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Bertrand H. Farr
Bertrand Farr Picture 1863 – 1924

Bertrand Farr's love of flowers began as a boy on the Iowa prairie of his father's cattle farm. But, he did not start his professional life in horticulture. He briefly attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston to study piano, but also spent many hours in the Hovey greenhouses. He then tuned pianos and sold musical instruments in, taught in, or owned music stores in Iowa and Pennsylvania.

In 1896, he and his bride were the first residents of the new township of Wyomissing, PA, a Reading suburb. While continuing his music businesses, he began to acquire plants, shrubs, and perennials. Eventually he bought eleven lots and his obsessive plant collecting hobby overflowed onto other vacant ones. By 1908 he had published the first mail-order catalog for the Farr Nursery – a firm which survived for 100 years. The hobby was now a business. In a dozen years its catchy slogan would be: Better Plants – By Farr.

Farr was well known for his hybridizing of iris and peonies and leadership in their respective societies. But, between 1908 and his death in 1924, Farr (or his firm after his death) named about a dozen daylilies, introducing only the best six. By modern standards, that is not many. However, no American other than Luther Burbank, with seven, had introduced more than Farr in the first quarter of the Twentieth Century. His Hemerocallis 'Ophir' (Farr, 1924) received the Award of Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society of England in 1931 and is still in commerce.

However, Farr became influential within the daylily world because of a handshake. "Incontestably, Dr. Arlow Burdette Stout is the Father of the Modern Daylily..." according to Sydney Eddison in, A Passion for Daylilies. Stout hybridized daylilies at the New York Botanical Garden, but was not allowed to sell from there. So, he sought out a nursery to assist him. Only Farr responded. About 1920, with a handshake agreement, Farr accepted “the rights to, and responsibilities of, propagation and distribution, and cooperation in evaluation” of Stout's daylilies according to a nursery catalog. Farr and Stout agreed in regarding “the 'performance' of a daylily to be much more important than the beauty of the bloom.” Further, no Stout daylily would sell for more than $3.00.

Farr died suddenly before this agreement could come fully to fruition. His widow soon sold the nursery to several of Farr's managers. For over 30 years, they honored the commitment Farr had made, until Stout's death in 1957.

Obviously the development of the modern daylily would have come, eventually, but the rapidity of it can only be viewed as a result of this partnership between the Farr Nursery and Dr. Stout.

Farr's obituary in The Florists Exchange contained this Farr quote: “Blessed is he who has a hobby, and can make it his business.”

-- Courtesy of the AHS Archives

 
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silver medal BERTRAND FARR SILVER MEDAL

2013 Honoree

Margo Reed
Virginia

Established in 1950 and named for an early daylily nurseryman, this medal is a distinguished honor for members who have attained outstanding results in the field of daylily hybridizing.  In general this award should honor only one person annually, but two awards have been given on occasion. The award can only be given to a single individual.  Nominations may be submitted by any AHS member to the AHS Awards & Honors Chairman by mail or email. A complete review of accomplishments should be made, including all awards, appearances on the Popularity Poll, and unusual accomplishments. Nominations are due by September 1st for the upcoming year.  The AHS Board votes by secret ballot at the annual fall board meeting, and the award is presented at the following AHS National Convention.

Previous Bertrand Farr Silver Medal winners are as follows:

2013 Margo Reed Virginia
2012 Grace Stamile Califormia
2011 Clayton Burkey Pennsylvania
2010 Dan Trimmer Florida
2009 Jan Joiner Georgia
2008 Mr. Jack Carpenter Texas
2007 Mr. Ned Roberts Colorado
2006 Dr. Darrell Apps New Jersey
2005 Dr. Charles E. Branch Illinois
2004 Edwin C. Brown Florida
2003 Jeff Salter Florida
2002 Curt Hanson Ohio
2002 David Talbott Florida
2001 Elizabeth Hudson Salter Florida
2000 Morton L. Morss Florida
1999 Ra Hansen Florida
1998 Clarence J. Crochet Louisiana
1997 Patrick Stamile Florida
1996 Sarah Sikes Alabama
1995 Lee E. Gates Louisiana
1994 Kate Carpenter North Carolina
1993 Enman R. Joiner Georgia
1992 Steve Moldovan Ohio
1991 Bryant Millikan Indiana
1990 Lucille Guidry Louisiana
1989 Charlie Pierce Alabama
1988 Kenneth G. Durio, Jr. Louisiana
1987 Van Sellers North Carolina
1986 David Kirchhoff Florida
1985 Pauline Henry Arkansas
1984 Oscie B. Whatley, Jr. Missouri
1983 Ury G. Winniford Texas
1982 Clarke M. Yancey Georgia
1980 Edward F. Grovatt New Jersey
1980 Elsie Spalding Louisiana
1979 R.M. Kennedy, III South Carolina
1978 Lucille Williamson Texas
1977 Clara Mae Pittard Louisiana
1976 John R. Lambert, Jr. North Carolina
1975 Allen J. Wild Missouri
1974 James E. Marsh Illinois
1973 Charles Reckamp Illinois
1972 Virginia Peck Tennessee
1971 Sally Lake Alabama
1970 George E. Lenington Missouri
1970 Robert A. Griesbach Illinois
1969 Wilmer B. Flory Indiana
1968 Hubert A. Fischer Illinois
1967 R. William Munson, Jr. Florida
1966 W.B. MacMillan Louisiana
1965 Edna Spalding Louisiana
1964 Hamilton P. Traub California
1963 Frank W. Childs Georgia
1962 Orville W. Fay Illinois
1961 Hooper J. Connell Louisiana
1960 LeMoine J. Bechtold Colorado
1959 Elmer A. Claar Illinois
1958 Hugh M. Russell Texas
1957 Ralph W. Wheeler Florida
1956 David F. Hall Illinois
1955 Ophelia Taylor Florida
1954 Ezra J. Kraus Oregon
1953 Elizabeth Nesmith Massachusetts
1952 Mary Lester Georgia
1951 Carl Milliken California
1950 Arlow Burdette Stout New York







© Copyright 1995-2013 by the American Hemerocallis Society, Inc.
 
 
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