Sunday, June 9, 2013

A talented man has died.

Sinningia 'Arkansas Empress' - Hybrid by Dr Jon T. Lindstom

A talented man has died.

      Can you have a friend that you have never met?

      Dr Jon T. Lindstrom, Associate Professor of Horticulture, University of Arkansas, has died from the deadly cancer, melanoma.   He was in the prime of his life and this is very sad news.

      I had a professional relationship with Jon.  We conducted business by e-mail and never had the chance to meet in person.

      It started when I became aware of the new Sinningia hybrids that Jon was releasing from his Sinningia breeding program at the University of Arkansas.  Mary Schaeffer and I were trying to collect new Gesneriads for the sales room at the 2011 national convention of the Gesneriad Society in Philadelphia. 

       Through that exchange I learned that he had a tissue culture lab that he was using to propagate some of his Sinningias.  Jon agreed to propagate several Sinningias selected by me for possible commercial sales.

      Jon was very accommodating and through trial and error we produced thousands of plants that were previously not available in commercial numbers.  The biggest successes were S. ‘Prudence Risley’ and S. ‘Li’l Georgie’.

      I constantly studied his Sinningia work through his pictures on Flickr and looked for potential commercial plants.  Jon was systematically crossing Sinningia species and selecting what interested him.  Occasionally, I thought that I would call him, but then decide that it might break the spell of the perfect arrangement.

      When he told me that he was sick --- our last e-mails, it was the end of our great business friendship.  He was incapacitated by his treatment and could not continue his work. 

      In the Gesneriad hobby world, his legacy will be the several Sinningia hybrids that were released through the University of Arkansas.

      Business-wise, we proved that S. ‘Li’l Georgie’ can be produced by tissue culture and will become a commercial plant for Miniature Gardens.

      It is very sad that he is gone.

Sinnigia 'Li'l Georgie' grown by Jon Lindstrom


  1. Gary, I did my BS in Horticulture where Dr Lindstrom worked. I don't remember having classes with him, but I do remember him.
    I picked up a plant of 'Arkansas Bells' this spring (and it's cheerfully taking over my garden), do you know sources (if not you) of his other crosses you mentioned? I didn't even know he was into Gesneriads...maybe he wasn't back then.

  2. oh no! I stumbled on Dr. Lindstrom's work when looking into Polianthes x Manfreda crosses. Very sad.