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Welcome to SNA's News Center – designed to provide you with timely and relevant information about the Southern Nursery Association, press releases and industry news alerts.
  • 31 Jul 2015 1:54 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)



    Richard May (left) turns over the gavel to newly elected president Michael Hobbs (right) 

    during the 117th SNA Annual Business Meeting held during SNA 2015.


    Atlanta, Ga., July 30, 2015 – Michael Hobbs, Warren County Nursery, McMinnville, TN, was elected president of the Southern Nursery Association (SNA) during the 117th annual business meeting held in August at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, Ga. The SNA is a regional trade association serving the horticulture industry in Southeastern U.S.


    Hobbs is President of Warren County Nursery, McMinnville, TN. A third generation nurseryman, Michael has been active in the industry for more than 40 years. Founded by his father and mother, Leslie and Frances Hobbs, in 1950, Warren County Nursery is a wholesale field growing operation and greenhouses for liner production offering a complete line of bareroot seedlings, cuttings, liners, vines, wildflowers, fruit and nut trees, balled & burlap shrubs, shade trees, ornamentals and evergreens. Warren County Nursery has over 400 acres in production and over the past sixty years has become recognized as a supplier of native plants used in wetlands and reforestation plantings.


    Hobbs has served on the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association Board of Directors and served as president in 1979 and 1990. He was awarded the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association Wholesale Nurseryman of the Year in 1990. He received SNA's David E. Laird, Sr. Memorial Award in 1980, and served on the SNA Trade Show Committee in 2005. Hobbs has also served on the Horticultural Research Institute's Board as well as many other industry committees.


    Locally he has received the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award in 1980 and served as McMinnville Jaycees President in 1982.


    Michael married Margaret Robinson in 1969. They have three daughters:  Brandie, Ashley and Emily; five grandchildren:  Carter (13), Lauren (9), Ian (7), Elliot (5), and Behr (2 mos.). Michael and Margaret are members of the Hebron Church of Christ in McMinnville.


    Other officers of the Southern Nursery Association (SNA) who will serve for the 2014 - 2015 term were elected during the annual meeting. The election, open to all active SNA members, determines representation from the four geographic regions of the association:


    Chapter 1 – Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia

    Chapter 2 – Florida, Georgia and South Carolina

    Chapter 3 – Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee

    Chapter 4 – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas


    The complete slate of 2015-2016 officers is as follows:


    Michael Hobbs, President, Warren County Nursery, McMinnville, TN

    Dusty Knight, VP/Treasurer/Director Chapter 4, Plantation Tree Company, Selma, AL

    Norman Cole, III, Director Chapter 1, Cole Nurseries, Pipestem, WV

    Joseph Napoli, Director Chapter 2, Athens Wholesale Nursery, Athens, GA

    Rickey Minton, Director Chapter 3, Triangle Nursery, McMinnville, TN

    Richard May, Immediate Past President, May Nursery, Havana, FL


    “The SNA membership recently voted in a strong group of industry leaders to guide the association through this time of resurgence, said Karen Summers, SNA Executive Vice President. “This 2015-2016 board represents a group of individuals with a broad variety of perspectives and experience that can be leveraged to our advantage as we work to rebuild our membership base and the SNA Regional Marketplace. With the guidance of these knowledgeable leaders I am very confident we will emerge stronger and better. As a regional association we are very fortunate to be able look around the region for strong leadership that has served their state associations well and put those talents to work for association and the industry,” she added.

     

    Founded in 1899, the Southern Nursery Association is a non-profit trade association representing the horticultural industry in the southeastern U.S. SNA provides member services to wholesale growers, brokers, retailers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, grounds maintenance contractors, interiorscapers and allied suppliers. The SNA strives to unite and advance the horticulture industry through educational, research and marketing efforts.

     

    For more information on SNA, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992, mail@sna.org, or visit the SNA website at www.sna.org.

     

    XXX

  • 31 Jul 2015 1:52 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)



    2015-2016 SNA Board of Directors pictured left to right. Front Row:  Michael Hobbs, Dusty Knight. 

    Back row:  Rickey Minton, Richard May, Norman Cole, Joseph Napoli and Karen Summers


    Atlanta, Ga., July 30, 2015 – Officers of the Southern Nursery Association (SNA) who will serve for the 2015 - 2016 term were elected during the 117th annual meeting held at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, Ga., during SNA 2015. The election, open to all active SNA members, determines representation from the four geographic regions of the association:


    Chapter 1 – Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia

    Chapter 2 – Florida, Georgia and South Carolina

    Chapter 3 – Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee

    Chapter 4 – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas


    Michael Hobbs, Warren County Nursery, McMinnville, Tn., was elected president succeeding Richard May, May Nursery, Havana, FL.


