Big news from the PPA:

Dr. Steven M. Still, Executive Director of the Perennial Plant Association, has announced that he will retire on September 30. Dr. Still was a founder and has served as the Executive Director since 1984. His contributions to the world of horticulture as a professor, author and industry spokesman have been important and widespread.

During his 35 years with the PPA, Dr. Still has guided the Association to represent an evolving perennial industry. It was in 1983 that he and Dr. Elton Smith of The Ohio State University identified a need for a conference regarding herbaceous perennial production and marketing, which attracted about 200 attendees. Within a year and with great momentum, the PPA was incorporated. It is through Dr. Still’s passion for plants, education and professional networking that he has led the PPA.

Today, the Association represents the entire perennial industry, and the national Perennial Plant Symposium is still the most important venue where the perennial industry meets. PPA provides education and networking through its membership outreach, six yearly symposia and publications. The Award-winning Perennial Plant of the Year™ program, established in 1990, continues to promote perennials to the public.

“The industry has grown radically since the 1980s and the once cottage industry continues to grow, diversify and specialize,” said Dr. Still. “This strength is a reflection of connections fostered among PPA members. What an awesome and rewarding experience it has been to work with passionate plants people, savvy business people and dedicated volunteers. We’ve accomplished a great deal and our work continues.”

In addition to his leadership with PPA, Dr. Still is an Emeritus Professor at The Ohio State University. During his 25 years at Ohio State and five years at Kansas State University, he mentored, lectured, advised and nurtured more than 4,000 students. The green industry is populated with Dr. Still’s former students and advisees. He is the author of the widely used Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants and was the first director of The Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens in Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Still has received the Gold Medal Award from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, The Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America, The Liberty Hyde Bailey Award from the American Horticultural Society and PPA’s Award of Merit, among other recognitions.