By A.R.S. President C. I. Sersanous
It is my pleasure this evening to present to a charter member of the American Rhododendron Society, and a member of the Seattle Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, the highest award that can be given, a gold medal for meritorious horticultural achievement, and in appreciation of the highest esteem held by all who have had the privilege of his acquaintance through the years he has ably done so much for the genus Rhododendron.
A short biography has been furnished me by your president, Don K. McClure, which sums up as follows.
Born in Norway, he came to the United States from Surna in 1912. His first home in this country was in Minneapolis, after which presumably the urge to move West prompted him to move to Montana and homestead there.
During this period of his life, he joined the U.S. Army and served throughout World War I. After the close of the war, he settled in Everett, Washington, and worked in the Weyerhaeuser Mills there. In 1920 he was married to Benna Klubiness.
It was during his residence in Everett that he became acquainted with James Clapp and entered his employ as head gardener. In that phase of his gardening career, he was primarily interested in dahlias and roses and won numerous awards exhibiting these flowers.
In 1927, Mr. Clapp acquired a large estate in Medina and moved there. It is here that this man became interested in rhododendrons.
The first plants which he exhibited publicly were dwarf varieties, which were shown in 1939 at the Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. This exhibit attracted considerable notice and won him several high awards.
In 1937 he left the employ of Mr. Clapp and founded his own nursery business.
His success in growing and hybridizing rhododendrons is well known to all of us. Some of his most important hybrids consist of 'Mrs. Donald Graham', 'King of Shrubs', Lily No. 1 and No. 3 and many others too numerous to mention. It suffices to say he has supported horticultural activities in the Seattle area with the greatest energy and generosity since 1937.
To Endre Ostbo we owe much. Speaking of generosity, I well remember a trip made to Seattle and Bellevue a few years ago at his request to pick up a few plants he had desired to present to the Society Test Garden at Portland. The gift amounted to sixty-five splendid rhododendrons, which now are all specimen plants and attract much attention during the blooming season. This generosity I shall always remember and cherish.
Will Mr. Ostbo come forward so that I may present him with this award, which so deservedly belongs to him.