    The complete slate of 2014-2015 officers is as follows:


    Michael Hobbs, President, Warren County Nursery, McMinnville, TN

    Dusty Knight, Vice President/Treasurer/Director Chapter 4, Plantation Tree Company, Selma, AL

    Norman Cole, III, Director Chapter 1, Cole Nurseries, Pipestem, WV

    Joseph Napoli, Director Chapter 2, Athens Wholesale Nursery, Athens, GA

    Rickey Minton, Director Chapter 3, Triangle Nursery, McMinnville, TN

    Richard May, Immediate Past President, May Nursery, Havana, FL


    Newly elected SNA President Michael Hobbs is President of Warren County Nursery, McMinnville, TN. A third generation nurseryman, Michael has been active in the industry for more than 40 years. Founded by his father and mother, Leslie and Frances Hobbs, in 1950, Warren County Nursery is a wholesale field growing operation and greenhouses for liner production offering a complete line of bareroot seedlings, cuttings, liners, vines, wildflowers, fruit and nut trees, balled & burlap shrubs, shade trees, ornamentals and evergreens. Warren County Nursery has over 400 acres in production and over the past sixty years has become recognized as a supplier of native plants used in wetlands and reforestation plantings.


    Hobbs has served on the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association Board of Directors and served as president in 1979 and 1990. He was awarded the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association Wholesale Nurseryman of the Year in 1990. He received SNA's David E. Laird, Sr. Memorial Award in 1980, and served on the SNA Trade Show Committee in 2005. Hobbs has also served on the Horticultural Research Institute's Board as well as many other industry committees.


    Locally he has received the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award (1980) and served as McMinnville Jaycees President (1982).


    Michael married Margaret Robinson in 1969. They have three daughters: Brandie, Ashley and Emily, five grandchildren:  Carter (10), Lauren (6), Ian (4), Elliot (2), and Behr (2 mos.). Michael and Margaret are members of the Hebron Church of Christ in McMinnville.


    The new industry leader joining the SNA Board this year is Rickey D. Minton, Owner of Triangle Nursery, McMinnville, TN. His other business interests include Principal Partner in Litewire Data, LLC, and Owner of Red Road Business Park.


    Rickey received his BS in Agriculture at Tennessee Tech University and MA in Divinity from Liberty University. He served as president of the Middle Tennessee Nursery Association (1988) and president of the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association (1991).  He received the Tennessee Young Farmer Award in 1992 and in that same year he received SNA’s David E. Laird, Sr. Memorial Award.  Minton has also served as the AAN Governor for Tennessee (1994) and the SNA Trade Show Chairman (1994). He is a Founding Member of the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council (1989).


    On the local level, is served as McMinnville City Councilman (1998-2002), was named Tennessee Jaycee Man of Year (2000), and is a McMinnville Rotary Club International Service Director. Rickey is a minister and missionary to Haiti and Africa, a prison ministry leader, and director of Lighthouse Men’s Shelter.


    Rickey is married to Greta Porter Minton. They have two sons and daughter-in-laws, Zachary and Kati, and Wesley and Victoria, and one grandson Lake.


    “The SNA membership recently voted in a strong group of industry leaders to guide the association through this time of resurgence, said Karen Summers, SNA Executive Vice President. “This 2015-2016 board represents a group of individuals with a broad variety of perspectives and experience that can be leveraged to our advantage as we work to rebuild our membership base and the SNA Regional Marketplace. With the guidance of these knowledgeable leaders I am very confident we will emerge stronger and better. As a regional association we are very fortunate to be able look around the region for strong leadership that has served their state associations well and put those talents to work for association and the industry,” she added.


    Founded in 1899, the Southern Nursery Association is a non-profit trade association representing the horticultural industry in the southeastern U.S. SNA provides member services to wholesale growers, brokers, retailers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, grounds maintenance contractors, interiorscapers and allied suppliers. The SNA strives to unite and advance the horticulture industry through educational, research and marketing efforts.


    For more information on SNA, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992, mail@sna.org, or visit the SNA website at www.sna.org.


    XXX

  • 28 Jul 2015 11:27 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Atlanta, Ga., July 28, 2015 – The Southern Nursery Association (SNA) has announced the recipients of the 2015 SNA Awards.  The awards were presented at the 117th Annual SNA Business Meeting on Thursday, July 23, 2015, at the Georgia International Convention Center, College Park, Ga., during SNA 2015.


    The SNA Awards Program began in 1956, when the late John B. Wight, Sr., suggested to the officers of the Southern Nursery Association that an award be offered annually to the person of their selection who, in their opinion, had contributed most to the advancement of the industry in the South and to the welfare of the Southern Nursery Association. This first award, considered a lifetime achievement award, was named the Slater Wight Memorial Award in memory of the late J. Slater Wight, brother of the late John B. Wight, Sr. Nomination. Selection is made by the SNA Board of Directors.


