Gardening News

NCDOT Announces Wildflower Award Winners

Hall of Fame Also Established to Honor Program’s 25th Anniversary

The N.C. Department of Transportation named the winners of the 2010 Wildflower Awards and announced the establishment of the Wildflower Program Hall of Fame. This year’s awards coincided with the Wildflower Program’s 25th year anniversary.

The NCDOT Wildflower Program began in 1985 and is coordinated by the department’s Roadside Environmental Unit, which installs and maintains more than 2,000 acres of wildflowers along North Carolina’s highways. The program is funded by fees collected from the sale of vanity and specialty license plates.

The annual awards recognize the efforts of NCDOT staff to carry out North Carolina’s wildflower program and enhance the overall appearance and environmental quality of the state’s highways, and are sponsored by The Garden Club of North Carolina Inc.

Transportation Secretary Gene Conti, GCNC President Mary Lou Goodman and GCNC Roadside Committee Chair Pat Cashwell presented the awards.

The 2010 award winners are:

Best Overall Division Wildflower Program:
First Place – Division 12, which includes Alexander, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell and Lincoln counties;
Second Place – Division 4, which includes Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties;
Honorable Mention – Division 13, includes Buncombe, Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey counties;

William D. Johnson Daylily Award:
First Place – Division 12 – U.S. 74 at I-85 in Gaston County;
Second Place – Division 13 – I-40 at Patton Cove Road in Buncombe County;
Honorable Mention – Division 7 – U.S. 29 at Caswell County rest area in Caswell County;

Western Region-Best Regional Wildflower Planting:
First Place – Division 12 – I-85 median at U.S. 74 in Cleveland County;
Second Place – Division 14 – N.C. 107 at Cullowhee in Jackson County;
Honorable Mention – Division 13 – U.S. 25/70 at Mill Ridge Road in Madison County;

Central Region-Best Regional Wildflower Planting:
First Place – Division 9 – U.S. 52 at Rural Hall in Forsyth County;
Second Place – Division 10 – I-485 Outer Loop at Idlewild in Mecklenburg County;
Honorable Mention – Division 7 – U.S. 29 at Law Road in Caswell County; and

Eastern Region-Best Regional Wildflower Planting:
First Place – Division 4 – I-95 at N.C. 125 in Halifax County;
Second Place – Division 1 – N.C. 11 at N.C. 561 in Hertford County;
Honorable Mention – Division 2 – N.C. 24 at N.C. 58 at Carteret County.

First Inductees to Wildflower Hall of Fame Recognized

During the ceremony, Conti also proclaimed the establishment of the N.C. Wildflower Hall of Fame. Each of the inaugural inductees was recognized for significant contributions which have advanced and promoted the department’s Wildflower Program. The inductees are:

Haywood Monroe Woodburn, for his work in the program from 1967 to 1988. His contributions exceeded expectations and prompted advances which are still used today.

Columbus Ashe, for his development of the first roadside fall floral display from seeds that were hand-picked from native plants. He inspired all to promote and preserve the wildflower program, and retired in 1997 after 40 years of service.

Bill Johnson, for his pioneer spirit and dedication to generating support for highway enhancement programs and sustaining the department’s wildflower program as one of the most popular initiatives in NCDOT’s history. He retired in 2001 after 30 years of service.

Bobby Boyette, for his managerial drive and statewide challenge of all aspects of the wildflower program from equipment to soil amendments usage.

The Garden Club of North Carolina Inc., for its continuous support of the department’s wildflower program and sponsorship of the annual wildflower awards, which promote and reflect the appreciation of the program by all North Carolinians.