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-Bob Riffle has passed away


quaman58

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I just remembered a photo I took of Bob at the IPS board meeting in April 2005 at Montgomery Botanical Center in Miami:

post-19-1155637296_thumb.jpg

Paul Craft

Loxahatchee, FL

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How about that shirt ? I'd love one of those.

Happy Gardening

Cheers,

Wal

Queensland, Australia.

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Several years ago Bob suggested making a film about David Fairchild.  I read Fairchild's books and got very excited.  Bob started work on a screenplay.  It didn't get that far, but it's still a wonderful idea.  I proposed it to National Geographic films, since Fairchild has a big history with NG, but they weren't interested.  Don't know why.   But those of you who clearly cared for Bob might enjoy reading Fairchild's The World Was My Garden, and The World Grows Round My Door.  Much in the books, obviously, about The Kampong where Bob's ashes will rest.

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How about that shirt ? I'd love one of those.

Wal -- I gave him that shirt.  I gave him several shirts with palms on them (Tommy Bahama brand).  Thank you for mentioning that; he had fun with his palm shirts.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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(Diane Kirkland @ Aug. 15 2006,09:42)

QUOTE
How about that shirt ? I'd love one of those.

Wal -- I gave him that shirt.  I gave him several shirts with palms on them (Tommy Bahama brand).  Thank you for mentioning that; he had fun with his palm shirts.

Diane, That shirt of Bob's is just soooo Coool. I wish I could find that sort of clothing somewhere. Love it.

regards

Tyrone

Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.

 

 

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That shirt of Bob's is just soooo Coool. I wish I could find that sort of clothing somewhere.

I got them at Nordstrom in Seattle; Macy's carries them.  

I bought one on eBay:  Search in the clothing section either on Tommy Bahama shirt or the same phrase with your size following (use S or M or L or XL or XXL).  You can also search on Tommy Bahama Palm and some fun shirts will come up like the one Bob was wearing in the picture.  The shirts listed as new should still have the tags on.  They aren't cheap although with time you can find a bargain on a brand new one.  

Because they're silk and have to be dry cleaned, Bob saved his for meetings with his favorite palm lovers.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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When I travelled with my family to the United States in February Bob sent me several PMs with suggestions of places to visit and people to contact...He felt sorry that I only had scheduled a few days for Southern Florida and only one day for Fairchild TBG. He said I should also visit Montgomery, and may have even recommended me to Dr. Larry Noblick, who gave us a special tour of the gardens, along with John and Faith Bishock, who were also very kind. I felt sorry for not being able to meet RLR in person, as his Encyclopedia is my all time favorite palm book and considering my admiration for him, both for his Botanic knowledge and for the (usually) relaxed and entertaining conversational posts about other topics, including many delicious reflections about life, some of them in the palapa of the old Forum, not found in the archives anymore though.

I feel sorry I could never give him the music CD that I took with me to the States, in case we could meet. It was a new version of the Villa Lobos "Bachianas Brasileiras" that he had mentioned as being one of his fav piano tunes. I was planning to mail it for Christmas, along with some more interesting palm seeds.

Of course I will plant a special Palm in my garden in his honour. His books have touched me deeply. They are the best not just for the precise information they bring...His enthusiasm for the plants, unique magnificent descriptions, landscaping ideas and personal cultivation opinions are not found anywhere else.

Thanks everyone for the stories and memories about him and his life, especially from Diane.

Sirinhaém beach, 80 Km south of Recife - Brazil

Tropical oceanic climate, latitude 8° S

Temperature extremes: 25 to 31°C

2000 mm average rainfall, dry summers

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That's wonderful, about Bob and The Kampong.  

Is any of these

the tree under which Bob will rest?

I'd've posted the urls to the individual trees, except those pix are so huge that only a bit shows on my screen.

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I will ask Larry to send me a picture of the tree so I can post it here.

There's a little more to the story that I didn't realize until late last night.  

Many years ago on his first visit to The Kampong at the beginning of The Tropical Look, Larry Schokman gave Bob a gift to send along to me.  It was a huge brown pod which I still have and have kept close to me.  I love it.

Only last night did I realize it was from the same tree under which Bob's ashes will rest.  

"From these flowers within a few months are produced large, elongated, brown fruits, which are suspended on long stalks from the ends of the sometimes leafless branches...."

And so the circle continues.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Diane thank you for continuing to share the many sides of Bob that many of us were not privy to.  After the initial shock of an unexpected death, we really should look for reasons to rejoice in the life and experiences of the departed.  Bob has given us many reasons to cheer.  I remember pre-ordering the Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms on amazon.com.  When it arrived, my wife made a comment about "another palm book".  I had to inform her that this was "THE PALM BOOK".  It has been a constant companion and reference since.

Adasonia digitata is an impressive  tree with great social and cultural significance in regions where it naturally occurs.  The Dominica Botanic Gardens have several impressive specimens.  Here is a photo of one:

Adasonia digitata

P1010104.jpg

Trinidad!  Southernmost island in the Caribbean.

So many plants, So little space.

