In Memoriam: Harold Epstein
Dr. Philip Waldman
Dix Hills, New York
Harold Epstein, well-known plantsman of the horticultural world, died on July 8, 1997, at the age of 94. His garden in Larchmont, New York, contained many treasures collected over the years including some acquired through his 29 trips to Japan. His introductions to the country included Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', Enkianthus perulatus, Schizophragma hydrangeoides as well as innumerable rare cultivars of azaleas and rhododendrons. A new epimedium was just named in his honor as well as azalea 'Harold Epstein', now in the process of being registered.
He was especially proud of his 60-year-old azalea 'Flame Creeper', as well as the many different forms of Japanese deciduous azaleas. He was one of the first to grow Rhododendron yakushimanum and extol its virtues. His 50-year-old plant of R. keiskei 'La Rocaille', now 10 feet high, was a sight to behold.
Harold was an accountant for many years until 1963 when he suffered his first heart attack. His love of gardening as well as an exercise bike enabled him to live a long and healthy life. He stated that he looked at the bike faithfully once every year.
Harold was the president of the American Rock Garden Society for 16 years and started its quarterly bulletin and seed exchange and organized its annual meeting. He served in many capacities in the American Rhododendron Society. He was president of the Greater New York Orchid Society as well as president of Hortus, a prestigious gardening organization. He also served on the board of directors of numerous organizations including the American Horticultural Society and the New Jersey State Botanical Garden. He lectured and wrote many articles for innumerable horticultural organizations.
He regretted the fact that he had only one lifetime to continue his "garden insanity," as he called it, but he was still active until the end. The horticultural world mourns the passing of a dear friend.