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Kehr Memorial Garden | profile | all galleries >>  the man... tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Kehr Memorial Garden | In Box |  the man... |  the planning... |  the plants... |  the planting... |  the dedication... |  the garden...

 the man...

Born in Frankfort KY and moving to Unadilla NY at an early age, Dr August E Kehr was a much-published researcher with sterling credentials. His Doctorate in Genetics from Cornell University with minors in Plant Pathology and Cytology led him to positions on the faculties of Louisiana State University and Iowa State University, and then to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and to the Agricultural Research Service as scientist and administrator.

Mary Lou and Augie moved to Hendersonville NC in 1978 when he retired from government service. They lived, appropriately, on Tranquility Place. There, with Mary Lou's active support, he continued many plant research and hybridization activities, with a focus on chemically inducing polyploidy in rhododendrons and magnolias with the use of colchicine and pre-emergent herbicides. Among his hybridizing goals were the development of yellow magnolias and a yellow evergreen azalea —and even such things as seedless pawpaws and heat-tolerant rhubarb!

While his technical achievements are impressive, they are completely overshadowed by his human qualities. Augie was exceptionally gentle and kind, and always generous of his time and plants with experts and neophytes alike. In some of his last correspondence with a friend, they discussed how much enjoyment plants had given them over the years, and even more important than that, the enjoyment they had received from the people that grew the plants.

To see a larger image, and more information in a few cases, click its image, below. (If you have an image of Augie in action that you are willing to share, please email Bob Stelloh about it.)
Home in Silver Spring, Maryland . . . complete with greenhouse. c1958-1978

Home in Silver Spring, Maryland . . . complete with greenhouse. c1958-1978

Leaving the site of his future magnolia garden at Tranquility Place, c1980

Leaving the site of his future magnolia garden at Tranquility Place, c1980

Coming from his magnolia garden, behind their house in Hendersonville. May 2000.

Coming from his magnolia garden, behind their house in Hendersonville. May 2000.

1973 ARS convention, Pittsburgh PA. L-R: ??, Dr Robert Ticknor (?), Augie, Betty Hager (?), ??

1973 ARS convention, Pittsburgh PA. L-R: ??, Dr Robert Ticknor (?), Augie, Betty Hager (?), ??

Admiring the native R. vaseyi on Pilot Mountain, NC

Admiring the native R. vaseyi on Pilot Mountain, NC

Mary Lou and Augie Kehr, 1993

Mary Lou and Augie Kehr, 1993

At the June 2001 Azalea Society of America convention, Asheville NC, with Ed and Mary Collins.

At the June 2001 Azalea Society of America convention, Asheville NC, with Ed and Mary Collins.

Celebrating Mary Lou's 90th birthday, September 14, 2001

Celebrating Mary Lou's 90th birthday, September 14, 2001

With his daughter, Janet Flick, at Mary Lou's birthday celebration

With his daughter, Janet Flick, at Mary Lou's birthday celebration

Dr August E Kehr: March 2, 1914 - September 27, 2001

Dr August E Kehr: March 2, 1914 - September 27, 2001