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

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)

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)

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

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Robert Gibson, born November 24, 2020 is in BC Children’s Hospital. Photo contributed
Princeton baby fights for his life, with parents at his side

A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to help family with expenses

By this time next year, the BC Green Pharmadeuticals cannabis growing facility in Princeton is expected to employ at least 150 people, according to the owner. (File photo)
Princeton cannabis plant thriving despite lawsuit and bad press, says owner

Company expects to hire 30 more employees in the next two months

The five per cent proposed tax increase for Princeton homeowners amounts to about $30 a year, says Princeton CFO James Graham. (Contributed)
Proposed tax increase for 2021 amounts to $30 for the average household

A five per cent tax increase, proposed by Princeton council in the… Continue reading

grapes.
Morning Start: Grapes light on fire in the microwave

Your morning start for Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Brent Ross poses with his dog Jack who died over the weekend after asphyxiating on a ball. Ross hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale to other dog owners. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm man warns others after dog dies from choking on a ball

Brent Ross grieving the sudden loss of Jack, a healthy, seven-year-old chocolate lab

This year’s Candlelight Vigil, United Against Violence Against Women, on Dec. 6, 2020 will not be in person at the campuses of Okanagan College due to COVID-19, but people will be able to gather online to watch a video presentation and light a candle in remembrance. (Image contributed)
Violence against women in North Okanagan-Shuswap to be remembered online

Participants in virtual vigil Dec. 6 asked to light a candle and post photo on social media

Mayor Colin Basran at the announcement of the 2021 Tim Horton’s Brier to be hosted in Kelowna on Nov. 21. (Contributed)
Tim Hortons Brier not coming to Kelowna

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Curling Canada to move to hub model, similar to the NHL playoffs

An Enderby restaurant and pub has been shut down since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
Enderby pub shuts down after guest reportedly tests positive for COVID-19

The Howard Johnson hotel, restaurant and pub has been closed since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29

Grapevine Optical was the victim of an early morning break and enter Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Crime Stoppers Okanagan / Facebook)
Collection of designer sunglasses stolen from South Okanagan eye-wear shop

Crime Stoppers is seeking the identity of two male suspects

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Most Read