2023 Special Recognition Award Recipients Announced at the PPA National Symposium

Raleigh, NC – During the Perennial Plant Association’s (PPA) 2023 National
Symposium in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, eight extraordinary perennial professionals were
honored for their exceptional contributions to the industry with Special Recognition Awards.
Initiated in 1985 by PPA, the Special Recognition Awards program honors individuals in eight, unique
categories for their distinguished work. This year’s awards and recipients are:

  • The Award of Merit to Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm, Burlington, WI. This award is
    given for significant contribution to the herbaceous perennial plant industry in growing, marketing,
    contracting, writing, teaching, extension, research, landscaping, hybridizing, promotion, or
    innovation. Roy’s accomplishments are notable and extensive – plantsman, grower, author,
    designer, speaker, and staunch advocate for the intersection of horticulture and natural plant
    communities. From his public designs at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and Art Institute to the
    much-lauded book, The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden, to several significant plant
    introductions, Roy’s contributions to the perennial plant industry are widespread and have
    touched many.
  • The Educator Award to Paul Zammit, Professor of Horticulture and Environmental Studies at
    Niagara College, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. This award celebrates exceptional leadership in
    education to the perennial industry. Paul spent many years sharing his skills and expertise with
    the public at a retail garden center in Toronto and then as Director of Horticulture at the Toronto
    Botanical Garden. He joined the faculty at Niagara College in 2020, where he continues to shape
    the future of the perennial plant industry through student engagement.
  • The Garden Media Promoter Award to Tony Spencer. This award recognizes an individual in
    the media whose educational and promotional efforts result in heightened public awareness of
    the work done by the perennial plant industry. Tony shares his work and that of others through his
    blog, The New Perennialist, via the popular Dutch Dreams Facebook group, and in published
    articles. His efforts have fostered and enriched discussion of perennial-focused design.
  • The Retail Sales Award to The Growing Place, based in the Greater Chicago Area. This award
    recognizes a commercial representative instrumental in making an operation progressive and
    successful in outstanding sales and service. The Growing Place, which has been family owned
    and operated since 1936, has locations in Naperville and Aurora, IL. Started as Emma’s
    Perennials and rebranded in 1976 as The Growing Place, they offer inspirational gardens, a wide
    plant selection, knowledgeable staff, and gardening fun. They’ve been delighting customers with
    unique experiences for decades.
  • The Young Professional Award to Sayde Heckman-Taber, Garden and Arboretum Manager at
    Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, Crestwood, KY. This award recognizes a talented and diligent
    newcomer to PPA who has demonstrated involvement in the organization, contributed to the
    success of their company, and has portrayed a positive image of the industry to the public. Sayde
    excelled as a horticultural student, has built her professional knowledge at Yew Dell and with
    PPA, and is well on her way to being a leader in the perennial industry.
  • The Grower Award to Pleasant Run Nursery, Allentown, NJ. This award recognizes a perennial
    grower who holds high standards of production, maintains high quality plants, and seeks
    innovation while respecting the requirements of the perennial industry. Pleasant Run provides
    new and garden-worthy plants to the discerning garden world, maintaining quality and integrity
    across multiple generations of nursery professionals.
  • The International Contributor Award to Future Plants, Hillegom, The Netherlands. This award
    is given for outstanding contributions to the herbaceous perennial industry in the international
    arena. Future Plants has been bringing new plants to the U.S. market for over 25 years, including
    successful selections like Perovskia ‘Little Spire’, Salvia ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, and the Astilbe
    Vision series.
  • The Service Award to Liz Klose a horticultural professional based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON.
    This award goes to an individual who has contributed considerable time and effort by serving on
    committees, diligently attending meetings, motivating the membership to act on concerns within
    our industry, and demonstrating leadership and organizational skills. Liz has provided outstanding
    service on the PPA Board of Directors and on PPA National Symposium local planning
    committees. She has supported young professionals going into the perennial industry and has
    contributed to industry organizations at the international, national, and local community levels.
    The Perennial Plant Association extends a huge congratulations to the 2023 award recipients! To learn
    more about the recipients and the awards program please visit


The Perennial Plant Association is a trade association composed of growers, retailers, landscape
designers and contractors, educators, and others that are professionally involved in the herbaceous
perennial industry. With a mission to connect professionals, provide education and promote perennial
plants, the association has served the horticultural industry since 1984.
For more information visit www.perennialplant.org.