All-America Selections recently hosted its annual summer meeting, an opportunity for breeders, brokers/distributors, mail-order seed companies, seed packet companies, growers, retailers and AAS Trial Judges to network and learn more about recent AAS Winners as well as varieties currently undergoing trialing.
This year, the group spent a day in the city of Chicago visiting an AAS Display Garden at Garfield Park Conservatory, City Escape Garden Center, the prairie-style Lurie Garden and the Grant Park vegetable gardens. The second day of tours saw the group visiting a local farmer's market in Glen Ellyn, IL, the AAS Trials at L&M Greenhouses in Elburn, Ill., American Garden Award display at Cantigny Gardens and the gardens at Ball Horticultural Company.
An annual highlight of the AAS Summer Meeting is the Awards Banquet, where two prestigious horticulture industry awards are presented.
The AAS Breeders Cup Award recognizes a person who dramatically influenced horticulture by breeding new cultivars that brought significant improvement to those classes. The 2010 award recipient went to Todd Perkins, flower breeder for nearly 25 years at Syngenta Flowers, formerly Goldsmith Seeds. His breeding work includes but is not limited to viola 'Penny', rudbeckia 'Tiger Eye' and pansy 'Mammoth'.
The second award of the evening was the equally prestigious AAS Medallion of Honor, to recognize someone with a lifelong dedication to advancement in the field of horticulture. The recently retired executive director of AAS, Nona Koivula, is the 2010 recipient. In her more than 25 years as the leader of both All-America Selections and the National Garden Bureau, she put in endless hours promoting the two organizations and building secure relationships with a large group of consumer garden writers. "I am deeply grateful for this recognition and the opportunity to serve as executive director of AAS for 25 years," Koivula said.
The 2011 AAS Summer Meeting will take place Aug. 10 to 12 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey in Monterey, Calif. For more information, visit www.all-americaselections.org .