Seedsmen Hall of Fame
Honoring Horticulturalists

Memories about
Elwyn M. Meader

-----Original Message-----
From: aziz@XXXXXXXXX
Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2011 7:16 AM
Subject: memories of Elywyn O. Meader

In the 1990's my husband and I put up a small home on the Meaderboro Road on a 15-acre property on the dirt road in New Durham on the Strafford-Belknap County line. We became involved in various projects, from where to situate the house, what to grow if anything, how to manage the overall environment. I heard of the plant breeder E. M. Meader who lived a few miles down the Meaderboro Road in Rochester. We decided to ask his advice regarding our plan for a small fruit orchard, what varieties.

Upon arriving at his territory, we saw him sawing some trees by hand, of all things, and apparently he had never used a chain saw. He was up in his 80's and graciously showed us around his property.

When we asked him regarding appropriate fruit trees for our own place, he said that he knew well our own territory, and he came up in his car to have a look. Before coming, he said, "...and I will bring you some rhododendrons but you must let me pick the spot for planting."

He stuck a spade into the ground and yanked up six small rhododendrons. When we arrived at our own property, he looked around and said, "Here's the spot...leave them alone and they will do just fine."  So he turned over the soil, stuck in the tiny bushes one by one and tamped his foot down - simply done. I also indicated that a lilac bush was not doing too well. He gave the bush a casual look, then noticed the chimney for our wood-burning stove. He said that the bush needed potash, then told us to throw the fireplace ashes on the soil. I asked him how he could tell that there was a potassium deficiency?  He said, "merely by looking at the leaves." And of course he turned out to be correct.  I then ultimately selected a variety of dwarf fruit trees, two of which were Meader's breeding.

A decade later I attended my son's wedding on that property, and though I no longer owned the house, the rhododendrons had grown to a five plus foot height, leaves healthy and all, lilac bush totally healthy. The fruit trees were doing only so-so, apparently through lack of care.

In the construction of the house, my husband dragged up some boulders one-by-one and lined the driveway with the typical New England stonewall. Meader noticed this, and he said that that was a fine thing to do, saying that there was--if I remember correctly-- a way in which these walls are good for bee pollination, saying something regarding the symbiosis between bees, and mice who would make nests in the rock hollows.

M. Aziz
Washington, D.C.

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