All-America Selections (AAS) recently recognized and honored two horticulture icons at its annual Awards Banquet, held at the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI. The banquet was part of the AAS Summer Summit, a three-day event where industry representatives, judges, breeders, growers, retailers, and resellers gathered to visit All-America Selections Trial Grounds and Display Gardens in and around Madison, WI.
AAS Medallion of Honor
The AAS Medallion of Honor is presented to an individual who has given a life-long dedication to the advancement of horticulture. The 2016 Medallion of Honor recipient is Jim Nau of Ball Horticultural Company. Nau started his career in June 1982 after he earned his degree from Iowa State University. The Gardens of Ball have evolved and thrived under Nau’s 34 years of
managing those showplace gardens. Nau’s work in The Gardens of Ball has earned him a stellar reputation as a knowledgeable plantsman, an author of multiple books and countless articles, and a friend to many.
Jan Patranell of Ball Seed, who has also served as an All-America Selections judge, presented a heartfelt summary of Nau’s career with the Ball companies. As a long-time judge, Nau has given many hours to the organization even before taking on the additional roles of Director, Vice President, President, and Past-President.
AAS Breeders Cup
The All-America Selections Breeders Cup was established in 2004 to recognize a plant breeder who dramatically influenced horticulture by breeding new cultivars that brought significant improvements to those classes. The 2016 Breeder’s Cup Award recipient is Janika Eckert of Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, ME.
Christopher Saladi, Canadian Sales Manager at Johnny’s, presented Eckert with her award while chronicling her interesting and varied career leading to her becoming a vegetable breeder. Eckert’s first AAS Winner was ‘Diva’ cucumber in 2002. That was followed quickly by ‘Carmen’ pepper in 2006, then ‘Escamillo’ and ‘Cornito Giallo’ peppers earlier this year. Originally from LaCrosse, WI, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Eckert says she was especially pleased to return to her home state in 2016 to accept her award.
For more information, contact Diane Blazek at 630-963-0770.