Click on pictures with borders to read about the person.

I’m Jill Coryell and I live on the beautiful North Shore of the island of
O’ahu, State of Hawai’i. My home is in Mokule’ia which is a named area in
the rural village of Waialua. Although I was born in Santa Barbara, CA,
Hawai’i has been my home for most of my life.
I’ve been a flight attendant for a major international airline for 33
years. Even though I’d like you to think I began my career as a small
child, the truth of the matter is, I’m 53. Sigh. I’m the proud mom of 2
wonderful sons, Ka’ohele, 24, and Kamalu, 18.
Except for a few years when I flew out of D.C., there’s always been one or
more hibiscus plants in my yard my whole life! Until the past year, I took
them for granted as being part of our beautiful surroundings, but now
they’ve become one of my passions. I am up to around 30 plants in the
ground as I write this, some more than 20 years old, with many others in
pots patiently waiting for me to dig holes for their new in-ground life
I also enjoy doing research, and with degrees from the University of
Hawai’i in Hawaiian Studies and Pacific Anthropology have focused more on
cultural research relating to Polynesia in former years. I’ve been blessed
this past year to be associated with a native Hawaiian plant propagation
program as well as with Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. As such, my
research has now intersected with my love of hibiscus, and I’ve been
concentrating on learning as much as I can about our many endemic and
indigenous native Hawaiian hibiscus and related plants.
I’d like to say Mahalo nui (thanks very much) to everyone at A.H.S. and
well as the A.H.S. mailing list for being so generous in sharing their
hibiscus experiences and expertise. I’ve learned so much from each of you!
Obviously there is a lot of aloha out there in the wide world of hibiscus,
and I’m grateful to have so many people around the hibiscus world that I now
count among my friends.

Aloha a hui hou - Aloha to you all until we meet again,


Name: Richard H.L. Johnson - call me Dick.
Birth Date: October 8, 1940
Citizenship: Native American, Nationalize French
Residence: Tahiti, French Polynesia
email address:
Occupation: Retired

Born in Michigan, I grew up in Calif. in a little mountain town called Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino mountains about 2 1/2 hours from Los Angeles. Although I'm presently a dual national (American & French), I last lived in the US in Huntington Beach, CA at a time when I finished up a masters degree in marine biology at Calif. State University, Long Beach and subsequently enrolled in a doctoral program at UCLA. I was employed by Calif. State University, Long Beach in full time research for 5 years, and via an expedition to French Polynesia (sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research, the National Geographic Society and administered by CSULB) I ended up doing another 5 years of full time research in Polynesia. My specialization at that time was shark behavior, and I authored a book sold in Tahiti and Hawaii as "Sharks Of Polynesia" and elsewhere in the world under the title "Sharks Of Tropical & Temperate Seas". Upon the termination of support for our research, I established Tahiti's most complete nautical activity center, Tahiti Aquatique, offering excursions, water sports, rentals, a marina, etc. I ran that business for over 20 years while still maintaining research contacts. I worked with the Cousteau Society on several occasions as well as a number of scientific groups. I also had occasion during those years to become affiliated with black pearl producers and developed a second marine biological related discipline in ostraculture or pearlculture. I retired a year ago at the age of 58, although I still do conferences on Tahitian Black Pearls for Tahiti's largest producer "Tahiti Perles". Most of these conferences are held aboard the Renaissance luxury cruise ships that do 10 day tours through the leeward islands.

Even though I was trained as marine biologist spending perhaps 1/3 of my productive life at that profession and another 2/3 rds as an entrepreneur running a small business, I have grown plants since I was a teenager. My preference for many years were orchids (I still have a couple of hundred), followed by roses (I still have perhaps 80), and hibiscus. I tried a number of plants that were indeed a challenge, such as tulips in Tahiti. I set up a special refrigerator to cool them, required for the onset of flowering, etc. but their too brief flowering period didn't prove worth the effort. I have passed through the "challenge" stage of growing plants (roses are still a bit of a challenge here in the tropics) and have decided I like "flower power" with the least effort. Bougainvillea rank high on this list (I have many) and they are impressive when in full bloom, which is twice a year for a month or two at a time. Even though, I have grown hibiscus for more than 20 years, it wasn't until having retired, which also corresponded with a mod in Tahiti for hibiscus, that I discovered the world of new cvs. I now have close to 200 cvs. Most are six months old, and only the earlier arrivals are in adequate size pots. I have a number of garden varieties in the ground, but grow the exotic cvs in pots, since I may sell where I am and take these plants with me when I move to another property I have higher up in the same subdivision. Where I'm going to put the rest I don't know, but I'm working on it. With the advent of these new hibiscus, well adapted to our climate, I find myself completely hooked. I've tried grafting in the past with some limited success, and I'm growing root stock to try it once again. In the past few weeks I've pollinated everything in sight, and this promises great anticipation as the pods ripen, eventually to be planted and hopefully develop into something special. At the risk of being too poetic, its almost like being Gods assistant in helping to create something that never existed before.

