Edgar Greer 1895-1972
R. Curt Huey, Springfield, Oregon
The American Rhododendron Society lost a dear friend with the death of Edgar Greer on June 6, 1972, at the age of 76. In the January, 1966 Quarterly Bulletin Merle Saunders wrote about Edgar and asked why men such as he are frequently described only after their passing. In view of Edgar's death, that article is more timely.
His interest in rhododendrons. well described in the previous article, led to a fine collection, both species and hybrids, with an emphasis on dwarf rhododendrons. The nursery catalogue lists one of the more complete collections of species and hybrids in the country.
Hybridizing on a modest scale, Edgar was always seeking a better yellow rhododendron. Many hybrids of excellent garden value were developed, with a limited number available in the commercial trade. Perhaps 'Trude Webster' is the best known, since it was awarded the Superior Plant Award by the American Rhododendron Society last year.
Among his projects was the tracing back to the species the parentage of all known hybrids. This work was done over a period of fifteen years and is current. Although the book may be of limited interest and expensive to publish, plans are under way to have this valuable work published this year.
Edgar's many friends describe him as a "generous and kind man," a "friend of plant lovers," a "considerate man," a "Gentleman" in the finest sense of the word. He always had time for people who visited the nursery. He would spend as much time with the novice as with the rhododendron expert, always willing to tour the garden, to describe plants, to answer questions, and to tell how that plant came to be in his collection.
With his illness confining him to a less active role in the nursery, friends still found him filled with enthusiasm for his garden, always willing to talk about rhododendrons, still interested in adding to his collection, and eager to lead a short tour of the garden to view some choice plant in bloom.
Yes, one should write about men such as Edgar before their passing, for he touched many lives and the lives he touched are better because of it.