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Thank you, Diane for telling me about this site.  I did not know of Bob's passing until I found your e-mail tonight.  

I hardly know what to say.  

I remember quite clearly the first time I "met" Bob.  I was new to gardening and was doing mostly xeric stuff, or "weedy thangs" as Bob referred to them.  I was having a minor panic over my Caesalpinia gilliesii at a time when it was so heavy with flowers it seemed in danger of breaking.  I went to the CompuServe Gardening Forum and posted a question about them.  Within a very few minutes, Bob found and answered my question.  To this day I'm still following his advice about how and when to prune them.

And then Bob brought me to the world of tropicals and changed my gardening habits forever.  He gradually turned me into a crazed, zone-denying, obsessed Texaribbean. <gg>

He kept sending me bits of TTL as it was in progress and finally sent me an electronic copy of the whole thing months before it became available.  It remains the first souce I use when I have questions.

Luckily, Bob lived near enough so that I could visit with him in person either here (San Antonio ... [Hi, Rich ... Bob brought you to my house once and then you showed us a fabulous palm growing on the grounds of Ft. Sam Houston] or in Houston, usually at Connie Vackar's place.)  

I'm going to think long and hard about exactly what I will plant in my garden in Bob's memory.

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Bob (I love that name!), thanks for the history and photo of the tree; many of us will enjoy looking at it.  

I was busy today with a lot of phone calls and emails -- and some major mood dips.  I spent some time thinking about all the things I learned from Bob Riffle.  

An Honest Legacy

More important than anything to do with plants, music, movies, language and terrible, cutting humor is what he taught me about honesty.  Bob never pretended to be anything other than what he was.  He presented himself "as is" in a "take me or leave me" manner.  When he had no money, he was frank about it.  When he couldn't get out of bed before noon because he went to bed at 7 a.m., he told the truth.  I don't think he ever lied.  He was what he was and saw no reason to pretend to be anything else.  

I followed in his footsteps.  It's relaxing.  I am what I am.  I don't have to try to remember what I said because whatever it was, it was the truth.  It's actually very relaxing.  There are people who don't like what they see but the people who like us have no ugly surprises in the future.  He did me a great favor in teaching me this.

TTL Continued...Through The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Tropical Look (you can tell I'm a little better because I have the energy to italicize the title now) was written because so many of us needed one book WITH photos to help us on the early trails toward planting more palms and tropicals.  There are a lot of similar books now but in the late 80s and early 90s, pickings were slim.  As I said before, most of what's in that book came straight out of his brain.

But Bob's dream always was to do a comprehensive palm book, and when Timber offered he jumped.  (Well, his version of a jump; a sort of a snort followed by something negative to ward off bad luck.)  

He started the book in Houston, and it was a rocky start.  He was extremely worried about the photos -- he didn't have the means to travel and he didn't think he could get what the book needed without traveling.  

I am a person of faith and trust and convinced him to start writing the manuscript and we'd work on getting the photos.  He did write, but it was accompanied by a constant worry that the book would never be finished because of the lack of pictures.  

In the middle of this, he decided to sell the Houston house to a neighbor who wanted the property and wanted to keep as much of the garden as possible intact.  He went to Florida to find a new house; I think he made the selection based upon the fact that I couldn't find anything wrong with it in the information he provided and because he was tired of looking.  He made the right choice; after 60 years of no hurricanes in Fort Pierce, that house went through 5 of them in 3 years and only sustained minor damage (under $2,000) in the cat 5 one.  Of course he had "Lutheran prayers" (mine) protecting him.  

I don't remember exactly when Bob learned that Paul Craft would contribute the bulk of the missing photos which would make the book possible -- I just remember the first mention of it.  He was afraid to hope.  I was confident that prayers had been answered.  Maybe Paul can fill in this part for us.  

I have less information about the making of this book because Bob was more confident, had more contacts and was able to solicit contributions on his own in most cases.  I was there when he hit a brick wall -- I can usually figure a way around them pretty quickly.  But on this one, it was Bob and Paul and many of the people in the IPS and on this board who made the parts of the book a whole.  

When this book was published, his dedication was "To the two Ds in my life, Diana Gabaldon and Diane Laird"  You know me now.  Diana Gabaldon has been a friend of Bob's since the 80s.  She's an international best-selling fiction author and Bob's fairy godmother.  She was always there when he needed her and he loved her dearly.  He's mentioned in the back pages of her first novel, Outlander.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Mike (mggm) -- Thank you for posting here.  Because of the number of Bob's friends I've had to contact around the world, I'm afraid the news in my emails has been like being hit on the side of the head by a 2 x 4.  A form letter didn't seem appropriate but in retrospect it might have been more gentle.  

When you decide what you're planting, let us know...

D.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Robert Lee Riffle on Botanical Names

The use of and especially the pronunciation of Latinized botanical names is often difficult for the uninitiated--and sometimes not so easy for the “expert.” So why use these scientific names if they are difficult? The answer is threefold: 1) many of the plants described in the following text have no English common name; 2) many of the plants in the following text have many different common names which vary from one region to another; 3) there is only one botanical name for each species or hybrid or cultivar.

