Visit with Dr Frank Brown

Jeff Searle

Well-Known Member
After some early planning and a couple of phone conversations w/ Frank, I hit the road yesterday to visit my long time friend. The purpose for going was for a couple of reasons, one to visit and talk plants and to check on his health and well being, and two, see the status of his garden.

For most of you that might not know, Frank is now 94 years young and has a remarkably high level of energy and "get up and go". He's still recovering from a fall a few months ago in his garden ( tripped on a hose ) where he then fractured his hip. He usues a walker on wheels and stated that he goes out into the garden approx. 6 times daily to walk the grounds. He's thinking of uping that to 10X's a day to speed up his recovery. I smiled! We talked about various things including the society, the poor economy and it's effects it's having on nurseries and of course his pigeons. Yes, Frank has a love for pigeons and has a couple of different fancy ones that he keeps in a coup. Probably about 15-20 birds in total.

When I first pulled up in my truck, I realized then what I had expected to see, in that his garden was severly in disrepair. From a combination of hurricanes a few years back that seemed to criss-crossed the state in his area, to two years of back to back heavy freezes, it's no wonder that there's any plants still growing. Alot of his tree canopy has been lost and goes the shade with it. I saw very few crotons still growing, and were all showing signs of the drought conditions of late. Nothing new is being planted, understandably so, but the general decline is noticable.

Another treat was that we drove over to the home that was owned by the late Hayward family ( mentioned in book ). Actually, when we pulled up, unannouced, the daughter was there to greet us and was extreamly surprised to see Frank getting out of the car. She is in the middle of fixing up the house where she had grown up in and watched her dad collect and plant crotons for over 30 years throughout the yard. She is anxious in preserving the crotons in her yard and learning the names of the individual plants.

The good news is, I drove home feeling that my trip was well,well worth the time spent there, Frank is doing great and is out and about, he's still sending his books out when the society needs them to sell and that a friendship is still strong. ( Dosen't hurt to bring him one of his favorite fruits....MANGOS, along with fresh mango bread baked by Andrea ).

It ended as a truly special day that I will never forget.

Jeff, Glad to hear you got to the Haywards' yard without any conflicts. There was another garden you said you wanted to see. I guess you didn't get there? All in all sounds like quite an eventful trip. Chris