In Memory – Thomas C (Tom) Greene, Jr

Tom brought his passion for history and landscape to RIWPS when he joined in 1991. Eager to volunteer, in 1992 he became a RIWPS board member where he served for three years.  Tom generously opened his family farm, the birthplace property of  Nathanael Greene in Warwick for RIWPS walks and as a source of plants for our Seed Starters East. Some of our members continue to be owners of umbrella trees (Magnolia tripetala) from seeds of this tree growing on his property. While the species is native further south, it grows well in Southern New England and is noted for its large leaves. Tom thought that his tree probably traced back to one on the private Goddard Park property, notable for its tree collection. Garden in the Woods, headquarters of the Native Plant Trust, is also very proud of a large specimen of Magnolia tripetala.

In his younger days, Tom planted a wide variety of species on his property, growing many from seed. In particular he grew and loved witch hazel long before it became popular. In his later years, Tom enjoyed watching the evolution of the landscape, what grew and thrived from the existing garden plants and wild growth. These plants included a number of cardinal flowers from RIWPS that were placed around the front well. Tom was a wonderful story teller, and as apt at engaging others with the history of different plants as he was with the history of his family.