The Nearing Committee
Fred Knapp, Locust Valley, New York
The most remarkable thing that plants can do that we cannot is the very thing that we love most about them, they can start anew each spring, for they are the incarnation of spring. And in this way, they outlive us. Their beauty and their time exceed ours. Every plant lover sooner or later considers this thought, but the hybridist must go a step farther. Shakespeare tells us that "The evil men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones." Without any morbidity, every hybridist must consider the ultimate preservation of his best works and at the same time hope to prevent the bastardization of his name by unwarranted preservation of his lesser works and commercialized dissemination of their inferior seedling derivatives as authentic results of his craft. It was a shame if Shakespeare's words should become applicable some day to the plants of any of our foremost hybridists.
Guy Nearing has given thought to the problem described above, and has taken steps to secure a solution. Mr. Nearing's will has been redrawn, providing that upon his death his entire plant collection and his painstakingly kept records become the property of the Nearing Committee. The Committee is allowed a time span of two years in which to discharge its duties with respect to the plants and separate them from the remainder of the estate. Its instructions are to evaluate the collection completely with the intent of preserving the good material for posterity and of ruthlessly assuring that the unfit material will never carry the Nearing name abroad.
The Committee named in the current will consists of four primary members to be appointed by each of the nearby New Jersey, New York, Princeton and Tappan Zee chapters. Members of an earlier (1967) committee who are still in the area and able to serve have been asked to continue as part of the group, so that approximately 20 pairs of helping hands are available.
May the Nearing Committee not be called upon soon, but may it answer the call faithfully when the time comes. Perhaps this may he a good example for all hybridists, for it is not in the nature of a hybridist to "finish" his work in his own time. A mechanism is needed to provide a reasoned closure to such a program as Mr. Nearing's work represents. The Nearing Committee should achieve this, and the foresight to provide for the effort is another outstanding proof of Guy Nearing's deep personal involvement in the lasting evidence of his work, the plants which will renew spring for later generations, and will bear the name Nearing.