It's so nice to come back here after a long absence and still see familiar names. I'm very pleased to have a project to announce that I hope Bob Riffle's friends will want to support.
As many of you know, Bob lived in Houston for many years and I remember him speaking fondly of the Mercer Arboretum in Humble on many occasions. Since Bob's passing, I have become friends with Linda Gay, who is the director of Mercer Arboretum and also a good friend of Bob's. Now that I have finally visited the Mercer myself, I fully understand why Bob was so enthusiastic about this wonderful garden. It is truly magnificant.
Over several months we have organized a memorial to be placed at the Mercer. The Palm Society of South Texas is graciously spearheading the project with the purchase of a substantial bench. It will be placed in the Mercer's tropical garden in view of Bob's favorite palm there, a Livistona saribus
. Linda and her staff members are preparing the site, placing flagstones and mossrock where the bench will sit.
Bob was so much more than an extraordinary plantsman. He was also an accomplished musician. An element with musical qualities also seems appropriate, which is where his friends both near and far can help. In addition to the bench, we would like to see a wind chime, a commemorative plaque and a clump of Otatea acuminata
, Mexican weeping bamboo. Several mature palms are in the immediate vicinity and ginger grows in this location on a seasonal basis. The attached photo shows Linda Gay and Grant Stephenson standing under a magnificent Butia/Syagrus cross, looking toward the L. saribus, from the approximate location where the bench will be placed.
I hope this is a project that Bob's friends from around the world will want to support. I estimate the cost of the bamboo, chime and plaque to be around $1100. The Mercer is ready to accept donations by US check or money order. So sorry, no credit card capability is available for our overseas friends. Linda has requested that we place "Robert Riffle Memorial Fund" both inside and outside the envelope when donations are mailed to:
The Mercer Society
Robert Riffle Memorial Fund
22306 Aldine Westfield Road
Humble TX 77338
The Mercer will be hosting PSST's June 23rd meeting to commemorate the bench, so please respond promptly. It would be so wonderful to have the other components of the project in place when we meet. If you have any questions, feel free to ask or send a PM.
editing to add photo that I thought was already attached...