A botanical name consists of usually two, but often three words--the name is a binomial or trinomial--the genus name whose initial letter is always capitalized, followed by the species name whose initial letter is usually in lower case. The third name is that of a naturally occuring variety or a cultivar (a cultivated variety), the latter a form or variety of the species that is found only in horticulture and not in nature. These two or three words uniquely define a group of plants; no other group of plants has the same binomial or trinomial.

This classification is in some ways analagous to the naming of people--e.g., “Brown, Joe” defines a person in terms of his name but it’s obvious that it does not uniquely define the person’s name; i.e., you can bet money that there’s more than one Joe Brown in the world. “Joe Lee Brown” goes quite a bit further in uniquely naming the person but that trinomial is most likely not unique either; botanical names are more precise.

The trinomial with genus, species and variety, Aechmea caudata var. variegata, defines a unique subset of plants within the larger set of those known as “Aechmea caudata”--in this case the plants in the smaller set have variegated leaves as opposed to the larger group that does not; and the trinomial, Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’, works in the same way except that the third name refers to a horticultural form, not one found naturally. Note that the genus and species names as well as naturally occurring variety names are always printed in italics whereas the horticultural form or variety names--the cultivar names--are not; rather they are always printed inside single quotation marks.

The experienced gardener may be wondering at this point about the nomenclature and inscription of hybrids. They are written as "Bauhinia x blakeana" if the cross was made within the genus--in this case Bauhinia--and as “X Fatshedera lizei” for crosses made between two different genera--in this case Fatsia and Hedera. Most hybrids are artificially created but some are found naturally between different but related species and even genera which inhabit adjacent regions in the natural world.

As can be readily surmised, the fact that botanical names apply to groups of plants is one reason that these names can be unique--unique for the population or group of plants under consideration. There is not just one Aechmea caudata plant in the world; there is a population of these plants with enough constant similarities between the individual members to be referred to with a binomial or trinomial description.

It is useful and quite interesting also to know the even broader relationships of plants; all Aechmea species are related to a much larger group of plants with common characteristics, the bromeliads. This much larger assemblage of plants is the family of plants known as “bromeliads,” members of the Bromeliad Family, Bromeliaceae. A family is simply a larger group of plants with common characteristics.

Humankind’s passion for classification does not stop at this level, of course; above the family level are classifications of ever broader scope up to the level of distinguishg plants from animals, a very basic distinction. The concept of a family of plants is often very useful as it can tell the plant lover much information about the type of plant and its needs. For example the Bromeliad Family consists of plants found only in the western hemisphere, the Americas, most of them being tropical in origin and epiphytic in nature, with flowers all of a similar and basic form.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Hi Diane,

With your insight and knowledge of RLR, his friendships,his interests, have you thought of writing the life and times of his fascinating life. The memories you have been sharing with us have been wonderful. i could imagine what would come out during such an undertaking

thank you for your memories

regards

colin

coastal north facing location

100klm south of Sydney

NSW

Australia

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Colin, thank you. It was nice to wake up to your message (3 a.m. in Seattle).  Normally at this time of night, I would be able to reach for the phone and call RLR and talk until we both got sleepy.  He would answer with a surprised and pleased tone of voice the way people do when they unexpectedly hear from someone they love.  

Our late-night calls (I'm 3 hours earlier than he was) would always end with my asking, "When are you going to bed?"  

He would always answer, "I don't know, but it will be soon."  It often wasn't.  

In the last year, I asked and answered the question at the end of the calls and for some reason we both laughed at that every time.  If he was still awake as the sun came up, he would finally surrender to the night and go to bed.

I don't know if there will be an opportunity for an article or something longer.  I will stay open to that.  For the time being, though, it makes me happy that the members of PalmTalk want to hear about Robert Lee Riffle and I'm content to tell you stories about him.  

I always did tell stories about him anyway -- I frequently made phone calls on his behalf in complicated business transactions because he had difficulty hearing (difficulty with almost everyone but me and my voice which he could always hear and understand).  While speaking with his banker or his doctor or his real estate agent, I'd tell them about his books and his musical talent and his powerful brain.  

But on his own, he developed "fans" who never knew anything about his books.  Even at the grocery store, certain clerks would wave him over to their check stands because they enjoyed seeing and talking with him (the night shift of course).  They knew absolutely nothing about him except that he was nice and fun and had a fine sense of humor.

We were often competitive with each other in funny ways.  At the end of most of our phone calls, I'd say "I love you."

He'd say, "I love you more" and then make a sort of squeak because he knew what was coming next:

I'd reply, "I love you the most!"  And of course I'd win.  A silly game; but he was dark and I was the light for his life.  I made him laugh every day.  And then he would say with a warm smile in his voice…

"'Night, love."

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Diane, Thankyou for providing us with a clearer picture of Bob, one we would never have seen from the cyber space platform alone. I would love to see you write some sort of biography on him, you know with pictures. Admittedly what you are writing about him at the moment is a sort of biography, and it's captivating reading. Also I can't ever recall Bob posting any pictures of his own garden, such as his favourite spot in the garden, his favourite palm etc. He may have done so, but I can't recall it.

