Friday, August 9, 2013

The Don of Peonies
By Reiner Jakubowski
For those who don't know, Don Hollingsworth was awarded the Bertrand H. Farr Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Peony Society (APS) Convention held in Longwood Gardens in early June.  Don has been an influential person in the peony world for over 40 years. Here is a bit of his history.  Elected to the Board of Directors of the APS in June 1976, he continues to this day in  that capacity. He was the President of the APS from 1986-88 and from 1993-95. Don has contributed well over 100 submissions to the APS Bulletin, beginning in March 1970, has written material written specifically for "The American Hybrid Peony."

He is an active contributor and plays a leadership role in the hybridizer's group "Paeonia." Don is the originator of 60 registered peonies, beginning with 6 in 1984, which included 'Garden Treasure', still a serious contender for the best of this type. He has been a registrant of a dozen originations from  other breeders' work in which he found value.  Then there are all those activities that can't be tabulated but include being a mentor and an adviser to up-start peony breeders as well as supporting their efforts with pollen and breeding stock from his garden. He is a strong supporter of the APS and the regional peony societies through donations of peonies for fund raising sales and auctions.

It is good that Don intends to keep his hand in the game. As A.P. Saunders, also wise, wrote many years ago:  "I have spoken elsewhere of the longevity of peony growers, and I truly believe that there is an influence that comes into our lives through a close and loving contact with the plants of earth, which keeps us sane and calm amid the uncertainties and the inevitable griefs of life, and which may very well tend thereby to lengthen our own days as well as make them happier." (A. P. Saunders, March, 1922.)

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