A Heck Of A Day

Ed Markham

I am in a somewhat pensive mood today. We need only to watch the news or read the paper to see that there are lots of bad things going on in the world and realize bad things can happen to good people. 

But the fact is, there are many more good people than bad, and many more positive events than negative. This is not simply a rose-colored glasses view. We need only to watch the news a little longer or read the paper all the way through.
The workplace may have its downsides, but most of us would rather be doing what we are doing than anything else. The people we work with, well, yes — there are yahoos out there, to be sure, but most are pretty good people. All in all, a pleasant bunch. And good grief, if you are fortunate to be loved by someone, life is indeed good — perhaps rocky, but good.

Heroes Come And Go
Those who have read me over the years know one of my heroes is Yogi Berra, not for his baseball skills, but for his perpetually optimistic outlook on life, as well as his unique turn-of-phrase.
His quote, “When the road forks, take it,” is one I share with my students every year. And how can you question the wisdom of, “That restaurant is so crowded nobody goes there anymore.” All of us have people who make us think and smile, and smile when we think of them.
Occasionally, I also remember Jimmy Valvano, who coached the North Carolina State men’s basketball team during several winning seasons. His tears of joy and his manic expression of happiness when his team won the 1983 NCAA basketball championship are aired every March. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1992 and was presented the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award just before his death in 1993. He knew he was soon to pass away, and everything he said that night came from the heart. In his talk, he said the following:
“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
I think of those words often, and try my best to have a heck of a day.

Ed Markham — An Everyday Hero
I never met Mr. Valvano, but I did know someone who could have uttered those very words, and certainly was the embodiment of them. Anyone who knew Ed Markham would agree. Ed was part of American horticulture for years, working with Vaughan’s Seed and Harris Moran Seed, consulting for numerous others and much involved in the establishment of Western Horticultural Products.
Ed also provided guidance and advice for anyone along the way. He never retired and he was a fixture at industry gatherings and trade shows, often with a gaggle of young people (like me) listening to his stories, learning from and admiring him. Ed would always make us laugh, and we would walk away thinking about the people, places and stories Ed shared.
Of course, it was hard to miss Ed at these gatherings as he would round a corner wearing awful, bright-red running shoes. He likely had a dozen pair of these and because of them, he was affectionately known as “Chief Red Sneaks.” He was one of the truly good guys of horticulture.
Ed passed away on July 9th at age 94. He would never have said he was important, or that he left behind a legacy — he was too modest. But he was and he did — I am one of them.
When people like Ed leave us, it befits us to take a minute or two to look back at our colleagues who helped us along the path we chose. A minute or so will not be missed in a busy day — to laugh, think, and perhaps cry a little.

Honoring Chief Red Sneaks
Friends of Ed Markham may honor him by donating to the charity of their choice or to the American Floral Endowment, Markham-Colegrave International Scholarship, 1601 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Learn more at Endowment.org.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...

February 11, 2016

Succulents: A Mainstay Of The Green Revolution

Succulents offer many options for growers to provide waterwise, low-maintenance plants that work well for green infrastructure and other environmentally focused projects.

Read More

February 10, 2016

Poinsettia Production On The Decline

Poinsettia production is on the decline in several of the top 15 poinsettia-producing states.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

February 8, 2016

Why Succulents Have Become The Hippest Plants On The Market

Allan Armitage says succulents used to be relegated to the far end of the display bench, but their adaptability, decorative value, and low maintenance requirements have now made them a staple.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 11, 2016

Succulents: A Mainstay Of The Green Revolution

Succulents offer many options for growers to provide waterwise, low-maintenance plants that work well for green infrastructure and other environmentally focused projects.

Read More

February 10, 2016

Poinsettia Production On The Decline

Poinsettia production is on the decline in several of the top 15 poinsettia-producing states.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

February 8, 2016

Why Succulents Have Become The Hippest Plants On The Ma…

Allan Armitage says succulents used to be relegated to the far end of the display bench, but their adaptability, decorative value, and low maintenance requirements have now made them a staple.

Read More

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triu…

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Eu…

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More

February 1, 2016

12 New Poinsettias For Holiday Growing

Poinsettias are still a consumer favorite during the holidays for home décor and gift giving. For greenhouse growers looking to get a jumpstart on purchasing young plants for the 2016 poinsettia growing season, there is no shortage of great varieties to choose from. Here are 12 new varieties to keep in mind for holiday product offerings.

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More

January 24, 2016

Positive Consumer Experiences Help Advance The Orchid C…

HGTV HOME Plant Collection plans to expand its Fresh Style product line through a partnership with Green Circle Growers (Oberlin, Ohio), which will supply decorative orchids, tropical plants, and indoor garden combinations. Greenhouse Grower asked Maxwell Sherer about Green Circle's orchid program, the latest trends he’s seeing, and where he thinks orchid growing is headed in the future.

Read More
Sansevieria in Corner of home

January 21, 2016

Tropical And Indoor Foliage Plants Emerge As A Lifestyl…

Consumers are incorporating houseplants into their everyday lives, which is driving the trends toward smaller-size plants and unique products that appeal to a younger demographic.

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

January 20, 2016

How To Promote Pollinator-Friendly Plants This Spring

Following last year’s launch of the National Pollinator Garden Network, groups like the National Garden Bureau and others remind growers that offering pollinator-friendly plants is a great way to keep up with consumer demand.

Read More
Caladium Painted Frog Series (Plants Nouveau)

January 17, 2016

16 New Foliage Plants To Round Out The Garden

Every garden needs a good mix of flowering and foliage plants for an attention-grabbing show of thrillers, fillers, and spillers. These new foliage varieties will not only act as a lush backdrop for colorful blooms, they can also stand on their own with their noteworthy textures and colors.

Read More
California Coast

January 13, 2016

Mark Your Calendars For The 2016 California Spring Tri…

It’s time to think about registering for the 2016 California Spring Trials. You won’t want to miss any stops along the way, so use this quick reference to help with planning for your trip.

Read More
David Roberts Bailey Nuseries Feature Image

January 12, 2016

Bailey Nurseries’ David Roberts Says New, Novel Varieti…

Roberts was recently hired by Bailey Nurseries to be the General Manager and Breeder for Plant Introductions, Inc., which Bailey acquired last year.

Read More
Kelly Norris - feature

January 11, 2016

Kelly Norris: Questioning The Purpose Of New Plants

Norris asks if the time has come to rethink new plant introductions, or how we market them to consumers.

Read More
Weeks Roses Miss Congeniality

January 11, 2016

Weeks Roses Introduces New Lineup Of Roses For 2016

Weeks breeds and grows a wide range of rose bushes, all of which are field tested for many factors.

Read More
CAST2015_Floranova_Vegetalis_Ageratum Cloud Nine Blue

January 8, 2016

Floranova Opening New Chile-Based Research Station, For…

Floranova has announced it is building a new research station in Chile that will open in mid-2016. As a result, the company will not participate in the 2016 California Spring Trials, but says it will be back in 2017.

Read More
Streptocarpus 'Yellow Blue Eye' (Green Fuse Botanicals)

January 5, 2016

15 Flowering Foliage And Tropical Plants For The Home A…

Tropical and foliage plants are the ultimate lifestyle plants because they enrich the environment and provide mood-boosting benefits. Take into account some of these new introductions for a crop mix that helps your customers realize the true benefits of plants.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]