society logo



home
about
speaker programs
events
newsletter
plant notes
articles
archive
links
join

 

 

 

 
50TH ANNIVERSARY 2013

 

 
Barrie and Carol Coate's garden 2013. Photograph by Patricia Knight
   
 

Thanks for the memory...................
Of useful advice, of talks that inspire.
Of tangled Latin and friendly laughter
The gardening bond, the plants we lust after.

Thanks for the memory......................
Of Holiday parties, with music and wine
Of plant sales with exotic new treasures
Gifts to our senses, Western Hort pleasures

pdk

 

MEMBERS MEMORIES
 
Western Hort Memories” was compiled by Nancy Schramm— many thanks to Nancy for interviewing and collecting memories of Western Hort members.
 
Nancy said "In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Western Hort, I thought it would be fun to ask a few members to share some memories, and to tell us why they joined WHS in the first place.

Questions:

1—How did you hear about and join Western Hort?
2—Favorite meetings or memories?
3— Have you made special friends because of WHS?
 
 
Mary Kaye, landscape designer, former board member and Founders’ Award recipient joined when WHS was still meeting at the Ampex cafeteria in Redwood City. “... I am fairly certain that it was when I was still an OH student at Foothill in the 70’s. My favorite memory is probably when we were writing the Perennials book. We had several meetings, of course, but I particularly remember a meeting at my house with Bart O’Brien, Betsy Clebsch, Keith Bickford, Elizabeth Garbett, and more, as we pored over each plant description that was submitted. We ordered pizza! It was such fun.”
 
Bob and Diana Plummer, avid gardeners and former board members (they served together!) learned about Western Hort when they took Palo Alto Adult Education classes from Allan Reid, one of the WHS founders. They joined in 1978, and they have fond memories of the early days, when going to a meeting in Redwood City meant they were able to rub shoulders with living legends of the plant world: Gerda Isenberg, Emily Brown, Ed Carman, Albert Wilson and the Duvenecks, all eminently approachable.
 
Jean Struthers, native plant lover and manager of the CNPS nursery told me that Mary Kaye took her to her first WHS meeting at the Ampex Cafeteria. She has enjoyed many of our wonderful speakers, most recently Renee Shepherd and Kathe Navarez; she likes the more technical talks best. But Jean’s favorite memories are of the bonhomie of the December potlucks.
 
John Hammerschmidt, general contractor, former board member and long-time raffle-number-announcer met Don Brandeau in the mid 1980’s. “Don was like a salesman for Western Hort, he could be obsessed.” John told me that his favorite memory “...was a speaker we had on David Austin roses at Loyola. I can’t remember the speaker but it changed my whole view on roses. My mom had a HUGE rose garden that I would take care of growing up so it burned me out on [Hybrid teas]. That speaker got me to try roses again.”
 
Carol Moholt, passionate gardener, former WHS & PH board member attended her first WHS meeting as guest of Susi Meador in 1989-90. “My favorite memory was working on the Vines book and getting to know so many superb plants people who were members of WHS. I was so happy to have something to contribute with my computing and layout skills.” And Carol continues to serve—she is the current Pacific Hort Executive Director.
 
Rhonda Kutche, a mom who makes time to garden and has a garden consulting/mentoring business called Kiss in the Garden, said “I think I first heard about WHS when I was at Foothill College in the OH Dept., and Dan Svenson mentioned it and a few of us came for a visit. That was about seventeen years ago, and I was hooked! I'd have to say the raffle has been my favorite part of WHS. I've loved all of the speakers ... But I love the homey-ness of the raffle and that plants have been donated by members for other members. And that it all supports the program.”
 
Sherry Hall, owner of Terra Sole Nursery, former board member and current membership committee, “First heard about WHS at the SF flower show in maybe 1994. I kept meaning to join but it took you asking me before I actually did it.” And her favorite meeting? “Well, of course, the one when Ryan” (Sherry’s son) “spoke about new plants and had lots of pretty visuals. Renee Shepherd was educational. The Q & A with Dick and Barrie (and would like more Q & A meetings about plants specifically)."
 
