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.