Ernest and Joy Martin (c.1950)
Ernest Martin (c.1950)
Logee's 110-year-old Lemon Tree
Logee’s Greenhouses was started by William D. Logee in 1892 in Danielson, Connecticut. He started as a cut flower business and soon became interested in tropical and unusual plants. In 1900, he bought a small Ponderosa Lemon tree from a grower in Philadelphia. It was known as the “American Wonder Lemon” due to the size of the fruit, which could get as large as 5 pounds. The tree was a must for the Logee collection. It was shipped via train, then picked up by horse and buggy and directly planted into the ground in the original greenhouse. The same tree in the same greenhouse (appropriately called the Lemon Tree House) still stands today, and is reliably producing 5-pound lemons every year. Hundreds of thousands of propagations have been harvested from this original tree.
William’s eldest son, Ernest Logee, became interested in horticulture and turned his attention to growing tropical plants in containers, making these plants accessible to any one living anywhere. His interests centered around the unusual form of Begonias. He hybridized begonias for Logee’s and was one of the original founders of the American Begonia Society, creating the Buxton Branch in Massachusetts. He was drawn to Semperflorens as well as Rex begonias. He hybridized his own begonia and named them the Mother Goose Series. Examples of his hybridized begonias are Lucy Locket, Pied Piper, Goldie Locks, Mother Goose and Pistachio. Periodically, we bring his Begonias back into production. Under the direction of Ernest Logee, Logee’s at one time grew over 400 varieties of begonias. Ernest Logee died as a young man when he fell from a tree he was pruning. When his younger sister, Joy Logee went to his funeral, she met her future husband Ernest Martin who was also a horticulturist and member of the Begonia Society.
After William Logee’s passing in 1952, Joy Logee Martin and Ernest Martin became Logee’s Greenhouses second-generation owners. Joy turned her attention to scented geraniums and herbs and also kept her brother’s legacy of Begonias alive and well. They continued to grow Angel-wing, or Fibrous begonias, Tuberous begonias, Rex begonias and Rhizomatous begonias. Logee’s in the mid- 1900’s became well-known as a supplier of begonias, scented geraniums, gesneriads, herbs, tropicals and house plants of the unusual and other unusual tropical plants.
The first catalog was started in the 1930’s and Joy’s beloved collection of herbs, geraniums and begonias was so extensive that lists were created, hence the beginning of very crude catalogs.
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