Dr. Currier McEwen passed away on June 23, 2003, after a hip fracture. He died in the Brunswick hospital at which he had served as a consultant 32 years previously.
His legacy as a hybridizer of irises lives on. The Siberian Iris and The Japanese Iris (also by Dr. McEwen) are in every iris gardener’s library. The Japanese Pinwheel is one of the most popular Japanese irises ever created. His original garden in Harpswell is lovingly maintained by a protégé, and displays more than a hundred of his creations.
We have had several species of Currier McEwen iris in our garden for years. We plan to plant the Orville Fay this year, as a special homage to Dr. McEwen and his colchicine mentor.
Kathleen Ferrell, PT, MLA, is a physical therapist and former president of the ARHP. She is an emeritus member of the national Arthritis Foundation Board of Trustees and a member of the Missouri Arthritis Advisory Board. She is also a Master Gardener with the Missouri Botanical Garden, and former president of the St. Louis Herb Society.
Rick Brasington, MD, is a rheumatologist and fellowship program director at Washington University in St. Louis, and an associate editor of The Rheumatologist.
Thanks to Sid and Martha Block, who shared stories and photos of their friend, Currier. Special thanks also to Sharon Whitney of Earthart Gardens in Harpswell, who gave us a tour of Dr. McEwen’s original gardens.