Radovan Hajek / Co-owner and founder of US Perennials
I was born in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) in the late 70’s, in the warmest, driest south eastern corner of the state (Moravia), with loam black soils and rich agricultural history. I virtually grew up outdoors, with a large edible garden which nearly sustained our household. I didn’t realize how amazing it was to feed on berries, cherries, apricots, plums, apples, fresh veggies and many more varieties from spring till fall.
I learned what I was missing when I left for my studies of Landscape Architecture (Mendel University in Brno), where I earned a Master’s Degree in 2002. The program of study was excellent, combining art with wide scientific disciplines like pedology, geobiology, ecology, dendrology, urbanism, landscape design and many more This education shaped my life’s point of view, and I am very thankful for that. Still I wasn’t sure if the landscape architecture was the profession of my life. It was several semesters of “flora studies” taught by a professor, Tatiana Kutkova, who was rather pedant, but introduced students deeply in details to all possible flora that we could grow in continental Czech climate - from annuals, bulbs and perennials in it’s wide range of meaning (grasses, ferns, ephemerals). Flowers opened my eyes, reminding me of early memories of my grandma and her non-stop flowering garden…I was hooked. I finally knew, what I wanted to do.
Art and photography were my passions as well; however, the internship in Devon (south east Britain) at a small seed company called Secretseeds was another breaking point. Being exposed to enchanting British flower gardens, with rich history and many new species and cultivars led to opening a perennial nursery named Florianus in the south west of the Czech Republic. Those were great years of learning, volunteering at the Natural Garden Society, cooperation with Association of Czech Perennial Growers, a hectic social life, participating in local amateur theater group, and many overwhelming chores that later lead to overworking and burn-out.
Radical change was inevitable, which meant moving to a different continent, culture and climate… so here I am in Indiana.
Lela Minor / Assistant Floriculture Manager
I was born in Greene Co. and raised in Bloomington, Indiana. I have always had a massive interest in traditional medicinal uses of plants, as well as outdoor survival, so I’ve been curious about edible plants for some time as well. Although my mother always had several lovely beds of flowering perennials, I never really took an interest in those kinds of plants when I was young.
I graduated from IU in 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. As I faced the strange new world we now find ourselves in, with no idea what I really wanted to do as a career, I happened to be put in touch with Rad and John. A few weeks later I found myself working at one of the most beautiful places on Earth, with some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
I mainly help out with shipping, potting on, and customer service, and am slowly learning plant names and gathering general knowledge about perennials. I am thrilled to be a part of US Perennials, LLC and cannot wait to see how the business grows in the next few years!
John Armstrong / Co-owner
I have been a life-long Indiana resident born and raised on a small family farm in Yorktown, IN. I began my career as a social worker and for the last 25 years I have been employed in the field of human resources. I have an MBA in Human Resource Management and provide administrative support to US Perennials.
While I mainly support Rad, I do help some in the nursery (I don’t know all of the plant names), so he lets me “pot-on” and complete shipping responsibilities. The nursery business is so much more difficult than I thought, but I love knowing that we are providing the wonderful plants at great prices. This is honestly a labor of love. We hope that you enjoy our little space here on the internet, but we also hope that you love our plants as much as we do.
The nursery was established and opened on May 8, 2020, as a small mail order only company. We offer local pick-up from the nursery, but we are not setup for local retail sales. Due to phytosanitary restrictions, at this time we ship only to the states east of the Mississippi river and the states bordering with the river.
The nursery is located on the south east edge of Bloomington, Indiana, with an elevation of 558 ft above sea level, in zone 6a. Our summers are hot and humid, with irregularities of climate changes, with tendencies to summer droughts and milder, wet winters.
Our focus is on perennials – primarily native wildflowers and their cultivars, but also on other introduced, non-invasive perennials (good garden performers, ground covers, long-flowering or pollinator friendly plants). We want to help build the bridge between ecology and horticulture, by providing a wide range of native species for all of the garden habitats (dry, hot, shade, wet, clay or shallow sites of your garden). We try to offer and introduce good garden plants and good performers – plants that thrive in mid-western conditions – we use data from trials of Mt. Cuba Research Center and Botanic Gardens (DE) and Chicago Botanic Garden (IL), in our own observations and trials.
We are concerned with how plants are used in the landscape in order to be the most beneficial to nature, while understanding the ecological value plants provide by using non-invasive species. We are interested in the proper use of plants in gardens along with the right plant combinations and the interaction of the plant communities.
We don’t use chemicals, or neonicotinoids. Our plants are “field grown” which means outside on the grow pad exposed to the environment and yes, even pests. We trial many of our plants in flower beds or in our “mother stock” flower beds. The soil is heavy, silty clay with occasional limestone outcrops.
Our desire is to provide plants for reasonable prices, learn as much as we can to be better stewards of the land, and share what we learn through education.
Thank you for growing with us!