This passion, if you will, is reinforced by the fact that I've been interested in computers since their inception and have since found all of you on the hibiscus mail list. I find now that, with the recent purchase of a digital camera, I enjoy hibiscus on my computer almost as much as on the plants; hence, my interest in promoting the idea brought up by someone on the mail list (Wally I think) of a international www hibiscus show. That subject seems to have fallen by the way side with the recent flurry of other subjects, but I mention here is the hope that one day it may happen.

In brief, I'm guessing, like you, I find in the mail list a sort of kinship of people interested in something which for the present provides me as much pleasure in life as anything. People with passions, to my way of thinking are among the fortunate, for we risk not to suffer from boredom and the next day always offers something of interest to brighten the day.

I suspect I have overdone this response, but being the first to start this biographic section on the mail list, I don't have any guidelines to go by. I'm looking forward to, you might say, MEETING AND SEEING YOU here and talking with all of you similarly obsessed people on the mail list.

Best Regards To All

Dick Johnson - Tahiti

We are Roz and Pat Merritt (Roz is the guy and Pat is the girl--memorize
this, there will be a pop quiz later) and we grow about 1500 hibiscus,
mostly in pots, on a regular corner lot in a subdivision in southwest
Houston, Texas, USA, Zone 9. Many of these pots are seedlings of various
sizes, but we do have a rather large collection of exotics with garden
varieties interspersed. We use about 25 plumeria (frangi-pani) to help
shade our hibiscus. When the experts say hibiscus need full sun, they do
not mean full Texas sun in a summer that so far is 6 inches behind in
rainfall with temperatures pushing 100 degrees F.
We have been members of the Lone Star Chapter of the American Hibiscus
Society for about 11 years; I am the immediate past president and my
husband is the current president. He is also chairman of the board of
directors of the AHS and I am the newly elected national secretary. We are
both retired, he from the water works supply industry (pipe) and I from the
oil and gas sector (natural gas pipeline company). We first started
growing hibiscus about 15 years ago when we haunted local nurseries until
we had acquired everything they could offer then we sought out the chapter
and learned where and from whom the more exotic cultivars could be obtained
(one of the benefits of AHS membership is finding out who grows and ships
these beauties). We exhibit in the Open Collector Class and are strictly
hobbyists. We don't sell anything.
We are also members of the other chapter in Houston, the Space City
Chapter, which was spun off from Lone Star about five years ago in order to
give hobbyists in this area another show to exhibit seedlings. Each
Houston area chapter sponsors two hibiscus shows and plant sales each year.
Even though we grow a great number of plants, we learn something new
everyday, a great deal from people on this list.
Roz is the hybridizer in the family, but we both enjoy working with the
plants every day. In addition to the hibiscus, we (read that I) also grow
over 100 rose bushes.
All this keeps us off the streets and me out of the malls!

Barry Schlueter:

Married 55-yr old M.Ed. retired teacher (30 yrs) of sciences to gifted kids,former NASA tech writer, working busily in retirement on hybridizing, our desktop publishing business, doing hibiscus-related consulting and production, and taking the time to study and contemplate all things spiritual. Bad back (class 2 spondylo) limits my mobility a lot, but myattitude about it is usually real good. One daughter Shelley, foster son Terrence Watson, both young adults on their own now. Macintosh addict. Wife Susan and I live in Webster, TX halfway between Houston and Galveston. Amateur/semi-pro hybridizer of roses, daylilies, La. iris, and crape myrtles for 30 years, and for the last 8 years or so, exotic hibiscus. We have 3 Shelties now, best old friend Casey having worn out his 15-yr old body and moved on to another last week. Passions include study of all living things, especially flowering plants, guitar/music in general, literature, bridge, Car Talk, NPR, and this incredible communication experiment we call The Net.

