Three Gold Medals Presented
Citation, May 11, 1963
Recognition of great service is always a very pleasant task, and in honoring Halfdan Lem this evening with the Gold Medal of the American Rhododendron Society, the satisfaction is made especially deep. To all of us he is known as a talented, imaginative plant hybridizer. To many of us he is a personal friend. To any one who has ever met and talked with him he is an enthusiastic connoisseur of rhododendrons whose vital interest cannot fail to rub off on those with whom he comes in contact.
Few of us are favored with the world-wide contacts which Mr. Lem has established in his field of interest. From these, and through his efforts, have come to Northwest gardens in particular, but all gardens generally, knowledge 'and plant materials which have had inestimable impact. During World War II, Fred Rose in ravaged England preserved many of his creations by entrusting them to Mr. Lem. Dr. Clement Dowers has admired his work and once referred to him as the "Aberconway of America." Shipments of Lem plants go nationwide and improve the culture of rhododendrons wherever they are grown.
The Seattle Chapter of this Society has been a great beneficiary of Lem's generosity, which has taken the shape of gifts of numberless plants, fine displays in shows and participation, in his own inimitable style, in many meeting programs. There are very few gardens which are not the richer for at least one of his creations, or gardeners who have not gained from him knowledge and encouragement.
It has been said that the most precious gift which a man can give is that of years of his life. In return then, for those years which you have given, Halfdan Lem, to rhododendron culture and improvement, we present to you the Gold Medal of the American Rhododendron Society.
DR. CLEMENT GRAY BOWERS
Citation, May 26, 1963
A keen interest in plant breeding in the late 1920's led the man we are honoring tonight to an intensive life long study of the genus Rhododendron. In gathering together information and material from many sources both in this country and abroad to aid him in his breeding work, he was inspired to make a complete study of the genus and to write a much needed book as a source of information for others interested in rhododendrons. In 1937 his now classic volume "Rhododendrons and Azaleas" was published and has been a widely read comprehensive source book of information for scholars as well as amateur gardeners and many others who have also become interested in breeding rhododendrons.
He revised his book extensively in 1960 bringing it up-to-date with new knowledge and information.
Living in an area where rhododendrons must be sub-zero in hardiness rating to survive, he directed his efforts toward developing colorful hybrids for cold regions. After many years of testing, the hybrids he has selected offer definite promise to those who live in cold climates and as hardy breeding material for other hybridizers.
Along with a few other Rhododendron Society members he has traveled widely to locate, evaluate and to encourage wide testing and use of the best Dexter hybrids.
We are pleased to present the Gold Medal of the American Rhododendron Society to Dr. Clement Gray Bowers, well known as a teacher, lecturer, and author, in recognition of his contributions to the Society and to the field of horticulture.
PAUL D. VOSSBERG
Citation, May 26, 1963
It is our pleasure to present the Gold Medal of the American Rhododendron Society to one of our members in recognition of his work of many years in successfully propagating and developing hardy rhododendrons.
Starting at Hicks Nursery about 1915, a self-trained horticultural botanist, he has developed a remarkable knowledge and ability to identify rhododendron hybrids and species not only by their flowers but also by their leaves, buds, and habit of growth. His knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for rhododendrons he freely shares with all who are interested.
In the late 1920's he started hybridizing rhododendrons and has been credited with many hardy varieties. In the middle 1940's he perfected a method of rooting cuttings of difficult and previously impossible to root rhododendron varieties. This achievement made it possible for many people to obtain and to enjoy choice rhododendrons in their gardens.
Working with a small group of Rhododendron Society members he has traveled extensively to locate and select the best of the hundreds of widely distributed unnamed Dexter Hybrid rhododendrons. These he has successfully propagated 'and distributed for wider testing. Those who have worked with him in this project have found he has an uncanny ability to recognize and select magnificent, promising hardy hybrids.
We are pleased to present the Gold Medal of the American Rhododendron Society to Paul D. Vossberg.