Guest Speaker Bios
David Taylor has been growing pelargoniums seriously for over 30 years. Always interested in gardening from a young age David helped his mother and father, both very keen gardeners, out in their large garden in Hampshire, England. David’s father specialized in Fuchsia’s and his expert knowledge about composts and fertilizers was absorbed by David for future use.
|David Taylor (left) receiving the ‘Best Dwarf Zonal’ in the show at the 2018 National Pelargonium Show, UK.|
Once married and owning his own home David began to grow a number of different types of plants with creative success in planning out his garden with various types of flowers which, at the time, were all grown from seed on windowsills at his home. It was not until work commitments, in Government service, saw him move to Reading in Berkshire, England. In the garden of his new home there was quite a sizable glasshouse with a power supply and David thought he would make use of this. A local pelargonium society was brought to his attention and David soon joined this and a new collection of pelargoniums began to grow from his glasshouse.
David soon picked up tips from some of the many top growers at the ‘Reading Geranium Society’ including John Thorp who had recently retired from running his own Pelargonium Nursery. David excelled in the exhibitions the society held each year winning ‘best in show’ on a number of occasions. With his excitement growing he soon joined the two national pelargonium societies that existed in the UK at the time, and began to exhibit at the national shows again with much success.
Over time David took on various roles involved in running both the local Reading Geranium Society as Secretary and the national British Pelargonium and Geranium Society where he became magazine editor. He was also heavily involved in establishing a web presence for pelargoniums as the medium grew from the late 1990’s. In the early 2000’s David began to undertake Pelargonium lectures for Societies and specialist clubs around the UK with him traveling all over the UK lecturing to many hundreds of people over the years. In 2008 David was heavily involved in the diplomatic work required to amalgamate the two national Pelargonium societies at the time to form the UK’s Pelargonium and Geranium Society which was established in 2009and still exists today.
|P. Gosbrook Susannah
|P. Robin Louise
In 2005 with a number of specialist pelargonium nurseries in the UK closing, David decided to leave his career in government service to set up his own pelargonium nursery. By now David had added two other glasshouses to his set up in Reading, Berkshire and he began selling some plants from this site and also began a limited mail order service. David was overwhelmed with its initial success and the decision was made to move to larger premises some 50 miles further west near Swindon in Wiltshire, England. Here, David invested in a large commercial glasshouse where he sold a comprehensive range of pelargoniums. Having started his nursery in Gosbrook Road in Reading, Berkshire David named the nursery the Gosbrook Pelargonium Nursery and retained this at his new site.
Whilst at the nursery David began experimenting with his own breeding programme with the longer-term aim of being able to release his own bred plants in his colourful annual catalogue. It wasn’t long before a number of notable new varieties were able to be released including the dwarf Zonals ‘Jacky Tickner’, ‘Gosbrook Susannah’ and ‘Shrivenham Star’, the scented Angel ‘Berry Zest’ the dwarf Stellar ‘Robyn Louise’ and the miniature zonal ‘Gillian Martin’. In 2015 David decided to retire having completed 10 years of trading in the nursery and achieved his goal of undertaking his dream of working professionally in horticulture.
Until a year ago David worked as Editor of the Pelargonium and Geranium Society’s news magazine and since 2015 David has been the Society’s ‘YouTube’ Vlogger (search the Pelargonium and Geranium Society on YouTube) David also continues to breed pelargoniums today with a number of his new varieties continuing to be released by Fibrex Nursery in the UK on an annual basis.
Since retiring most of David’s efforts in the Pelargonium world have been in exhibition and he is currently national UK champion having won ‘Best in Show’ at the UK National Pelargonium Show in June 2018. David had previously won this award in 2015 and 2016.
Wayne Handlos grew up in Wisconsin where he went to college (B.Sc., University of Wisconsin – River Falls), then studied horticulture and bred roses and garden mums at the University of Minnesota for a year.
After a two year stint in Ethiopia with the Peace Corp teaching high school biology, he went to Cornell University for his Ph.D. in plant taxonomy. After teaching at Rutgers University – Newark, he and his wife and two small children went off to Zambia, Malawi and Botswana where he taught at local universities for the next 12+ years.
Upon returning to the U.S. they owned a nursery and florist shop in Minnesota for the next 15 years. In 2002 they came to California for retirement, grandchildren and Pelargoniums.
Robin Parer is an Australian born horticulturist who lectures frequently to garden groups and societies throughout the United States. She has appeared in several Horticulture Magazine Symposiums in various parts of the country, and has spoken at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show and the Middleburg, VA, Horticultural Symposium. She has lectured in South Africa, England, Australia, as well as the East and West Coasts.
She has also written numerous articles on the Geranium Family including an article for Horticulture Magazine. She has also been featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine, Sunset magazine, The New York Times, House and Garden Magazine as well as having appeared in many other newspaper and magazine articles, in blog posts and on the radio. She wrote A Plant Lovers Guide to Hardy Geranium which was published by Timber Press in 2016.
Robin Parer has owned and operated Geraniaceae Nursery in Marin County near San Francisco, California for the past thirty six years, and has collected and propagated over 500 geranium species, selected color forms and hybrids. She also has a large collection of erodium species, scented leaf pelargonium, Martha Washington (Regal) pelargoniums, angel and pansy face pelargonium and pelargonium species from Southern Africa. She has traveled widely, collecting both in the field, and from nurseries in the U.K., Europe, South America, Southern Africa and Australasia.
She is a regular participant in the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. She has won Best of Show several times for her Marketplace Exhibit, and has also received an Outstanding Marketing Presentation Award. She has also received an Annual Award from The California Horticultural Society for Outstanding and Meritorious Contributions to Horticulture in California.
Specimen plants from her collection of Geraniaceae are displayed in a one acre demonstration garden along with a collection ofperennial flowering shrubs, and garden sculpture by local artists. The garden and nursery are open by appointment.
Tom Glavich is a long time grower of succulent plants, with wide ranging interests that encompass the succulent plants of South Africa including Pelargoniums. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America, and one of the co-chairs of the Inter-City Cactus and Succulent Show held at the Arboretum every August.
His interest in Pelargoniums was encouraged at first by Michael Vassar, one of the great Southern California growers, and Charles Craib of South Africa, who provided many geophytic pelargoniums, seeds and photographs along with bulbs and other geophytic wonders.
Recent enthusiasm has been the influenced by several trips to South Africa to see plants in habitat and see first-hand the multiple genera and species with simultaneous flowerings that attract an array of pollinators.