You know I'd hope that one day a palm would be named after him, especially after you've been discussing palm nomenclature. There are many unnamed Dypsis out there that need a full description and botanical name for instance. Unnamed palms would exist in other genera too. Dypsis rifflii has a nice ring too it. Just a thought to all the palm botanists out there.

best regards

Tyrone

Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.

 

 

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I endorse Tyrone's request, Diane; please do it. I'm just beginning to realise the enormity of what I've lost.

Philip Wright

Sydney southern suburbs

Frost-free within 20 km of coast

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(Tyrone @ Aug. 16 2006,07:45)

QUOTE
You know I'd hope that one day a palm would be named after him, especially after you've been discussing palm nomenclature.

Tyrone, I agree with you. Bob is one of those who would deserve a palm named in their honour.

Cheers, Jan

N48° 19'12.42", E18°06'50.15"

continental climate somewhat moderated by the influence of the mediterranean sea, atlantic ocean and north sea water masses but still prone to arctic blasts from the east as well as hot and dry summers. pushing the limits is exciting.

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(Tyrone @ Aug. 16 2006,07:45)

QUOTE
Diane, Thankyou for providing us with a clearer picture of Bob, one we would never have seen from the cyber space platform alone. I would love to see you write some sort of biography on him, you know with pictures. Admittedly what you are writing about him at the moment is a sort of biography, and it's captivating reading. Also I can't ever recall Bob posting any pictures of his own garden, such as his favourite spot in the garden, his favourite palm etc. He may have done so, but I can't recall it.

You know I'd hope that one day a palm would be named after him, especially after you've been discussing palm nomenclature. There are many unnamed Dypsis out there that need a full description and botanical name for instance. Unnamed palms would exist in other genera too. Dypsis rifflii has a nice ring too it. Just a thought to all the palm botanists out there.

best regards

Tyrone

Tyrone...maybe that fine leaved Dypsis Ambositrae that no one can figure out what/where/when/why/who. I t needs a name,no? It's a beautiful palm...

Maybe it could be a cause championed by those of us on the IPS Board.

Diane...when I asked Sat a/m if someone could shed some light on who Bob was, I had no idea someone would/could come thru as you have...thanks, keep it coming.

If global warming means I can grow Cocos Nucifera, then bring it on....

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I can't believe it.  I always pictured Bob as a younger, healthy man.  I wish now that I had taken the time to find out more about him, while he was still with us, I guess I didn't think there was any kind of urgency.  His personality always came across as that of a much younger man.  He devoted so much of his recent time to firstly restoring the old forum, after the crash and then getting the new forum up and running, now I just wish he had been spending more time with his palms and loved ones.  He obviously loved  the forum and didn't mind spending time in an administative role or discussing things with the rest of us, but somehow I feel like that time could have been better spent.  Well it's too late for regrets, his legacy will last for many years and, as I've yet to purchase the "good book", there is still much he can teach me.

I will miss you Bob, but your soul will live on in what you have created.

]

Corey Lucas-Divers

Dorset, UK

Ave Jul High 72F/22C (91F/33C Max)

Ave Jul Low 52F/11C (45F/7C Min)

Ave Jan High 46F/8C (59F/15C Max)

Ave Jan Low 34F/1C (21F/-6C Min)

Ave Rain 736mm pa

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I am so fortunate that you’re enjoying the memories of my great friend.  When someone’s body dies, having a receptive audience when you want to reminisce about the person is a wonderful blessing and luxury.

As I said, I will stay open to doing something formal in writing and see what crosses my path – a lot crosses my particular path.  Like Robert Lee Riffle.

However.  I have been in on the birthing process of 3 books with RLR (and several others with close friends).  For Bob Riffle, it was about as easy as giving birth to a Steinway.  Without drugs.  It doesn’t make one anxious to write a book!

Regarding Bob’s Florida garden:  When he moved to Florida, I asked him if he would plant another.  He was in the middle of the Encyclopedia and physically and emotionally exhausted from the move.  He told me no.  I let it go, knowing that he was near his beloved Kampong and Fairchild and Montgomery.  But as the years passed, people would give him a palm here and there and he’d attend sales and bring one or two home.  Finally, the bug bit again and he recently just finished filling the property around his house.  I remember a post here about a plant sale and how he had stuffed more palms into his car than anyone thought possible.  I wonder if that message still exists?  It made me burst out laughing when I read it.  

Bob's neighbor, Jean Smith, is going to take some photos tomorrow.  I’m trying to keep the palms watered (from Kirkland WA!) and will talk to Jean about keeping the area maintained.  Hopefully we can have someone take some large digital images of the plants he has.  

Bob was talking about a digital camera and we were looking for one that would be comfortable for him to use.  Someone else got his manual dexterity and his eyesight wasn’t at its best, so it had to be a camera with larger buttons and icons.  Also, he was supposed to be finishing The Pocket Guide to Palms and I often had to forcefully shove him back onto the writing track.  A camera would have been a major distraction before his deadline.

