In Memoriam: Clara Curry
Luke Austin, Birmingham, AL
It is with a feeling of sadness that we report the death of Clara B. Curry on December 21, 1983. Clara was a life member of the American Rhododendron Society and was largely responsible for the formation of the Birmingham Chapter.
Her great dream was to create a magnificent rhododendron garden, complete with companion plants, in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Toward that end the Birmingham Chapter, with Clara leading the way, has worked for 15 years. Many in the Birmingham area said it couldn't be done.
Clara was the No. 1 volunteer at the Botanical Gardens. For 15 years she gave 1 to 3 days each week working in the rhododendron section. No task was too menial. She weeded, mulched, pruned, sprayed, deadheaded, and fertilized as the occasion demanded. She was the prime mover in our annual show and plant sale. In those early years before our plant sale began to generate sufficient money, Clara dug down into her own pocket for whatever was needed.
Although she had a collection of rhododendrons in her private garden, it was the rhododendrons at the Botanical Gardens which consumed her interest. That garden now has over 1500 hybrids of some 60 varieties. One of those cultivars is a beautiful red one named Clara Curry. It was hybridized by Hollis Hughes of Warrior, Alabama.
The Birmingham area will always be indebted to Clara for the fulfillment of her dream and for her persistence in bringing this beautiful garden to fruition.