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Our Founder (left) and Friend at Kunming Botanic Gardens.
Jackson Muldoon, 1947 - 2010
Jack Muldoon, founder of Pacific Propagators and Trans-Pacific Nursery,
died suddenly on September 8, 2010,
Though an animal husbandry major in college in southern California, Jackson Muldoon also picked up a number of horticultural skills. As it turned out, the crucial one was grafting. After graduating, he put together a grafting crew, and was able to convince some orchardists that grafting was a cheaper and faster way to switch to new varieties of fruit, better enabling them to respond to market demands. Jack was able to make a decent living in this way for part of the year, but there was a problem. Grafting could only be done in the spring and summer. During the remainder of the year, he was out of work.
In this situation, most people would look for an off-season job, but Jack wasn't like most people. He reasoned that, if he could only graft here for half the year, then he obvioulsly had to spend half the year in the southern hemisphere.
So off he went to Australia and New Zealand, where there are sophisitcated agricultural systems and plenty of work for grafting crews. While working in nurseries and seeing the country, he was taken by the unique flora of these areas. As a born collector, he couldn't resist. He brought back what he could, and found seed sources for what he couldn't. Back home, he built a greenhouse for his collection, and started adding to it. Before long, it was out of control, and Trans-Pacific Nursery was born. Its first Collectors' List was published in 1985.
Once started on the unusual plant route, there was no turning back. People saw his collection and started bringing or sending him their strange plants. Yearly grafting trips to Florida brought in a number of tropicals. Pretty soon, new greenhouses were needed.
In 1996, Jack traveled to the Kunming Institute of Botany in Kunming, Yunnan Province, southwest China. After that, he returned every year, exploring regions not open to westerners for many years, and in some cases never before explored. The region is a botanical treasurehouse, with a great variety of climates and habitats, from lowland tropics to Tibetan alpine. The nursery's collection focused on this region for several years.
Jack's death coincided with a significant downturn in business throughout the industry. As his longtime right-hand-man, I'm at retirement age myself, and in any case could never replace Jack's passion, energy, wide-ranging knowledge, or ability to develop international contacts. I'll continue to grow and sell some of the plants Jack collected and Japanese maples he grafted, but leave the exploration and development of unique plant collections to those more qualified and energetic. You can still find rare and unusual plants and maple varieties to purchase, with the help of our custom search engines, World Plant Search and Maple Cultivar Finder.