The Pocket Guide held no writing joy for him because it is a condensation of what he’s written before.  He kept adding words and then had to subtract not only those but the earlier words.  That book will come out, but more about that later.

I’m going to skip ahead a bit and give you a verbal picture of his garden that came to me in an email in June of 2005.  I’m taking out part of his comments about a movie in case children are reading this  :> .  (There is a reference to people from our old Gardening Forum that would take too long to explain; leave it at the fact that they too often described what RLR called “weedy thangs” as “magical.”)  The time stamp is West Coast US, it was nearly 8 in the morning when he sent it.  This particular picture doesn’t contain palms:

From: rlriffle@

Sent: Sunday, June 05, 2005 4:57 AM

To: dianelaird

Subject: thinking of youse, love

I stopped working on the g.d. book ca. 3 hours ago.  Quite depressed that I’m not AT ALL enjoying doing it.  Not ANY of the adventure is there that was in the first two thangs …. It’s a feeling akin to being constipated!

Anyway, ca, 3 hrs ago I stopped the insanity and watched most of a movie I’d had on a mental list for many moons now: URBANIA.  “Vincent” (Dan Futterman is the star, and that’s why it was on the mental and physical list.) HOWEVER, because of the goddamned book composition, I haven’t had the time to go thru the current DirecTV movie guide and therefore didn’t know in advance it was to be broadcast.  As with most of the flicks I want to see AND RECORD, it was the only time this month (at least) that it’s being shown.  It is beautiful and moving, and HE is now known to moi as a superior actor…  It’s on DVD at Amazon, so guess what I DID …. !  Ebert, of course, doesn’t have a review.  If you have the time -- and the energy, go read the summary/comments on www.IMDB.com about it.

Anyway (numero deux), I got up to make another drink (an hour ago now) and, after doing thus, looked out and saw, once again, the moon flowers covering the fence on the north side of the backyard, but also, this time, behind the property (west) as well, in the woods—amazingly bright and beautiful, especially with a few yellow allamanda blossoms atop the fence to accompany the white against the dark green.  AND there’s a whole HERD of bunnies grazing on the all-too-tall grass cum wildflowers who look rather like diminutive versions of the herbivorous dinosaurs (Brontosaurus) in the flick JURASSIC PARK.  I bet the GENIous bitches of the old GardenForum would say “magical.!!”

I, of course, won’t be saying (or thinking) that adjective when I awake later today and realize how much I _still_ have to do to get rid of the POCKET GUIDE TO PALMS curse.  

But I’ll ALSO remember that ….

I LOVE YOU THE MOST!

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Wow. I never had the opportunity to talk on the phone with Bob, but I was with Richard T several times when he was on the phone with Bob. I wish now I had gotten his phone number and called him up now. I know once after we found the new population of Sabal mauritiiformis in Tamaulipas, Richard called"Riffle" up to tell him about it. I know both of them referred to me as "The Boy", and Bob would sometimes end his PMs to me as "The Old Man."  

Thanks Diane for sharing more about Bob and sheddign some light on him, more than just the Moderator side of him.

Zac

Zac  

Living to get back to Mexico

International Palm Society member since 2007

http://community.webshots.com/user/zacspics - My Webshots Gallery

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Zac, don't feel bad about not calling Bob -- you probably would have gotten a busy signal!   Or....if you have normal human being hours, he would have been in bed asleep while you were up.  

He told me all about the trips you and Richard went on, he loved hearing the reports from RichTrav who was one of Bob's greatest friends.  

It delighted him to see young people ("two yoots") like you and Kyle have such a love for palms.  His legacy is especially for you to carry on.

You can hear his voice whenever you want in his books -- it's the best part of them.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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For Mike Burnett and Linda Gay -- I remembered last night one of my last conversations with B -- He told me he was planning a trip back to Houston.  "It's time," he said.

Of course he was planning the trip with the right side of his brain and thought it would be efficient to combine it with the next hurricane evacuation.  "ABSOLUTELY NOT" I said.  

So we were discussing logistics of realistic transportation options so he would not only plan the trip but actually arrive in Houston this time.  

I think it would have been a road trip with short driving hours, because he didn't have it in him to go through what some of the airports are doing to their passengers.

At any rate, the trip was real in his mind and you should know that he was willing to go to what would be extreme measures for him to see the two of you again.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Thanks Diane- From February til Mayish, I was working a 2nd shift job and was keeping the same hours as Bob, so the time for  calling was right. I am glad to hear that he shared things about our trips with you. I know I enjoyed getting to go see all of the things I saw in Mexico. They have been interesting trips. I know I had PMed Bob about where to go on this last trip. I wanted to go to Veracruz and Rich wanted to go to Sonora. I was in a bit of a jam, so I PMed Bob about it. I wish that I would have saved it, but that was on the other board and the crash happened so fast. He said that both were equally beautiful in their own ways.