Jon Craig, owner of Alluvial Terrace Nursery and former board member first heard about WHS from Pat Knight “... as a neighbor and friend ... she found out I had a nursery and kept bugging me to join. My favorite memory ... so far, was having Betsy Clebsch and a WHS gang visit my nursery and watching the look on Betsy's face as I described Disanthus cercidifolius as ‘a Cercis-like Dianthus.’ The entire gang scurried around trying to figure out this new plant I had ... a Redbud Dianthus. Once Betsy figured out the mystery, she was quite easy on me ... the rookie nurseryman ... she said with her sweet southern drawl and an empathetic smile, ‘Now Jon, now that's a different plant’ ... we all had a great laugh!”
 
Dick Dunmire: For the few who might not know, Dick is former editor of the Sunset Western Garden Book as well as the garden section of Sunset magazine. Dick, one of our founders, has been a part of Western Hort from the beginning. He was the first to receive our annual Founders’ Award. With such a history of association with WHS he found it difficult to single out individual favorite memories. He did agree with me that in general, the quality of the WHS speakers is so high, it seriously increases the difficulty. Dick probably enjoys the plant oriented talks the best, ones that focus on a single genera or class or group of plants. In recent memory he really enjoyed the bulb talk given by Dylan Hannon. And he said that for sheer fireworks, nothing can surpass the slide show assembled by Ted Kipping to accompany The Sherry Austin Band who entertained us at a Holiday Party a few years ago.
 
Elizabeth Garbett: Elizabeth has been a dedicated volunteer for WHS for many years. She was the first to organize our December potlucks, volunteered as a board member, wrote our plant notes for years, and was a force behind the beginnings of our annual plant sale. She is also a Founders’ Award recipient. Elizabeth writes: "I think I joined WHS in 1980 when Budge retired and we moved back from eight years in Houston ... Marilou Vivanco, a longtime member of WHS, took me to my first meeting and I was blown away. That was when I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. There was so much to learn. Helping Emily Brown with the Plant Notes and doing them myself taught me a lot. Visiting gardens and nurseries was so exciting, especially nurseries like Ed Carman’s that were full of plants I’d never seen before. I’ve always gardened but this was a whole order of magnitude beyond my experience. So you see, WHS has been a great and wonderful part of my life and it gives me much satisfaction to see it prospering and giving others the pleasure it has given me."
 
Glenda Jones: Glenda served on the WHS board for six years, 2001-2006, and was our newsletter editor forfive years—a real gift of time and love. Glenda writes: "About the newsletter. I had told Jean Fowkes who had put out a typed announcement sheet for several years, that if she ever wanted to give it up I would be happy to take it over. When she got too sick to carry on, I was asked to step in. I couldn’t do the first one, because my daughter had just died, and I was dealing with all that that entailed. My first issue was December 2001, a quickly put together single page issue and introduced page design and graphics for the first time. As a former graphic artist I enjoyed doing this because it helped me keep my graphic skills up to date with the new technology. As time went on the look changed and the size expanded. After the first issue it became a two-page issue printed on white paper, which was folded and inserted into an envelope. In September 2003 it changed to a four-page, single- fold issue printed on a bright chartreuse/yellow paper with the last page taken up by the map and address space. At the same time I started using the speaker's topic as a graphic theme. So if it was about Bulbs, I spread images of bulbs throughout the issue. Some of the topics were challenging to illustrate that way, but I liked that challenge. The topic “New Directions at S.F.’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens” was challenging, but in addition to a photograph of the Conservatory I found drawings of other glass houses from times past. Sometimes I used my own photographs to illustrate, and a couple of times I did the drawings. My last issue was January 2006: Garden and Climate—History and Future of Energy Conserving Microclimates. That was challenging to illustrate. That also was when I announced that Michelle Hunziker would take over the editor slot. A favorite memory: being on the Board with Leslie Dean as President. She was such a pleasure to work with, always organized and on top of things. I liked my connections with everyone who was on the Board, but Leslie was a stand-out. By the way, Kathleen Craig and I joined the Board at the same time. And our routine with the newsletter was for me to deliver the finished copy to her. She took it to be printed and then took it to whoever had the envelope-stuffing party. That was done by Elizabeth Garbett for a long time. Sometimes I participated in the stuffing party and sometimes not.
Here is a funny story about what happened to the September 2004 issue. I delivered the final copy to Kathleen, and then left on a two-week vacation. There was a last minute change of location for the meeting, and I wasn't around to make the change. Somehow, Kathleen had set the folder with the copy on top of her car, and it blew off into the San Francisquito creek bed next to her house. Roger raced down to recover it, which he did without too much damage, but they couldn't make the changes without redoing the entire front page, so instead they hand-wrote the change of address, covering up the graphic I had used with a change announcement. Oh, well. We do what we have to do."
 
