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Hybridizer L. Merton Gage (1866-1948)

Natick, Massachusetts, USA

L. Merton Gage (1866-1948)

The death of Mr. L. Merton Gage of Natick; Massachusetts, the age of 82, on November 25, 1948, after a long, severe illness, grieved the iris fraternity and his many other friends. An active member of the Society for many years, he was dean of iris hybridizers in the New England area. Throughout his long life Mr. Gage was always actively interested in flowers. He originated and introduced many gladioli before his activities in iris began. He was a member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and an honorary member of both the New England Gladiolus Society and the American Gladiolus Society. He was formerly secretary of the American Gladiolus Society and recording secretary of the New England section of the American Iris Society.

After his retirement from business he devoted all his energies to iris activities and his garden. The fruitful results of his hybridizing are perhaps best summed up in a partial list of his introductions: Allumeuse, Anna Gage, Arethusa, Atrous, Aureate, Barbara Ellen, Barkrest, Brown Bonnet, Cahita, Chief Sidar, Chestnut Hill, Damerine, Doris M. Taylor, Edith Lowry, Edna Hicks, Ethelyn Kleitz, Fenella, Gloriole, Greig Lapham, Gypsy Maid, Hazel Gallagher, Honeyball, Hylephila, Katherine Gage, Lady Gage, Lady Letty, Lady Priscilla, Marilyn O'Connor, Mary Lee Donahue, Miriam Corey, Natalie Balcom, Purple Giant, Red Bonnet, Rosy Wings, Silvanus, Snowcrest, Sulphur King, Sweet Janice, Tanager, Tarasca, The Pearl, Tyrian Beauty and Wamba. He received many awards for this work; including the American Dykes Medal for 'Rosy Wings' in 1939, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Bronze Medal in 1932, the Award of Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1942 and the medal of the American Iris Society for Achievernent in Hybridizing in 1943. The complete list of his H.C., H.M., and A.M. awards is quite extensive both in years and in numbers.

Of his own originations, he was fondest of Gloriole and the new yellow self, Greig Lapham, just introduced last year. The latter is named for his friend and fellow hybridizer, Mr. E. Greig Lapham, who in turn had named his own pink seedling L-8, L. Merton Gage, for him. One of his greatest disappointments in iris was his yellow self, Mary Lee Donahue, which was introduced in 1935. This promised to be and perfomed like a very fine iris for two years but since then it has had an erratic performance record like Coralie.

Mr. Gage's personality, his humor, his generously shared talents have influenced and enriched many of us. Always a kindly, loyal, lovable, friend, may the fond place he has left in our memories and in iris lore always remain reserved for him and him alone.

Jamison R. Harrison. [Bulletin, A.I.S. 112 (January 1949):90-91.]


Intermediate Bearded: 'Aureate' 1941, 'Doris M. Taylor' 1941, 'Gold Vellum', 'Red Beauty',

Siberian: 'Natick', 'Snowcrest',

Tall Bearded: 'Allumeuse' 1938, 'Alva Gage' R.1944, 'Anna Gage' 1941, 'Arethusa' 1940, 'Atrous' 1943, 'Barbara Ellen' 1942, 'Barkrest' 1942, 'Brown Bonnet' 1941, 'Cabeza', 'Cahita' 1943, 'Canaletto' R.1937, 'Chestnut Hill' 1940, 'Chief Sidar' 1938, 'Cremilda' R.1935, 'Cytheria' R.1939, 'Damerine' 1939, 'Eclat' 1933, 'Edith Lowry' 1945, 'Edna Hicks' 1941, 'Ethelyn Kleitz' 1940, 'Finella' R.1944, 'Frances Douglas' 1940, 'Gertrude Welch' 1943, 'Gloriole' 1933, 'Gray Cap' R.1939, 'Greg Lapham' 1948, 'Gypsy Maid' 1945, 'Hazel Gallagher' 1940, 'Honey Ball' R.1944, 'Hylephila' 1940, 'Imbriel' R.1941, 'Katherine Gage' 1942, 'Lady Gage' 1934, 'Lady Letty' R.1945, 'Lady Marion' 1938, 'Lady Priscilla' 1942, 'Marcelle Cherry' R.1948, 'Marilyn OConnor' 1945, 'Mary Lee Donahue' 1935, 'Miriam Corey' R.1946, 'Modesta' 1941, 'Natalie Balcom' 1943, 'Norma Gage' 1933, 'Perlita' 1937, 'Popular' 1936, 'Purple Giant' 1938, 'Red Bonnet' 1939, 'Rosy Wings' 1935, 'Rotavant', 'Silvanus' 1936, 'Sordello' 1938, 'Spartacus' 1936, 'Sulphur King', 'Sweet Janice', 'Tanager' 1943, 'Tarasca' 1936, 'The Pearl' 1942, 'Tranquility', 'Tyrian Beauty' 1940, 'Wamba' 1941,

-- Main.RPries - 2011-08-02
Topic revision: r20 - 03 Nov 2021, davepote
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