Zac

Zac  

Living to get back to Mexico

International Palm Society member since 2007

http://community.webshots.com/user/zacspics - My Webshots Gallery

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His personality always came across as that of a much younger man.

Corey, here's how it works:  You become the person you are and your body ages around you.  Old people who seem old were like that when they were 20; you just can't see it clearly then because the young body camouflages it.  

You are right that he was a young man; he loved, he laughed, he had fun, he played, he learned, he taught, he was delighted by people and plants and events.  And he had a drink or two at the end of his day.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Jam, your account of becoming fascinated with Australasian turtles rather reminds me of the process I went through when falling in love with palms.  I remember spending literally hours poring over the only (at the time) book that treated all known palm genera: Palms of the World by James McCurrach. There were photos form all around the world, including, of course, all the great tropical botanic gardens and I remember wondering if I'd ever even get to Florida (Fairchild or California (The Huntington).  Well, I not only finally got to go to FL, I now reside 2 hours from Fairchild.  But the most overwhelming experience for me was when I got invited to The Kampong, David Fairchild's estate in Miami.  I was far from being a kid by then but I was still so moved by the experience that I was almost shedding tears as I signed the guest book.  I think every child should be given copies of Fairie's books, along with a good encyclopedia.  I know a lot of the stuff is on the net but I still believe there's something better about a book, especially if the child owns it ....

Fat chance nowadays, eh?

I got this quote from here , and I must say that I need to go find copies of Fairie's books as Bob calls him. I know I checked out one of David's books several years ago from the University library. I didn't ever get the chance to read it though. This is now on my to-do-in-memory-of-Bob list.

Zac

Zac  

Living to get back to Mexico

International Palm Society member since 2007

http://community.webshots.com/user/zacspics - My Webshots Gallery

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A Pocket Guide to Palms by Robert Lee Riffle

Timber Press

I’ve been working with RLR’s editor at Timber Press and the book is being reviewed to be published on time.  (The deadline on the manuscript was August 15.)  

We may have questions of some of you should they arise in the review process.  

D.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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(STEVE IN SO CAL @ Aug. 16 2006,10:33)

QUOTE

(Tyrone @ Aug. 16 2006,07:45)

QUOTE
You know I'd hope that one day a palm would be named after him, especially after you've been discussing palm nomenclature. There are many unnamed Dypsis out there that need a full description and botanical name for instance. Unnamed palms would exist in other genera too. Dypsis rifflii has a nice ring too it. Just a thought to all the palm botanists out there.

best regards

Tyrone

Tyrone...maybe that fine leaved Dypsis Ambositrae that no one can figure out what/where/when/why/who. I t needs a name,no? It's a beautiful palm...

Maybe it could be a cause championed by those of us on the IPS Board.

Diane...when I asked Sat a/m if someone could shed some light on who Bob was, I had no idea someone would/could come thru as you have...thanks, keep it coming.

Yes, I think we should take up that cause - he ought to have a palm named after him.  It would have to be a very attractive and vigorous palm - so the fine leaf would make a good candidate.  But regardless of which is chosen, this is something that ought to be done.

Tyrone, in addition to the tiny bit of his plantings in the ECP - somewhere online there is a pic of his garden, not a lot - just a little corner of it.   If not on this site, then perhaps it's on a TX gardening forum.  

And I'll add my thanks to Diane for all these stories about who RLR really was - the more that is written about him, the more obvious it is what a unique and wonderful person he was.

St. Pete

Zone - a wacked-out place between 9b & 10

Elevation = 44' - not that it does any good

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I'll "3rd" that motion! ?   I think I have a nice one growing right now.

Zone 10a at best after 2007 AND 2013, on SW facing hill, 1 1/2 miles from coast in Oceanside, CA. 30-98 degrees, and 45-80deg. about 95% of the time.

"The great workman of nature is time."   ,  "Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience."

-George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon-

I do some experiments and learning in my garden with palms so you don't have to experience the pain! Look at my old threads to find various observations and tips!

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(Diane Kirkland @ Aug. 16 2006,12:45)

QUOTE
His personality always came across as that of a much younger man.

Corey, here's how it works:  You become the person you are and your body ages around you.  Old people who seem old were like that when they were 20; you just can't see it clearly then because the young body camouflages it.  

You are right that he was a young man; he loved, he laughed, he had fun, he played, he learned, he taught, he was delighted by people and plants and events.  And he had a drink or two at the end of his day.

Diane- Thanks for putting to print what had rattled around in my head for years.....

I have a phone booth at my house and I used to drive a 69 Cadillac Hearse for a race car tow vehicle (in White).  I just have a fun outlook on life as I would venture most of us here do. I'm just now noticing my body complaining a bit more about what I want to do.

Thanks for all again,

Bill

Zone 10a at best after 2007 AND 2013, on SW facing hill, 1 1/2 miles from coast in Oceanside, CA. 30-98 degrees, and 45-80deg. about 95% of the time.

"The great workman of nature is time."   ,  "Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience."

-George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon-

I do some experiments and learning in my garden with palms so you don't have to experience the pain! Look at my old threads to find various observations and tips!