Tom Miller, native Floridian , I have lived most of my years in Florida, the Canal Zone and Chicagoland. A news/information junkie whose other interests include Mac computers, my motorcycle (Kawasaki), travel and, of course, hibiscus. Was interested in daylilies 40 years ago as a teenager. Never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and still don't. Wife is Linda, cats are Einstein and Oreo.

Dr Dreckmann is a French-born agribusiness and horticultural
consultant with a doctoral degree from the University of Paris-Orsay,
France, a master's degree from the University of Seville and Granada,
Spain and a bachelor of science degree from the Catholic University of
Santiago, Chile. These degrees were in plant ecology and physiology, soil
science and agronomic engineering. He has been a subscriber to our mail
list for over three years.

Mike Faulkner
35 years old born and raised in Tampa.
Left in 1986 with the US Army and traveled to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (4yrs), Thailand, Japan, Korea and Alabama (2 yrs) got out after Desert Storm. Figured I'd pressed my luck enough! I've always been mechanicaly inclined so I sold Auto Parts for 3yrs with a major chain and learned two hard lessons (retail, salary)! Worked my way up to heavy equipment mechanic.From there the only way was up, so I now repair and inspect overhead cranes and hoists. Fortunately, at times, this allows me to travel the state fairly regularly.
Married to Jennifer for 13 yrs, daughter, Samantha Jo, 11yrs (born in Hawaii), who takes care of my plants when I'm on the road and is starting to get into Hibiscus. Son, Zachariah 3yrs (born here). We all live on a little 80x100' lot here in Seffner ,Fla.with a couple of large oak trees providing lots of leaves and dappled sunlight.We grow lots of different ferns and find hibiscus fun after failing miserably with roses...I suspect most of our success is due to this wonderfull list.
Thanks !!!!

Katie says: "Jack and I met in St. Pete in 1947, got married in 1948, had 6 children, 5 sons and 1 daughter. Now with 13 grandchildren. Still live in St. Pete.

Jack and I joined the AHS in 1973, First Convention at Longboat Key,Sarasota. I was editor of The Seed Pod for 14 years, turned it over to Myra Renault 1999, then to Rita Hall starting year 2000.

Both active in Sunset Chapter, Jack keeps the chapter's supplies at our home. Jack is a commercial grower on a very small scale, but he loves working with hibiscus.

Looking forward to the show season and the Convention."

Bob Rivers-Smith Subject: The Fiji Kid

Born in Fiji 1928 of Scotish,Welsh, English, Fijian and Kiribati origins, they say I resemble one of my maternal great grandfathers, one William Burton Sinclair Master Mariner and an early pioneer and settler in Fiji. I am married to Carol and we have 6 children 2 boys and 4 girls.
There have been many challenges during my lifetime.Here are some of them.
Among the first was when I fractured a vertabrae and was told I would never ever be able to play rugby, hockey or cricket. I asked the doctor whether there was anything I could do to heal the injury.He suggested that I take up swimming. After 3 years of swimming a mile a day I sought a review because Iwanted to play rugby again.X-rays showed that the vertabrae had healed and I was cleared to continue sporting activities and went on to become the school senior swimming and cycle champion and represent my school,district and Fiji in rugby and hockey. Sporting activities included service on the executive committees at club,district and national level in cricket, rugby and hockey. As a seacub/scout learnt to sail and went on to sail competitively.
On leaving school I took up temporary employment in commerce, local government, and finally the Customs service while waiting for a vacancy in the government agricultural research laboratory. The vacancy never ever eventuated. I ended up spending 25 years in the Fiji Customs service specialising in rural and industrial development, trade, tariffs and import/export restrictions. Highlights were sucessfully completing a Senior Customs Management Course in Australia, formulating the strategies,writing Customs Tariff and the necessary legislation to enable Fiji to join with the African,Carribean and other Pacific nations in an application for Associated Status with the E.E.C. [An estimated 18 months project completed in 6 months] Drafting the legislation and establishing Excise Factories for the garment, match and beer industries. Commendations for work on the Customs Tariff, anti-narcotics including Fiji`s first extradition case and work on wreck and salvage arising from the wreck of a large overseas vessel.All firsts for Fiji.
My position was localised so we moved to New Zealand in 1974 and I took up a position with the Department of Trade and Industry. To start a new career at 42 years of age in a new country was again another challenge. By the time I retired I was the Auckland Regional Director of the Business Operations Division responsible for industrial, regional and small business development,investment,import licencing and trade agreements with Australia, the Pacific and Developing countries.
Now to things hoticultural. This started in Fiji when the president of the Suva Orchid Society made a statement that it was impossible to grow temperate climate flowers in Fiji.Carol made headlines when she exhibited the first efforts at the annual show and came away with a heap of certificates for roses and dahlias.
The challenge now is to produce, with your help, exotic tropical hibiscus in a temperate climate.These and many more challenges have made for, at times a frustrating but interesting life which I am now recording in my memoirs for my grand children.

