In Memoriam of Florence 'Floss" Genser 


Long-time APGA members will remember Floss Genser, arboretum director at Haverford College for 17 years until her retirement in 1996, and will be sad to hear of her passing on New Year’s Day 2013 in Daniel Island, S.C., where she and her husband had moved to be close to family.

Norm Ricker, retired director of Facilities Management at the college, recalls Floss as “the quintessential Main Line Lady. She was always elegant, poised and truly dedicated to the environment, especially the flora on the Haverford campus.” He cites how she studied Haverford’s original 1834 planting landscape of gardener William Carvill and states that “the present appearance of the campus is in no small measure a tribute to Floss’ dedication and efforts.”

While at Haverford College , Floss developed a series of programs on tree identification and brought in experts for workshops on garden management as well as lecture offerings She initiated several projects to introduce students to the Arboretum, including giving a plant to every incoming freshman, offering greenhouse space to students for their plants when dorms were closed for holiday breaks, creating an annual student Arboretum T-shirt and reviving the planting of a tree for every freshman class during orientation week.

With her guidance, staff and volunteers developed a tree record system which included mapping and early computerization of the tree inventory, restored the Pinetum through grant funds, offered programs and courses for both Arboretum members and students, and created a plant collection policy.

Floss also reached beyond Haverford’s borders to raise awareness of its collections to a national audience. Under her tenure, Haverford was a founding member of the Gardens Collaborative (now known as Greater Philadelphia Gardens) and hosted an early national conference of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta (now organized as the American Public Gardens Association.)



Martha Van Artsdalen
Plant Curator, Haverford College