Rod Saunders and his wife Rachel Saunders were co-owners of Silverhill Seeds, a company specializing in South African seeds and also selling books. Throughout much of the year they traveled around South Africa collecting seeds. For a number of years Rod and Rachel had been locating and photographing Gladiolus species, including elusive species not easily found in the wild, in order to write a book. Rod was a long term member of the committee and former chairman of the Indigenous Bulb Association of South Africa, a first rate photographer, and a popular speaker. While out collecting February 2018 in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, they were murdered by terrorists. The Saunders family asked close friends to complete their project of creating the field guide drawing from what remained of Rachel’s handwritten notes, documents, and Rod and Rachel’s extensive archive of photographs. Fiona Ross, Anthropologist and friend, took a sabbatical from her teaching job and worked with publications in print and the Saunders’ archive, together with the assistance of many in the South African botanical network, and through monies raised from donations across the world, completed the work Rod and Rachel began: Saunders’ Field Guide to Gladioli of South Africa. Here is a link to the book launch.
The spring 2018 issue of the PBS Bulb Garden was dedicated to their memory.