For 20 years, Greenhouse Grower has presented its Medal of Excellence awards to recognize the most significant innovations in flower breeding and marketing. This year’s program was sponsored by Landmark Plastics and Lambert Peat Moss. Our awards program began with founding Editor Jane Lieberth and Dr. Allan Armitage covering the California Pack Trials together in the late 1980’s. They were so impressed with all the great work breeders were doing to create uniform seed annuals and decided to recognize what they considered to be the most significant variety introduction at Pack Trials each year.
Armitage played a special role in our ceremony Monday evening in the big ballroom at Short Course. He is a wonderful story teller and really has a knack for capturing the true meaning of what we’re all trying to achieve in the industry related to varieties and how important plants are in our lives. The crowd of about 300 is a true Who’s Who in the varieties world and the top executives and employees of breeding companies from all over the world have thanked us for elevating the importance of innovative genetics as the lifeblood of our industry.
For seven years we have presented an Industry Achievement award that is a lifetime, hall-of-fame type of recognition. This year’s honoree is German flower breeder Benary, which is celebrating its 100-year milestone of breeding the first F1 hybrid, which happened to be in its signature genus, begonias.
We also present a Marketer of the Year award to recognize the most innovative and proven marketing concepts that have generated more consumer interest in varieties. This was the first time we presented it to a company in the tropical foliage category, Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses, for its Exotic Angel Plants program. Accepting the award for Hermann Engelmann was Jayson Opgenorth, the production manager, who is also in charge of quality control and research and development.
Recognizing breeders for cutting edge, new introductions has always been the foundation of our Medal of Excellence program and we present three awards for breeding:
The Industry’s Choice, chosen by our well-rounded panel of experts, went to Ptilotus ‘Joey,’ a brand new genus from Australia bred by Benary.
Rudbeckia ‘Tiger Eye Gold,’ the first F1 hybrid in this genus, won our Reader’s Choice award. This breakthrough plant was bred by Goldsmith Seeds.
And last, but not least, is our traditonal Editor’s Choice award, which was presented to PlantHaven for introducing the University of Hawaii’s Royal Hawaiian colocasia collection.