During the Perennial Plant Association’s (PPA) 2023 National Symposium in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, eight perennial professionals were honored for their exceptional contributions to the industry with Special Recognition Awards.
Initiated in 1985 by PPA, the Special Recognition Awards program honors individuals in eight, unique categories for their distinguished work. This year’s awards and recipients are:
- The Award of Merit to Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, WI. This award is given for significant contribution to the herbaceous perennial plant industry in growing, marketing, contracting, writing, teaching, Extension, research, landscaping, hybridizing, promotion, or innovation. Diblik’s accomplishments are notable and extensive: plantsman, grower, author, designer, speaker, and staunch advocate for the intersection of horticulture and natural plant communities. From his public designs at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and Art Institute to the much-lauded book, “The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden,” to several significant plant introductions, his contributions to the perennial plant industry are widespread and have touched many.
- The Educator Award to Paul Zammit, Professor of Horticulture and Environmental Studies at Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. This award celebrates exceptional leadership in education to the perennial industry. Zammit spent many years sharing his skills and expertise with the public at a retail garden center in Toronto and then as Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden. He joined the faculty at Niagara College in 2020, where he continues to shape the future of the perennial plant industry through student engagement.
- The Garden Media Promoter Award to Tony Spencer. This award recognizes an individual in the media whose educational and promotional efforts result in heightened public awareness of the work done by the perennial plant industry. Spencer shares his work and that of others through his blog, The New Perennialist, via the popular Dutch Dreams Facebook group, and in published articles. His efforts have fostered and enriched discussion of perennial-focused design.
- The Retail Sales Award to The Growing Place, based in the Greater Chicago Area. This award recognizes a commercial representative instrumental in making an operation progressive and successful in outstanding sales and service. The Growing Place, which has been family owned and operated since 1936, has locations in Naperville and Aurora, IL. Started as Emma’s Perennials and rebranded in 1976 as The Growing Place, they offer inspirational gardens, a wide plant selection, knowledgeable staff, and gardening fun. They’ve been delighting customers with unique experiences for decades.
- The Young Professional Award to Sayde Heckman-Taber, Garden and Arboretum Manager at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, KY. This award recognizes a talented and diligent newcomer to PPA who has demonstrated involvement in the organization, contributed to the success of their company, and has portrayed a positive image of the industry to the public. Heckman-Taber excelled as a horticultural student, has built her professional knowledge at Yew Dell and with PPA, and is well on her way to being a leader in the perennial industry.
- The Grower Award to Pleasant Run Nursery in Allentown, NJ. This award recognizes a perennial grower who holds high standards of production, maintains high-quality plants, and seeks innovation while respecting the requirements of the perennial industry. Pleasant Run provides new and garden-worthy plants to the discerning garden world, maintaining quality and integrity across multiple generations of nursery professionals.
- The International Contributor Award to Future Plants in Hillegom, The Netherlands. This award is given for outstanding contributions to the herbaceous perennial industry in the international arena. Future Plants has been bringing new plants to the U.S. market for more than 25 years, including successful selections like Perovskia ‘Little Spire’, Salvia ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, and the Astilbe Vision series.
- The Service Award to Liz Klose a horticultural professional based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. This award goes to an individual who has contributed considerable time and effort by serving on committees, diligently attending meetings, motivating the membership to act on concerns within our industry, and demonstrating leadership and organizational skills. Klose has provided outstanding service on the PPA Board of Directors and on PPA National Symposium local planning committees. She has supported young professionals going into the perennial industry and has contributed to industry organizations at the international, national, and local community levels.
Learn more about the awards here.
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