JARS v52n3 - In Memoriam: Daniel Layman

In Memoriam: Daniel Layman
Howard Roberts

ARS chapters are made up of all kinds of people ranging from members with half-hearted interest to those who are thoroughly involved in all phases of furthering the rhododendron cause. Of the latter group, Dan Layman was outstanding. He and his wife, Betts, opened their door, their garden and their store of knowledge to new members of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter as a welcoming team that won them the friendship, respect and loyalty of their fellow members.

Dan died on Easter morning, April 12, 1998, at his home in Wynnewood. Because of failing health, he had been unable to attend the chapter's annual banquet eight days earlier, an event that he and Betts had traditionally organized and supervised over the past 18 years. He had not known that he was to be honored on that occasion with a rhododendron bearing his name. The hardy, brilliant red, June-blooming rhododendron 'Dan Layman' had been hybridized by Susquehanna Valley Chapter President Joe Minahan. The following day a rooted cutting with flower bud was presented to Dan at his house with Bud Gehnrich, Hank Schannen and a dozen more local rhodoholics present for a roundtable discussion. One of the subjects covered at the meeting was petal blight, a matter of considerable concern to Dan; it seems appropriate, therefore, that anyone wishing to make a gift in memory consider the ARS Research Foundation for the purpose of petal blight eradication.

R. 'Dan Layman' ('Mars' x
'Polynesian Sunrise')
R. 'Dan Layman' ('Mars' x 'Polynesian Sunrise') named for a leading
member of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter who died in April 1998.
It is shown herewith Betts Layman in late May in the garden of Joe
Minahan at Camp Hill, Penn. Mr. Minahan hybridized, named, and
registered 'Dan Layman'.

Dan, a former president of the Philadelphia Chapter and Bronze Medal recipient, has been involved with rhododendrons long enough to know some of the legends, in the business including Joe Gable, form whom he purchased R. "David Gable'. He also co-founded with Bob Wilkinson the annual fall plants-for-members sale where rooted cuttings of hard-to-find varieties from members' gardens are made available at reasonable prices. The chapter's board meetings have regularly been held in the Layman's dining room for many years; in addition to the convenience of the location, the meetings afford a chance to inspect an exceptional garden and to sample Betts' gourmet desserts.

Those who have known Dan have been richer for the experience, and his family and friends are pleased that his name will be perpetuated in a magnificent rhododendron of a color he particularly enjoyed.