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(Zac in NC @ Aug. 16 2006,12:56)

QUOTE
Jam, your account of becoming fascinated with Australasian turtles rather reminds me of the process I went through when falling in love with palms.  I remember spending literally hours poring over the only (at the time) book that treated all known palm genera: Palms of the World by James McCurrach. There were photos form all around the world, including, of course, all the great tropical botanic gardens and I remember wondering if I'd ever even get to Florida (Fairchild or California (The Huntington).  Well, I not only finally got to go to FL, I now reside 2 hours from Fairchild.  But the most overwhelming experience for me was when I got invited to The Kampong, David Fairchild's estate in Miami.  I was far from being a kid by then but I was still so moved by the experience that I was almost shedding tears as I signed the guest book.  I think every child should be given copies of Fairie's books, along with a good encyclopedia.  I know a lot of the stuff is on the net but I still believe there's something better about a book, especially if the child owns it ....

Fat chance nowadays, eh?

I got this quote from here , and I must say that I need to go find copies of Fairie's books as Bob calls him. I know I checked out one of David's books several years ago from the University library. I didn't ever get the chance to read it though. This is now on my to-do-in-memory-of-Bob list.

Zac

Zac, I remember that topic (not sure why some of my posts do not show). Bob ended the thread writing:

jam, I suspect your wife married you BECAUSE she knew you'd be "a kid" for the rest of your life.

I need to print this out and stick it on the fridge. Just in case :D

N48° 19'12.42", E18°06'50.15"

continental climate somewhat moderated by the influence of the mediterranean sea, atlantic ocean and north sea water masses but still prone to arctic blasts from the east as well as hot and dry summers. pushing the limits is exciting.

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(SunnyFl @ Aug. 16 2006,23:00)

QUOTE

(STEVE IN SO CAL @ Aug. 16 2006,10:33)

QUOTE

(Tyrone @ Aug. 16 2006,07:45)

QUOTE
You know I'd hope that one day a palm would be named after him, especially after you've been discussing palm nomenclature. There are many unnamed Dypsis out there that need a full description and botanical name for instance. Unnamed palms would exist in other genera too. Dypsis rifflii has a nice ring too it. Just a thought to all the palm botanists out there.

best regards

Tyrone

Tyrone...maybe that fine leaved Dypsis Ambositrae that no one can figure out what/where/when/why/who. I t needs a name,no? It's a beautiful palm...

Maybe it could be a cause championed by those of us on the IPS Board.

Diane...when I asked Sat a/m if someone could shed some light on who Bob was, I had no idea someone would/could come thru as you have...thanks, keep it coming.

Yes, I think we should take up that cause - he ought to have a palm named after him.  It would have to be a very attractive and vigorous palm - so the fine leaf would make a good candidate.  But regardless of which is chosen, this is something that ought to be done.

Tyrone, in addition to the tiny bit of his plantings in the ECP - somewhere online there is a pic of his garden, not a lot - just a little corner of it.   If not on this site, then perhaps it's on a TX gardening forum.  

And I'll add my thanks to Diane for all these stories about who RLR really was - the more that is written about him, the more obvious it is what a unique and wonderful person he was.

Yes, I was thinking Dypsis sp Fine Leaf formerly erroneously called ambositrae, or even Bo's Dypsis Orange Crush. I spose though it's up to the scientifically trained botanists to make the decision as to what is named what etc. I'd love Bob to have a palm named after him. But I'm a mere mortal and at the bottom of the food chain in the palm world, so I don't want to unduly coerce the big names in palm botany to do it. They'll have to want to do it. I think they will one day. :)

regards

Tyrone

Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.

 

 

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An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

I just noticed, after all these years, that I’ve been calling this books “TheEncyclopedia of Cultivated Palms!

The writing of this book was much more difficult than the first.  Information had to come from first-hand sources around the world and obtaining it was time consuming.  And the lack of photos almost sank the project more than once.  It was now the age of digital photography but digital photos were absolutely not acceptable by Timber Press because of their low resolution.  Slides were very difficult to come by.  In rare cases, prints were accepted.  Another hurdle was that slides contributed had to be original, not copies, and Timber Press kept them for a long period of time during the printing of the book.  

There were a lot of decisions to be made on some photos of poor quality but the only ones to be found for some of the more obscure palms.  Even knowing that the reviewers and critics would mention this, I encouraged RLR to include these photos if he could find a degree of comfort in doing so.  It seemed to me that people with a palm passion would always want to have at least a glimpse of a rare palm in a poor photograph rather than nothing at all.  

Bob wrestled with each photo individually and ultimately included as many as he could.  Timber Press rejected a few that just wouldn’t reproduce properly but they also relaxed their standards some for the benefit of the curious readers.

Another problem for RLR in both The Tropical Look and the Encyclopedia was the grouping of the photos.  This was often mentioned in reviews as distracting to the reader.  However, it was done to keep the book affordable and/or ultimately attainable to people who didn’t have the means to pay $100 for a book.  From the Preface:  “This book is intended primarily for gardeners and horticulturists….”

