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-Bobby, my friend, my brother

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I got the call on Friday evening at 10:30 that Bob had passed.  I was shocked and speechless as I had just spoken to him 2 weeks prior.  Bobby and I had many evening discussions on the phone about plant  meetings, palms and the proper pronunciation of the  latin genera, that I constantly slaughtered.  

The first time I met Bob was when he came to Mercer Arboretum around 1998.  He had been to the garden before, but visited with our botanist at that time and she was not too much into palms or tropicals.  I did not know he had come to the garden then.  When Ms. Em (later referred as Ms. Neiman Marcus because she was so much maintenance!) brought him to the garden, we did a cart garden tour and I had the most wonderful time talking about the palms and tropicals we had in our collection.  He was a botanical genius, passionate about plants and passionate about the people who shared the same love.  Bob loved many tropical plants, as well as palms.  He was so diverse, so educated, and so hell bent in training me to use the latin words properly when referring to plant genera.  The classic I still can't pronounce is Rhapis... You may say Rayfis, but the proper way is Raa-Pis... This was an on-going correction for me to this day!

He was my tropical botanist.  I am a horticulturist by trade, so I was always asking him the different characteristics of genera and species. One awesome conversation we had was I asked him to explain the difference between Xanthosoma, Alocasia, and Colocasia which had always baffled me.  He did so with perfection.

Bob was like my big brother, who taught me the ways of the botanical world.  I love Bob and will miss him greatly.  He signed my copy of the "Tropical Look Book" and it said, " To Linda Gay, one of the most knowledgeable, wonderful, pipples in my life.....

My love and respect......

I hold onto those words and tear up with feelings of already missing him...  He is in my heart forever... Mercer will dedicate the beautiful Livistona saribus in our collection as Bob's Memorial Palm (it is my favorite and the most beautiful and exotic palm in our collection) and I will find a way to put a bench beneath it for his spirit to rest and reflect and for those of us still left on this planet to connect with him...

I will miss you Bobby!

Love,

Linda Gay, Mercer Arboretum Humble, Texas

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Beautiful thoughts Linda, thank you for sharing.

I believe this is a photo of the Livistona saribus at Mercer Arboretum Linda is speaking of. I took the picture this past March as Linda and I walked the tropical garden paths at Mercer remembering good times with Bob Riffle and other dear gardening friends.

Once the bench and marker are in place, I'll post another photo of the site.

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Linda, I know exactly how you're feeling.  Thank you for selecting that palm to remember our dear friend.  Are you set up to take donations for the bench?

And Mike, that's a beautiful photo.  It will be good to see a bench under it.  Gardens need places for us to sit and reflect on what's around us, visible and invisible.

D.

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Robert Lee Riffle and Linda Gay were great friends. I was fortunate enough to have the two of them visit my garden back in June of 2000 at our local Houston Chapter of the IPS meeting. It wasn't easy to get Robert in front of a camera but with Linda he didn't mind. This is one of my best shots of Robert.

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Linda Gay sends us this photo of 'Bobby' taken at a casual get together a few years back. David Skinner was the photographer. The flower is Barleria micans.

post-13-1155770353_thumb.jpg

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(Mike in Houston @ Aug. 17 2006,04:25)

QUOTE
Robert Lee Riffle and Linda Gay were great friends. I was fortunate enough to have the two of them visit my garden back in June of 2000 at our local Houston Chapter of the IPS meeting. It wasn't easy to get Robert in front of a camera but with Linda he didn't mind. This is one of my best shots of Robert.

No wonder Bob is cuddling in to Linda, with that aloha shirt she is wearing, plus is that a can of bourbon and coke she's holding ?

Great photo, so is the next "flower on master" pic.

I feel so privileged to have had personal communicados with this giant of the palm world.

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