affair with hostas began in the early 2000's, and he became hooked like no
one else. Not one to just putter, he soon opened a hosta nursery with his
beloved wife Penny in 2006, and what a nursery it's become. While Jeff's a
pretty big guy himself, it was his love of really big hostas that led him
to name it Land of the Giants. In the fertile soils of Wisconsin hostas
grew spectacularly, and in a few short years the nursery covered the
entire back of his 4-acre property. Today Jeff estimates it contains some
440,000 hostas, with 6,500 in pots and the rest in the ground. Sadly over
the last few years, Penny's struggle with Huntingdon's Disease has left
her unable to work with Jeff in the nursery.
Almost as soon as he had the nursery going, Jeff began a hybridizing program focused on giant hostas. His favorite saying is "Go Big or Go Home" and he applied that as much to his hybridizing as he did with his nursery business. Some years he grew over a million seedlings to have a truly giant-sized sample to select from. Ironically, the first plants he introduced under the Giantland name were two minis - Giantland Mouse Cheese and Giantland Sunny Mouse Ears. It wasn't long before some true Giantland giants followed.
In the last few years he has become the principal customer with Mark Zilis' new tissue culture business A to Z Perennials, and has over 100 hostas in production there. Many of these are his own Giantland introductions, and others are exclusive new plants from top hybridizers. These will start to become available with a few this year and many will be released in 2018.
His boundless enthusiasm inspires all who meet him, and he never loses his love and fascination for all aspects of the Genus Hosta. He is also possessed of the kind of insatiable curiosity that leads to discoveries great and small. "There is so much to learn, I don't think I'll live long enough to ever fully understand hostas", he said. His new enterprise with Mark Zilis' is an example. In just two years he has gone from knowing very little about raising hostas from TC Stage 3 to amazing the highly experienced Mark by growing them better than anyone had seen.
No bio about Jeff Miller would be complete without mention of his outstanding generosity. He has supplied many organizations with donated plants, and has been equally generous with others. He believes in a life of "what comes around goes around" and in the concept of Pay It Forward. His heart is as big as his nursery.