Pioneer Achievement Award: James Elwood Barto
Despite poor health and poverty he created a horticultural miracle in the wilds of the Coast Range Mountains of Western Oregon. With the help of his devoted wife and family, and without any modern equipment, he managed to clear five acres of dense timber and brush land to accommodate thousands of rhododendrons, many of species which had been unknown in the U.S.
He corresponded widely with knowledgeable people in the rhododendron field, obtained seed from many plant expeditions and from many parts of the world, planted and nurtured the resulting plants under the most primitive of conditions. He shared his knowledge and his plants freely with all who cared and in so doing greatly advanced the science of rhododendron culture.
Many of the species rhododendrons selected from his collection have set a standard of excellence among horticulturists. He died of cancer at the age of fifty-nine without realizing the valuable legacy he left for the rhododendron community. For his many contributions to the plant world the American Rhododendron Society is pleased to present its most prestigious honor, the Pioneer Achievement Award, posthumously to James Elwood Barto. May13, 1995.
Committee: Mr. Peter Cox, Dr. Franklin H. West, Dr. Herbert A. Spady, Mr. Hideo Suzuki.