A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Frank Dorsey 1927-2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Imagine listening in to a conversation between two men. One says to the other, "Mine is smaller than yours." Indeed this would be a normal comment if the men were alpine gardeners (also called rock gardeners). But the consumate Vancouver alpine gardener Frank Dorsey , big and tall, with a voice much like Sean Connery's was much too polite to ever boast about his perfect and very small dwarf conifers and alpine plants. At Alpine Garden Club of BC meetings and shows he always went home with the most ribbons. He was a Friend of the Garden (FOG) at UBC for 16 years. Anybody who ever went to the yearly Mother's Day plant sale at the UBC Botanical Garden to line up at 7 am will remember Frank and his voice. With raffle tickets in hand he would loudly flog the delights of Meconopsis betonicifolia (the Himalayan blue poppy) and Cardiocrinum giganteum. But Frank's plants weren't always small. As a 20th century version of the 19th century British amateur gardener he loved and promoted all plants. I have a still small Rhododendron cinnabarinum that I bought from Frank. With its rich cinammon colored indumentum this is one of the most beautiful rhodondendrons. But more beautiful still was the way Frank pronounced that. Alas, he died Monday morning and I will never hear that voice again. I will miss him. Above you can see Frank in his garden holding a treasured selection of Rhodohypoxsis baurii a little bulb plant from South Africa.

Alpine Garden Club of BC


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