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RIP GARY HAMMER, Founder, Worldwide Exotics

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Today the Los Angeles Times announced the passing of Gary Hammer, 57, who was, among much else, the founder of the esteemed plant nursery, Worldwide Exotics in Lakeview Terrace, California, in the San Fernando Valley.

Mr. Hammer was a very widely-traveled plant explorer, who made many trips to Mexico, Australia and South Africa and found many species of drought-tolerant plants that we enjoy today.

On August 7, 2011, Mr. Hammer was struck and killed by a car as he crossed a dark street in Tempe, Arizona.

He was born in Glendale, California, obtained an Ornamental Horticulture degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1976, and, after a brief career in banking (!) embarked on his lifetime of plant exploration and operating a nursery.

Mr. Hammer moved to Orizaba, Vericruz, Mexico.

He is survived by his father and mother, Dale and Florence Hammer, of Cambria, California as well as his sister, Karen Hammer Nessen of Altadena California.

A memorial service is planned in Chatsworth for September 17, 2011.

My garden, among many many others, is a memorial to Mr. Hammer's love of plants that like it here and don't need a lot of water. One of his many introductions is "Sticks on Fire" or the "Red Pencil Tree", Euphorbia tirucalli, which can be spotted everywhere, including the Fullerton Police Department in Fullerton.

May he rest in peace.

euphorbiasticksonfire.jpg

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I really enjoyed buying plants from him at the spring sale at South Coast Plaza CA. He always had stuff I had never seen before and great prices. He will be truly missed in the plant world! RIP Gary Hammer.

Jeff Rood

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I still have some of his plants, like that Hibiscus bullet-proof, with white flowers, which never needs watering and thrives anyway.

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Very distressing. Gary was a well known collector/gatherer of Mexican Tillandsias also. My collection consists of many of Gary's plants that he brought back. He had all the right (and legal) contacts necessary for exportation permits which enabled many of us to obtain plants others could not. He had a full life and will be greatly missed.

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