2018 Election: Bios

Rhondda Porter (for President, one year)

I have been a gardener most of my life. My mother gave my brother and me small plots in the garden when we were very young.  We could grow anything we liked while she devoted her part of the garden to her collection of irises.  While I was an apartment dweller I grew orchids and miniature gesneriads under lights.  Later as a home owner I indulged in my love of roses with my husband, growing over 100 different varieties and eventually becoming a Rose Society judge.  It wasn’t until 1997, at an amazing display of alpines at a local garden show, that I met my first marginatas and allionii.   It was love at first sight and I have been growing them ever since.  Since I became one of the local primula judges, I haven’t done much exhibiting.  However, every spring I am delighted anew by these incredible little plants, which despite living in a very non-alpine climate and more than occasional neglect on my part still cover themselves with blooms.  It would be wonderful if the APS could become more international and encourage even more people to become interested in growing and collecting primula of all types, not just the tiny cute ones!


Elizabeth Lawson (for Vice-President, two years)

Elizabeth received her BA in English Literature from Bryn Mawr College, an MA in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin, a PhD in Plant Biology from Cornell University, and an MFA in Nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University. She has worked at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and completed a decade of work each for the Botanical Society of America and the Ecological Society of America, and completed her career with another decade of work in the Writing Department at Ithaca College, where she taught Professional Writing, Academic Writing, Writing in the Workplace, Personal Essay, Science Writing, Technical Writing, and Writing as a Naturalist. She now writes as a naturalist at, and has spent the last three years working on a book about primroses for Reaktion Press' Botanical Series. She first met primroses while working in the Decorative Department at Kew, where she potted up several hundred Primula obconica and came down with a horrible case of hives that could have ended her career as a plant lover, but did not.


Jon Kawaguchi (for Treasurer, two years)

I have been Treasurer for many years.   I have a Plant Science - Environmental Horticulture degree and teaching credential from the University of California, Davis.  Postgraduate studies in Accounting at California State University, Hayward.   I enjoy the Elizabethan primroses, polyanthus primroses, and the species.  My goal is the ensure the society stays in good financial standing.


Michael Plumb (for secretary, one year)

Michael served one term as VP from 2002 to 2004, and has been the Secretary of the Society for the last fourteen years. In addition to recording minutes and dealing with correspondence, he has helped to revise the APS Constitution and has written up a set of procedures and duties to help new officers and directors.  In addition to his secretarial work, he totally redesigned the APS website with the technical help of Jane Guild in 2010, and has been Webmaster since that time.  He lives on Pender Island, BC, Canada, just north of the American San Juan Islands, where the warm, wet winters and hot, dry summers are slowly wiping out his Auricula collection, but are a boon to the Cowichans (originally discovered on nearby Vancouver Island) and species such as P. elatior and P. vulgaris.


Ed Buyarski (for director, three years)

Ed has been gardening since his youth in Upper Michigan. His Biology degree from Lake Superior State College - now University - has been used through his gardening career and now business, Ed’s Edible Landscaping. Not until living in Petersburg, Alaska did he start growing ornamental plants and flowers.  A plant sale in Juneau by an APS member lead him to begin growing primroses and the rest is history.  He now grows and sells hundreds of various species and varieties each year started from seed and division. He is also on the advisory board for the Jensen Olson Arboretum in Juneau which holds the National Primrose Collection.

Several terms as APS President and more years as a Board Member have continued his interest in the Society.  Maintaining the Society is worthwhile to advance educational activities for gardeners so we may teach people about the wonderful flowers of primroses.


Amy Olmsted (for director, three years)

Amy has been involved in the horticultural field for over 30 years. She is currently staff horticulturist at Rockydale Gardens, a nursery in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Prior to this, Amy spent 20 years at Ward’s Nursery, a large garden center in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, where she was nursery manager. Amy is a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist, and past president of the New England Chapter of the American Primrose Society, currently and for the past few years she is the APS seed-exchange manager, a job she finds interesting and rewarding.  She is also an active member of the Vermont Hardy Plant Club and the North American Rock Garden Society. Amy collects as many species of hardy Primula as her shady gardens will hold. She found in the N. E. chapter a welcoming group of like-minded people who were eager to share their love of the genus Primula. It is that enthusiasm to share this beautiful family of plants with all other gardeners, from novice to expert, which moves her to want to become more involved with the inner workings of The American Primrose Society.



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