All-America Selections recently honored two horticulture luminaries at their annual Awards Banquet, held this year at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin. The banquet culminated 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, Wisconsin. Tour stops included the University of Wisconsin West Madison Research Station, Epic Systems’ sustainable landscape, A.P. Whaley’s vegetable trials, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Song Sparrow Nursery and last but not least, Rotary Botanical Gardens, whose entrance featured a beautiful floral display made up of more than 100 All-America Selections Winners.
AAS Medallion of Honor
The prestigious AAS Medallion of Honor is presented to an individual who has given a lifelong dedication to the advancement of horticulture. All-America Selections is pleased to announce that the 2016 Medallion of Honor recipient is Jim Nau of the Ball Horticultural Company, West Chicago, Illinois. Jim started his career in June 1982 right out of college where he earned his degree from Iowa State University. The Gardens of Ball have evolved and thrived under Jim’s thirty-four years of managing those showplace gardens. Jim’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 Patranella, Ball Seed, who has also served as an All-America Selections judge, presented a heartfelt summary of Jim’s career with the Ball companies. As a long time judge, Jim has given many hours to the organization even before taking on the additional roles of Director, Vice President, President and then 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. All-America Selections is very proud to announce that the 2016 Breeder’s Cup Award recipient is Janika Eckert of Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine.
Christopher Saladi, Canadian Sales Manager at Johnny’s presented Janika with her award while chronicling her interesting and varied career leading to her becoming a vegetable breeder. Janika’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, Wisconsin, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Janika was especially pleased to return to her home state in 2016 to accept her award.
All-America Selections humbly salutes industry achievers Jim and Janika for their dedication and passion for everything horticulture, including All-America Selections.