Gardening News

Triangle Residents, Local Businesses Receive Top Awards in 2012

Awards were given to these notable Triangle residents and businesses who have made an impact on gardening.

A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill retired professor of botany, Dr. Clifford Parks, has been awarded the International Camellia Society (ICS) President’s Medal. ICS President Patricia L. Short travelled to Chapel Hill in October to make the presentation at Camellia Forest Nursery. The medal recognizes those who have made extraordinary contributions to the camellia world. Dr. Parks was awarded the medal because of his work in hybridizing new strains of camellias with improved cold-hardy performance. His work has helped extend gardening with camellias to areas of the U.S. and Europe previously considered too cold.

Dr. Marilyn Grolitzer, extension master gardener of Wake County, was named one of the two statewide winners of the Outstanding Volunteer Award at the 2012 North Carolina State Master Gardener’s Conference. Grolitzer was recognized for her leadership of the Wake County Master Gardener organization during their recent budget crisis. Through letter writing, phone calling, and media contacts, she led the campaign to save the Master Gardener program, which donates over $200,000 in services for an investment of $22,000 by Wake County, and to restore funding for the county’s horticultural agent position.

The JC Raulston Arboretum presented a new award in September, the J. C. Raulston Distinguished Leadership Award, to Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens. The honor recognizes a recipient who has made significant contributions in “planning and planting for a better world” by helping to diversify the American landscape through new and underused plant introductions and promotions of these plants to the public or green industry.

In addition, the JC Raulston Arboretum was selected as a 2012 recipient of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the character, environment, and appearance of the City of Raleigh.

Raleigh City Farm was among three national winners of Green America’s “People & Planet” award, which recognizes America’s best green, small businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. Each winner received $5,000. Raleigh City Farm is an urban farm that grows food at the corner of Blount and Franklin Streets at the north end of Raleigh’s downtown.