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As It Was: Medford, Ore., Postmen Collect Rare Siskiyou Plants

Beginning in the 1940s, postal workers Boyd Kline and Lawrence Crocker of Medford, Ore., hiked almost every weekend in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon and Northern California.  In the spring and summer they were looking for rare flowers.  In the fall they would go back to harvest seeds.

By the time both men had retired, their backyards were filled with alpine plants they had propagated.  Over the years rare plant collectors from around the world had come to see the unique plants in the Siskiyous with Kline and Crocker serving as guides and selling some of their own plants to the collectors.

They opened the Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery in 1965, selling every plant in their 125-variety catalog that first year.  The business burgeoned and Kline extended his search to the Himalayas in 1978.

Kline and Crocker sold their business in 1979 but continued to be active in rock garden circles and giving plants to interested visitors.  Crocker died in 2002 and Kline in 2014.


Sources: O'Harra, Marjorie. "The High and Misty Himalayas Beckon Rare Plant Collector." Medford Mail Tribune, May 1978; Mineo, Baldassare. "In Memoriam: Lawrence P. Crocker." Rock Garden Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 4, Fall 2002, pp. 291-92, doi:https://nargs.org/sites/default/files/free-rgq-downloads/VOL_60_NO_4.pdf.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.