Kerry Barrs: Kerry has been a WHS board member (he ended up serving more than six years, since his first few years were counted as fulfilling another board member's unfinished term!), speakers’ committee member, and long-time assistant and then leader of the plant discussion. Kerry writes: "Probably Glenda Jones, whom I worked with for many years on many jobs, asked me to meetings and to join the board first. Glenda and her partner Dick Clark were also active
with Common Ground as was I very early on in my garden beginnings mid-peninsula in the late 80’s. I am sure I told Glenda more than once that I was not interested in getting involved at Strybing and Western Hort at the same time. Yet when my new mentor Bill Kurtz called in December 2006 and said I was needed, I just said yes, go figure.
My favorite speaker is one from Strybing. Golden Gate Park is a WORLD recognized tourist destination. The ‘east end’ of Golden Gate Park is where all the brain power and educational venues are; The Conservatory, Botanical Garden, de Young Museum, Academy of Sciences, and the Japanese Tea Garden. Hopefully people will then have a reason to visit the Botanical Garden and see the great job they do to educate people, get involved in your own area teaching garden, volunteer if you can, or become a member if you can’t do anything else. Take advantage of every chance to remind or make people aware of the teaching aspect of their own garden—pointing out what works and what doesn't is a teaching moment. Western Hort is my place to learn and to share with others what I have learned. The speakers give me knowledge, the plant discussion shows a persons passion for a particular plant, my fellow members give me confidence to ‘garden on’, and volunteering is giving back for all the kindness others have showed me over the years."
 
Milovan Milutin: I'm not sure when Milovan joined WHS (I've written him into my 2010 roster) but I've known him a number of years as a dedicated member of the California Rare Fruit Growers. His love for plants continues to grow, and he's looking for a job in horticulture, hopefully in the New Year. (Let him know if you've got any leads!) Milovan writes: " I probably first heard about WHS through the Pacific Horticulture magazine. I knew that it was comprised of professionals, garden designers, landscaper architects and horticulturists. So I was always hesitant about attending. Meanwhile I had joined The Mediterranean Garden Society, where I reconnected with Richard and Bracey Tiede. Bracey reassured me that I would fit in with the group, so I joined and am so glad I did. One of my favorite experiences was working the booth at the San Francisco Flower and Garden show over the several past years. It was fun talking with the public over the new Hot Plant Picks."
 
Marianne Mueller: Marianne is our current newsletter editor, and we all thank her for stepping in and taking on the job when Michelle Bosch retired so she could have more time with her new baby. Marianne writes: " During my Initial Training to be a volunteer with the Master Gardener Program in 2007, veteran MGs encouraged me strongly to come to Western Hort meetings. “You'll love them, you'll learn so much, and a great bunch of people!” The first few meetings (at the place before the current location, Christ Episcopal) terrified me. I was blown over by the knowledge exhibited by people talking about beloved plants during “Show and Tell.” First-timer luck visited me for the first few meetings, as I won almost every plant I bid on, during the days of the Raffle Table, aka today's Plant Table. I'm sorry to say most of those plants have passed away. However, cuttings from Barrie Coate’s home and other Western Hort members' gardens are thriving! Over time I may have picked up a trick or two from MGs and Western Hort on keeping plants alive. I still don't speak Latin and continue to be awed by Western Hort members' knowledge. One of my favorite talks was Mallorcan Masonry."
 