Vinaka vaka levu [Thanks],

Ed Reynolds is the president of the Suncoast Chapter in Florida. He moved to fl in 1991. He owned and operated his own greenhouse operation for more than 25 up state N.Y. after moving to Port Richey in 91 and meeting Ann Buchanan he became interested in 94 he was president of the Suncoast Chapter. During his one year getaway back to N.Y. he met and married Dawn.They moved back in 96 and started back with hibiscus in 97. Special interests are collecting and crossing Australian and American CVs. His other interests are his computer, NASCAR and his grand kids.

Colleen and her husband Geoff have been growing hibiscus for almost 40 years, both in Papua New Guinea and in Queensland, Australia. Colleen's particular interest is in Australian native hibiscus and species hibiscus but she also enjoys growing both the older varieties of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and recent cultivars. Some are grown as bushes and others are being trained as standards in the vegetable garden.

Name: Elizabeth Gerry O'Neill (Gerry)
b. 10-12-46
Married to Robert V. O'Neill, aka Bunny Bob
Present residence: Oak Ridge, TN USA

Hey, this is Gerry, in continental paradise, East Tennessee...I was close to being one of the charter members of the hibiscus list, joining as no. 7, maybe?

Navy Brat, attended 18 schools before graduating high school. Had a love of nature instilled in me my by parents, Capt. H. G. Goben USNRet (farmboy from Ill, later torpedo bomber pilot) and Virginia Mary Margaret Halligan Goben, Irish witch.

Moved to Oak Ridge with Bunny in 1967 for a two year post-doc, fell in love with East TN, the Great Smokies, the mountain culture and the people. Will die here, fer sure. Or maybe will die in Hawai'i or Tuscany, our other two loves.

Recovery Room nurse for several years, back to school in 1975 to finish the bachelor's degree I postponed when I became Ms. Bunny. At the same time, signed on as a technician with the Environmental Sciences Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Taught myself soil ecology while a technician (working on responses of insects to synthetic fuels during the energy crisis in the 70's); had a brief moment of fame for landing a Science cover photo. At some point, determined that if I wanted to pursue my love of bugs/dirt, had to go off on my own. Received B. Sc. in Botany in 1987, Ph. D. in Ecology in 1996. I am now the token belowground ecologist in a group of plant physiologists investigating responses of forests to global climate change, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide in particular. At the moment I focus on root responses, but have worked with soil bacteria, fungi, decomposers, millipedes. In the photograph I am videotaping roots growing. Ain't technology grand?

I was lucky in the early 70's when we purchased one of the original Manhatten Project houses with a greenhouse added in the fifties.. I bought my first hibiscus, a Seminole Pink, in the late 70's (it still lives). I became aware of hybrid hibiscus after I met Tom Miller on the rec.gardens newsgroup. I was reading the list after work, on my gov't computer, using my gov't connection to the internet...which was tolerated then, but is strictly forbidden now. Sometime later, Tom notified me of the beginnings of the Hibiscus List and Bunny and I bought our first ìpersonalî computer (we had three at home at the time, all dedicated to work).

All of this is now history. I have 50 or so cv's, maybe 10 of my own breeding. I have other interests, of course, among them quilt making, hostas, and perennial Salvias. We have no children, one Siamese cat who keeps us around because she can't manage the can opener. Bunny is one of the pre-eminent theoretical ecologists of our time (really!) and in his spare time is an expert on the history of Tarot. He was a New York apartment dweller (so his experience with wildlife has been with pigeons, rats, sparrows [ësputzies'] and Trees-of-Heaven) and is red-green color blind to boot. But, oh my, does he love hibiscus, the floozier the better.

I am finding that more and more I resent the time that work takes from my plants...Bunny retires in November to write his next book on Tarot and be a house-husband. I'll stick around a while longer; I got stuff to do.






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