Sometimes Bob sent me copies of posts on message boards (and his answers) about the book.  I came across this response today; you might find the tidbits of information interesting:

(03/16/03 - 5:30 p.m.)

Gary, Tom & Jeff—

Thanks much for these words.

It makes all the long hours of  work for these last two years more than bearable now.  

Tom, the Butia x Jubaea were photographed on a cattle ranch in Highlands Co., Flowerida, a county which has scads of unknown or little known horticultural treasures, including the ancient Serenoa repens and all of those great plants that Walt Darnall photographs and posts in several forums.

A senor Vaughan Hathaway, lifelong resident of that county, drove Paul C and I around one day, showing us those BxJ as well as many other parts of the county.  VH is the young man pictured with the palms. I had to fight with Timber Press to include ANY poissons with the palms--won a few battles--and, if you look hard, you can find such palm notables as el presidente (Horace Hobbs),  Kohn L. Dowe,  Grant Stephenson’ derriere, and Rolf Kyburz.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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Paul Craft and An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

I want to say again that without Paul, this wonderful book would have been stillborn.  I'm lifting some information (without permission) (so shoot me)  :> from an email he sent me tonight to further explain his role:

"One reason Bob got me into the Encyclopedia was because of the 12,000 slides I had, but the other reason was the fact that I had worked with over 1500 palm species .......................... I really do not know how many species I have worked with, but it is at least that many.  I helped with providing much of the growing information in the Encyclopedia.  The main reason I have traveled is to learn how palms grow in habitats and under different growing conditions in Gardens elsewhere in the world.  It helped immensely in figuring out what various species need to grow their best.  Anyway, that is a little bit of my involvement with the Encyclopedia."

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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(Diane Kirkland @ Aug. 17 2006,02:45)

QUOTE
His personality always came across as that of a much younger man.

Corey, here's how it works:  You become the person you are and your body ages around you.  Old people who seem old were like that when they were 20; you just can't see it clearly then because the young body camouflages it.  

You are right that he was a young man; he loved, he laughed, he had fun, he played, he learned, he taught, he was delighted by people and plants and events.  And he had a drink or two at the end of his day.

Love that explanation on old and/or young Dianne.

How would the idea of naming a palm after Bob really be received by those in power ? It could only happen I would say by submission of recommendation by scientists with reasons and support of many signatures and it still would have trouble I'd venture to say.

I personally have no pulling power otherwise I'd be drafting up recommendations now. As for which palm, I'd forget about something new, why not recommend one of the popular existing palms or a hybrid like the foxy lady. Wodyeti riffilii, Corypha riffiliana perhaps.

Just a thought, Bob would laugh and think I was crazy but then he again, maybe some existing palms have lesser reasons for their current names.

A question, what family has Bob left behind ?

besides me..

Happy Gardening

Cheers,

Wal

Queensland, Australia.

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Just a small bump here. For those that did not notice, Diane has started a thread in the RLR forum asking for you'all to name his "favorite palms".  I don't know directly any, but I could probably venture a guess!

http://palmtalk.org/cgi-bin/forum/ikonboar...t=ST;f=11;t=865

Zone 10a at best after 2007 AND 2013, on SW facing hill, 1 1/2 miles from coast in Oceanside, CA. 30-98 degrees, and 45-80deg. about 95% of the time.

"The great workman of nature is time."   ,  "Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience."

-George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon-

I do some experiments and learning in my garden with palms so you don't have to experience the pain! Look at my old threads to find various observations and tips!

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Just a bit of explanation of the rules for naming plants.

The person (need not be a trained plant systematist, but almost always is) who proposes to recognize a new species provides a description and a Latin name.  The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature is the rulebook.  A newly described species is likely to be accepted by the botanical community if it was published in a journal that rigorously reviews papers submitted for publication.  Palms/Principes is such a journal.  

So giving an undescribed plant a scientific name is up to the person describing it.  Naming a plant for someone is a fine honor, but one that's hard to arrange.  Maybe there's a "riffleiana" or something like that in the future.

Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Current USDA hardiness zone 10a
4 km inland from Indian River; 27º N (equivalent to Brisbane)

Central Orlando's urban heat island may be warmer than us

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Just a small bump here. For those that did not notice, Diane has started a thread in the RLR forum asking for you'all to name his "favorite palms".  

Thanks, Bill.  Venture guesses.  

I thought of you yesterday -- I was in line at the post office to pick up the manuscript for A Pocket Guide to Palms.  They had an oldies station playing; Johnny Mathis, Twelfth of Never, was singing "I'll love you 'till the bluebells forget to bloom..."  I thought, hmmm....I could hop out of the white hearse and into your phone booth and call the old Texan and tell him Johnny was singing about him.  He did like those bluebells that Lady Bird planted all over Texas.

When I opened the manuscript, it was as all packages from RLR are, smoke scented.  I breathed it in deeply knowing it was my last package from him....stay tuned for the next story.

D.

Diane

East of Seattle & Lake Washington

in Kirkland

Zone 8

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