Betsy Clebsch: Betsy needs no introduction, but for those reading these newsletters in 2044 (in thirty years!] I will say that Betsy is one of our Founders'Award recipients, author of two books about Salvias, and is one of the people who make WHS membership so much fun. I've discovered a theme when talking with long-time WHS members, they have so many great memories about Western Hort that it is difficult to single out individual memories that stand out. Betsy told me that Gerda Isenberg took Betsy to her first WHS meeting, sometime between 1967 and 1969. Gerda must have been a good ringleader, because she invited a whole group of friends, first to dinner and then to the WHS meeting. As Betsy recalls, every single one of the group joined Western Hort that very night! Betsy has very fond memories of the early years of WHS field trips. She said they were "extremely well thought out and conducted." One of the more unusual destinations was the Yehudi Menuhin estate in the hills above Lexington Dam, where Barrie Coate’s parents were caretakers
 

Bracey and Richard Tiede: These two people are on my short list of "favorite husband-and-wife teams", always cheerful, and always ready to lend a hand. Richard is our WHS president, and Bracey is on the PacHort board of directors. Bracey graciously emailed some WHS memories to me: "I first heard about the Western Hort meetings either from Elaine Levine or Nancy Garrison, both master gardeners. This was in 1999 or 2000. Richard came along with me to the meetings as we both are interested in plants and more. We have heard so many wonderful speakers that it's hard to pick one. Luen Miller, Matt Ritter, Don Mahoney, Martin Grantham, Ernesto Sandoval(!]. The holiday pot lucks are great. Some field trips/picnics stand out - those French gardens off Summit Road, the Coate's lovely gardens and forest, a Villa Montalvo tour.
Richard adds: "Every board meeting is special now after the 4th year of leading and 5th year of attending them. The January 2014 board meetingwas really nice because the directors stepped up to take on tasks without too much effort on my part."
(Nancy: Are there any special friendships that have come about because of WHS?]
Bracey and Richard: "Just too many to list here. Seems the horticulture world is interconnected in so many ways with meeting people at WHS, but then at the SF Flower and Garden show, Pacific Horticulture events, CNPS, Mediterranean Garden Society, SF Botanic, UC Berkeley Botanic, UC Davis, Ruth Bancroft, California Garden and Landscape History Society and more. Friendly faces everywhere! The late Susan Bouchez became a very close friend (along with Jean-Pierre] because of many of these connections. Leslie Dean and I met in my book club before I even joined WHS! Ted Kipping is everywhere with a smile. Barrie and Carol Coate, way back from Saratoga Hort and then WHS. And the lovely Betsy Clebsch, what can we say?"

 
Leslie Dean: Leslie is our most recent Founders' Award recipient, a landscape architect, and recently retired from the PacHort board of directors. Another plant lover who actively volunteers when and wherever needed. Leslie writes, "I was introduced to WH by Daphne Dorney. I met her through a hiking group and we became good friends due to our similar interests in gardening and the outdoors. I met Daphne in the spring of 1994 and I joined WH that same year. She took me to my first meeting which was at Loyola School on Berry Ave. in Los Altos.
Leslie continues: "One of my favorite memories. That is a tough one. There are so many. I guess I can say I look back with great fondness to the times when I was in charge of the garden vignette at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. Over the seven years that I headed up that project, so many people would volunteer their time to work on the installation and break down of the vignette. I really enjoyed working with everyone. Installing the display at the show was great fun. A bit crazy at times but it always worked out perfectly. I remember the one year at the Cow Palace after we had finished our display, we all walked over to the main floor where the big garden displays were and watched with amazement the chaos of equipment and people everywhere rushing to get their gardens built. There were tractors, and large boulders and piles of mulch and big boxed trees everywhere. There were carpenters, masons, and every other skilled craftsperson there. There was such a liveliness about the whole place. It was exciting! We all wondered how they would ever finish, but come opening day, there would be these beautiful creative gardens for everyone to marvel over. Those were fun times.
"Oh my, special friendships that came as a result of being a member of Western Hort... Where do I begin???? Well, outside of Daphne who was very dear to me, you and Diane of course, Sherry and John, Mary Kaye, Abby Garner, Betsy Clebsch, Liz Calhoon, John Hammerschmidt, Mark McCabe, Bill Kurtz, Elizabeth Garbett, Chris Egan, Claudia Stopp, Glenda Jones, Susan and Jean Pierre Bouchez, Lorena Gorsche, Judy Wong, The Tiedes, Cheryl Renshaw, Barbara Worl, and many more."
 

