R.C. “Dick” Palmer was the head of the Summerland Research Station. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

Palmer worked with apple breeding program in Summerland

Horticulturalist initiated the apple breeding and the clonal rootstock programs in 1920s

By David Gregory

Richard Claxton Palmer, who worked with apple breeding at the research station in Summerland, was born in Victoria B.C. in 1897.

His father was renowned horticulturalist Richard Mason Palmer (1859-1940.)

The senior Palmer played a central role in the formation of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association. He later became British Columbia’s deputy of Agriculture (1909-1911.)

When Sir Thomas Shaughnessy considered establishing an agricultural community in the Okanagan Valley (Summerland), he consulted R.M. Palmer. He had three sons, Frank, Horace and Richard.

READ ALSO: Old Christmas card has ties to Summerland agriculture

READ ALSO: Summerland: These ornamental gardens will delight you, and so will the admission fee

Frank Palmer chose an almost identical path as brother Richard.

Frank became the director of the Vineland Research Station in Ontario. His career spanned more than 40 years.

Some of the plant species developed by the Vineland Research Station were named starting with the letter V.

A similar tradition was used at the Summerland Research Station, using the letter S.

At the age of 19, Richard ‘Dick’ Palmer (junior) enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1916 and fought in the battle of Passchendaele (November 1917.)

In 1920, he began his career at the Summerland Research Station.

As assistant superintendent under W.T. Hunter, Dick was active in the community and frequently wrote horticultural articles for the Summerland Review.

In July 1924 he married Marjorie C Mathieson.

In that same year, Palmer initiated the apple breeding and the clonal rootstock programs.

He became the spokesman and primary supporter of the Summerland Fall Fair (which in those days was celebrated in June and called the Farm Picnic.)

In the history of Summerland’s agricultural fairs, the largest attendances were at these farm picnics in the 1930s.

In 1927, Dick Palmer introduced defined harvesting dates for apples with the intent of reducing breakdown in storage.

A year later, Palmer he did the same thing with harvesting dates for peaches.

In 1932, after a short exchange program to England, he returned to Summerland and became the Summerland Research Station’s third superintendent.

He introduced tuberous begonias and many strains of chrysanthemums and new varieties of gladioli.

In 1949, Palmer was honoured as Summerland’s Good Citizen of the Year.

He died from a heart attack at work in March 1953.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

history

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Richard Mason Palmer played a central role in the formation of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

Frank Palmer was the director of the Vineland Research Station in Ontario. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

Just Posted

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Okanagan COVID-19 case count growth slows

BCCDC data shows a stark contrast between Okanagan-specific numbers released in July and August

Okanagan Correctional Centre outbreak due to training session: Interior Health

Interior Health said in a statement the staff members were at an off-site training session

Morning Start: A Texas law allows astronauts to vote from space

Your morning start for Friday, August 14, 2020

Piano set up in Penticton downtown

Initiative an effort to bring music and creativity to the streets

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Vernon pedestrian struck dies from injuries

Emergency responders are on scene on Main Street near the CIBC, traffic affected

UPDATE: Fire in Lake Country a “smoke chase”

A water bomber reportedly took off from Penticton and is on the way to Lake Country

Kelowna man convicted of not paying taxes after turbulent trial

Man claims he doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘person’ under the federal Income Tax Act

Accused in Kelowna’s 2018 Canada Day killing granted bail more than 1.5 years later

Esa Carriere was stabbed to death during the Canada Day fireworks in downtown Kelowna in 2018

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Most Read