All-America Selections honored two acclaimed Horticulture visionaries at their annual AAS Awards Banquet at the Dallas Arboretum in Dallas, Texas with the AAS Medallion of Honor and the AAS Breeder’s Cup.
AAS Medallion of Honor
The first award given that evening was the prestigious AAS Medallion of Honor, an award designed to recognize someone with a lifelong dedication to advancement in the field of horticulture. All-America Selections has announced that the 2015 Medallion of Honor recipient is Dr. Elisabeth Sahin-Georgiadou. As the co-founder and General Manager, Elisabeth created a company that was known around the world for quality products (what she terms “Plants with a twist”) and exceptional personnel.
Ron Cramer, of Xiant Technologies and AAS Past President, presented the amazing history of Elisabeth’s vast contributions and innovations during her impressive career as co-owner of K. Sahin Zaden with her husband Kees Sahin.
Elisabeth began her love of flowers early on when collecting wild flowers while visiting her grandparents in Pophos, Cyprus and continued that love through her Ph.D at Reading in the UK. Elisabeth and her husband Kees established their breeding company in 1983 to continue to upgrade the garden flowers and their breeding was instrumental in introducing new genera and further work with established garden favorites. Their work brought many AAS Winners throughout the years including Sanvitalia Mandarin Orange, Achillea Summer Pastel, Salvia Lady in Red, Verbena Peaches and Crème, Geranium Black Velvet Rose F1 and Agastache Golden Jubilee.
AAS Breeders Cup
The second award of the evening, the AAS Breeders Cup Award, 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 has announced that the 2015 Breeder’s Cup Award recipient is Dr. Randy Gardener. Dr. Gardner, renowned tomato breeder, has over 32 years at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Fletcher, North Carolina
Dr. Jay Scott, Professor of Horticulture Sciences, Tomato Breeding and Genetics at the University of Florida Gulf Coast Research and Education Center presented Dr. Gardner with his award as well as talked about his extensive career as a legendary tomato breeder. Dr. Gardner has developed the majority of the vine-ripened tomato acreage that is now planted in the Eastern United States. His accomplishments include 57 Tomato Releases with 22 finished hybrids and 35 breeding lines as well as work on disease resistance including early blight, late blight, fusarium wilt race 3, tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). Many of today’s vine-ripened tomatoes carry the prefix Mountain in their names including Mountain Merit (AAS Winner) Mountain Spring, Mountain Fresh and Mountain Pride, all successful Gardner varieties.
All-America Selections humbly salutes industry achievers Randy and Elisabeth for their dedication and passion for everything horticulture, including All-America Selections.