Pat Knight: This is the woman who keeps the twenty-first century face of Western Hort up-to-date, while at the same time
knows volumes about antiques. She presented a fascinating program for WHS about botanical art on porcelain in the 18th century. Pat wrote: "I first learnt about Western Hort from Frank Duveneck while we were admiring the camellias at his Hidden Valley ranch near Los Altos Hills. At that time WHS was meeting in Redwood City and it was difficult for me to attend. When I heard that they had moved the meetings to Los Altos I joined about 1985 and attended regularly. I usually ducked out after the talk as I was awed by the professional gardeners and frankly scared by their easy use of Latin names !
Later Janice Gilmore asked me to join the Board as a member of the Speakers' Committee and this provided me with the perfect opening to get to know people. I jumped at the opportunity. I found it exciting to help plan a year of good programs and the people were such fun to work with. The meetings always involved lots of laughter and we bonded as a group.
At the same time in 2006 I took over the WHS website which had been set up in 2005 and expanded it with photos and more
material. When Daxin Liu set up the WHS Facebook page I became one of the administrators and enthusiastically added photos to draw in and involve the members.
I have two favorite meetings. The first one was the program by Marcia Donahue on her garden of whimsical sculpture and plants when I discovered gardening could be a fun artwork. My second favorite meeting was the panel discussion in 2013 between those good buddies and comedians, Dick Dunmire and Barrie Coate.
My favorite event was the Holiday Potluck in 2010. We had toe-tapping music from the Sherry Austin Band that accompanied a firework explosion of slides from Ted Kipping. This was a feast for all the senses. I will never forget it."

 
Sherry Austin is one of our long-time members, former board member, and was kind enough to bring her band with her for our wonderful, musical December potluck a couple years ago: "When I had my first little house in Menlo Park, I used to be a regular customer at Redwood City Nursery, long before I even worked there. I became friends with Mark Brown and he asked if I wanted to go to these meetings where they talked about plants and had a plant raffle. That meeting I walked away with a beautiful Yoshino Cherry tree from the raffle table, along with some other gems. What beginners luck! Mark was kind enough to tell me about everybody. "That's Betsy Clebsch- she grows Salvias. Over there is Emily Brown. She's active at Filoli and has a garden in Woodside. Ed Carman is the one holding up the plants for discussion. He's got a rare plant nursery in Los Gatos. Oh, and that's Dick Dunmire-the editor of the Western Garden book." I felt like I Cinderella being invited to the horticultural ball. This was probably around '77 or '78 when the meetings were still at Ampex.
It's funny to think that one of the meetings, out of so many good ones, that really stood out for me was a talk that Barrie Coate gave on freeway planting. I thought, "Oh Hell... that's going to be boring!.. At least there's the raffle table and plant discussion". I don't think I had heard Barrie speak up until that point, but it was one of the most informative and interesting talks I had seen. Barrie spoke about all the little ecosystems and the wildlife that were all dependent on those freeway cloverleafs that we flew by in our cars. He spoke about plants they thought would work, but failed, plants they thought would fail but thrived. All this was when he was consulting with CalTrans about the new 85 freeway that was being completed.
Another talk that was a life-changer was one by Ted Kipping on Pruning. I learned a lot from that one talk that impacted how I pruned after that. I decided that I would go anywhere, anytime to hear Ted or Barrie speak. Those two always had good pictures accompanied by well-planned, interesting and informative talks.
I've made many friends through Western Hort. over the years. I always felt warmly welcomed by everyone. I have many fond memories of so many people. Clayton Neece for seeing potential in me and asking me to be on the board, and bringing me out of my shell. One of my co-horts in crime with this crazy plant passion. I had many fun romps with Betsy Clebsch and Dorothy Rodal up to Western Hills, Vintage Gardens, East Bay Nurseries, and all the Hortisexual gatherings.. Carol Coate has been a dear friend and a huge help guiding me through the trials and tribulations of mountain living. This has always been a wonderful group of folks."
 
