite Movies: Really enjoy classics from the 40's - 60's, in general dramas, comedies, romance, not big on action or horror

Favorite Music: Very eclectic, Broadway to Bluegrass, Klezmer to Country, plus anything Dance. But I only crawl across broken glass for Dolly Parton.

Favorite Food: Butter, bacon, and sugar (especially brown sugar)

Pets: An assortment of chickens and rabbits

Something you should know about me: I'm like Meg in the fact that it’s hard for me to have just one favorite in a category. That and the fact I'm really just a simple farmboy that likes shiny sparkly things.

Irvin has written 133 articles for us.