Steve Staiger: He is another faithful WHS member, former board member and history buff. He & his wife have been the ones responsible for selecting the wonderful variety of wine for our December potlucks:
"I was living in West Menlo Park, off the Alameda, when I first became aware of WHS. Not sure what first drew my attention, possibly a mention in the Alamanac newspaper. The meetings were in a park in Atherton, just east of the railroad tracks. This was in the early 1990s, possibly late 1980s. My only date point is that I moved to my present home in 1994, and was already familiar with and probably a member of WHS by that time.
One surprise was to discover that my neighbor (over the back fence) was a member, and an acclaimed plant person at that. Barbara Worl went from being a neighbor that I knew a bit to someone I would see and talk with on a regular basis.
There have been a number of great programs (and a few duds), but the one I remember with the most enjoyment was some guy from a commercial nursery specializing in fruit trees (do not remember his name or the company except that he was from the Central Valley). He talked, with great interest, in the fruit trees we as hobbyists ought to grow, and how to plant and grow them to maximize our pleasure and safety (keep them short, no ladders) perhaps at the expense of maximum production, which should not be our major goal. Kind of funny how such a talk would stay with me after all these years.
I have made friends with a number of WHS people, especially some of those who I come in contact with in other parts of my life. Unfortunately I have never been able to bring outside friends into the WHS world."
 
Judy Wong is currently a board member, also former board member and president, she’s taken on the research for the Founders’ Award, plus the history of WHS. I appreciate her willingness to say “yes, I’ll help” and so have pulled her into the Hot Plant Picks team:
"I saw an article in the local paper and WHS was meeting at Holbrook-Palmer Park which is quite close to where I live so I decided to attend. (Ampex would have been even closer but they had moved from there:)) ) I joined in 1992.
I had recently become a Master Gardener and I remember being impressed and learning so much about plants new to me from the plant discussion. I enjoy the plant raffle and have many plants from the raffle still in my garden including, Buddleia lindlayana, Weigela variegata, Salvias from Betsy's garden, South African bulbs and succulents from Bill Kurtz. Last but not least are the wonderful speakers. A couple that come to mind are Andrea Hurd's presentation on dry stacked stone walls and Shelagh Fritz's presentation on the Gardens of Alcatraz.
So many wonderful friends with a shared passion for gardening. I remember Betsy Clebsch called to invite me to join the WHS board which lead to my being "invited" to be WHS president1997-1999! The late Linda Markell and my friend Lorena Gorsche have been long time WHS and garden touring companions. John Hammerschmidt, Vice-president, graciously lead the general meetings during the time I was president. I love learning about plants from the many "stars" of horticulture and regular backyard gardeners in WHS."
 
Lorena Gorsche is a former board member and special friend. She started weeding (as a volunteer) at Carman’s Nursery for my dad soon after her first visit. She was my mentor (and unpaid saleswoman) my entire first season as a Farmers’ Market vendor:
"I heard about WH in the newspaper about the time I heard about Carman's Nursery from (Horticulture magazine) they recommended his nursery for Buddlia! Which I promptly went to purchase and you know the rest...! I was interested in the topic WH mentioned in the paper, don't know what it was, but my sister went with me. It may have been when I won the 'spiral' aloe, no that was after I had been going for awhile, or when I heard about the Clematis talk and couldn't find the meeting place in the rain and had to go home, sniff so sad. No, it was a before that meeting. I don't know. I only know I went monthly as soon as I went to my first meeting. When I could justify joining, dollar wise, I did. I always added a few dollars to compensate for the time I didn't join. That was before we as a board decided to ask $5.00 to non-members. Ha!
I became a board member when Judy left the board. She and Linda Markel were the reasons I joined. I was a board member when Chris ? was president and continued thru when Leslie Dean was president. I'm honored to have been on her board. Leslie and many others have been my friends ever since. It has been one of the best gifts I've given myself, to be a member of a horticulture group such as Western Hort!"
 
Chris Egan is a former and current board member, also past President, and has been a faithful volunteer with the WHS plant sale:
"Jean Fowkes invited me to come with her to WHS. We were both taking classes at Foothill. At that point botanical names were really foreign to me and I felt overwhelmed and out of place. Jean convinced me to continue to come. Now that seems funny to me because I now have more trouble with common names.
I really can’t pick one thing that I remember most fondly. I love the plant discussions when members tell about things that they are growing. It is always very special to be with the Western Hort members who are very generous in sharing their knowledge and with whom one can talk “plants”. Another thing I remember most fondly was you and Sherry and John staying to the bitter end when a meeting was over so that I didn’t have to close up the church alone. That was very sweet of you.
Almost every speaker is really interesting – they all are talking about something that is fascinating to them. 3—All the Board Members have been exciting to know. I wish I could see more of them, Claudia and Elizabeth
Frankly Western Hort is a very special club."
 
Sally Casey, more often than not, has celebrated her birthday at our December potluck. She was born on the family farm, one that had been in the family since being given as payment to her great-great grandfather, who along with his brother had done some of the surveying for the Louisiana Purchase. WHS members will remember Sally's yearly display of blooming shooting stars at our plant discussion—and the remarkable method she reveals about how to determine the age of the bulb by counting the leaves. Her heart may have been given to CA native plants, but she told me that she has enjoyed all the WHS speakers since joining about thirty years ago. I first met Sally when she visited my dad, Ed Carman at Carman's Nursery. I remember Dad and I both being quite impressed to hear about her plans for a driving trip to Alaska!
 
Bill Kurtz joined WHS in the early days—when meetings were held at Ampex. He told me that he would have probably heard about the society from Bill Schmidt, one of our founders, because Bill S. had worked for Bill K.'s parents at their nursery—Home Garden Nursery—in the late 1930's/early 1940's before starting his own nursery after the Kurtz nursery was closed. Bill has many fond memories surrounding the plant discussion. He was always amazed at the extent of knowledge possessed by Dick Dunmire & Ed Carman—and rarely saw them stumped by questions about the plants on display. He enjoys telling how Ed asked Bill to help with the plant discussion, and then took an extended leave of absence from the job! Some of Bill's favorite speakers have been Russell Wagner whose enthusiasm for his chosen topic (usually succulents] simply bubbles over, Ted Kipping who knows his plants and has the photos to prove it, and Albert Wilson, a great ambassador for plants to the people, who used to haunt the Home Garden Nursery when he was a student at Stanford.
 
Barbara Worl doesn't remember when she first attended a WHS meeting (in the early days at Ampex] but she does remember being thrilled to find a group of people as plant crazy as she was. She remembers many members from those days, from the 'bird lady' who took her to her first meeting, to Betsy Clebsch who she first met when Betsy went to Bells Bookstore to buy a book about plants, to Vivian Hawkins who took her to see the garden of Branner Newson (did I get that name right?] the WHS treasurer at the time who owned the lot where Barbara ended up creating a delight of a garden. She also remembers being VP of WHS under Keith Bickford as President, but she drew the line at becoming president herself. One of Barbara's biggest joys of belonging to WHS is always being able to find someone to visit nurseries with her!
 
Nancy Schramm: I first attended WHS meetings many years ago with my parents, Ed & Jean Carman. I vaguely remember going to the Ampex cafeteria, but attended more regularly when I was in high school in the early 1970's. I joined on my own, finally, in 2004. Some of my favorite WHS memories are: June picnics with Gerda Isenberg at Yerba Buena Nursery, hearing Dr. Mildred Mathias talk about exploring in the Amazon basin and wanting to join her next expedition, doing some of the pen & ink illustrations for the WHS vine book, attending the launch party, and getting autographs from other WHS members who contributed, Elizabeth Garbett convincing me to join the WHS board (and her subsequent retirement from!] and getting to know more current members, Stu Winchester's talk about the Convict Basin, December potlucks—especially the feast for eyes & ears with Ted Kipping's slides & The Sherry Austin Band, having the Cal Hort Hot Plant Picks team ask me for help with the exhibit and my luck to have Sherry Hall join in with ideas and enthusiasm, being asked by Betsy Clebsch to give a talk for WHS and then giving my slide show: "Nursery Child—Growing up at Carman's Nursery." I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Western Hort has been more than just a plant society to me, so many of you have known my parents, my sisters and me for so long that you truly feel like my extended family. Thanks to everyone who has shared their memories with me and with WHS.
 
 
 
 
 

 

   

 

 

Western Horticulture Society
PO Box 166
Mountain View, CA 94042
(650) 948-4614 or (650) 941-6136
info@westernhort.org