    This year’s recipient of the Slater Wight Memorial Award is William J. “Bill” Boyd, Owner of Flower City Nursery, McMinnville, TN. Bill purchased the business from his father Joe Boyd in 1988. The business is truly his lifeblood. He began his career in horticulture at a very young age helping out at the nursery. He has been attending nursery meetings and conventions since he was about nine years old and has since devoted a large part of his life to nursery associations.


    Boyd served on the Middle Tennessee Nursery Association board from 1979 – 1984 and as president in 1983. From 1985 – 1998 he served for the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association (TNLA). In 1991, TNLA honored him with the Young Nurseryman of the Year Award. This same year, the Southern Nursery Association (SNA) awarded him the David E. Laird, Jr. Memorial Award. He served on the SNA Trade Show Committee in 1994 and served on the SNA board from 2001 – 2007, serving as president in 2006. Once again he came to the call of duty and served on the SNA board to fill a vacant spot from 2008 – 2014. Bill is the only person to serve on the SNA board for thirteen years. Bill gives unselfishly in other ways to the association. He has moved the SNA office three times and continues to serve on the trade show move-in committee today.


    Boyd has served on the McMinnville-Warren County Chamber of Commerce as a board member from 1994 – 2000. He has served on the Warren County Planning Commission and the Warren County Fair Board. He has also served on the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee.


    Bill is a member of the First United Methodist Church and has served on several committees. He is currently on his fifth term as Chairman of the Trustees.


    Established in 1974 by David E. Laird, Jr., in memory of his father, SNA Past President David E. Laird, Sr., this award is presented each year to recognize qualified young men and women for outstanding service in the field of environmental horticulture and to offer inspiration for others starting out in the field. The recipient must be 39 years of age or younger and must be a member of his/her state nursery association. Nominations are made by the State Associations within the SNA region with final selection by the SNA Board of Directors.


    This year’s recipient of the David E. Laird, Sr. Memorial Award is Jeff Allegood, Old Courthouse Nursery, Warsaw, NC. Jeff was born and raised in Greenville, NC and has loved being outside for work and play since he was a child. He got his first job was working in the corn fields of eastern NC at 15 and he later did landscaping and retail nursery work in high school and during his early college years.  He is a proud Wolfpack alumni and he received a BS in Forest Management from NCSU in 2000. He became interested in ornamental plant production towards the end of his time at NC State and has managed production at several container grown nurseries throughout Eastern NC. 


    Allegood currently oversees operations and sales at Old Courthouse Nursery (www.oldcourthousenurserync.com), a 40 acre container grown nursery in Warsaw, NC. The nursery does in house propagation to feed its production of 1 to 25 gallon material. Most of their material goes to B&B and container growers for lining out fields and potting up to larger containers.  As the market started to show some signs of improving in 2012, Jeff and his team at Old Courthouse began aggressively building inventory to position for the upcoming demand from other growers that they predicted would exist on the back side of the downturn. The timing and product mix fell into place as their customers finally started planting and potting again and Old Courthouse has prospered through the recent plant shortages by having plant material when others didn’t.


    Jeff is an active member of the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association (NCNLA) and received the NCNLA Bill Wilder Outstanding Young Nursery Professional award in 2013. He is currently the President of the Johnston County Nursery Marketing Association (JCNMA) which is a cooperative marketing group of 24 nurseries located in and around the Johnston County area in central and eastern NC. The group maintains a unified website (www.jocoplants.com) for all of its members with inventories, company descriptions and a JOCOpedia plant database. The JCNMA also puts on their own tradeshow, the JOCOPlants Show, in July of each year in Raleigh, NC, which Jeff helps to organize and manage.


    When Jeff isn’t working he enjoys spending time with his wife Katie, daughter Etta (2.5 years) and son Luke (4 months). Outside of work and family he spends his time on his hobbies of hunting, fishing and growing vegetables. His other favorite pastime is cooking and grilling the harvests from these hobbies for his friends and family (and for himself).


    Jeff says he owes the biggest thanks to his parents for instilling a strong work ethic and always letting him find his own way to what he wanted to do. He also gives credit to the owners and employees at Old Courthouse Nursery and all of the people in the nursery industry that he has worked with that have taught him what he knows about growing and selling plants.        

          

    Established by the SNA Board in 1992, the SNA Pinnacle Award is given to the individual within the allied industry who, in the opinion of the SNA Board, has contributed most to the advancement of the industry in the south and to the welfare of the Southern Nursery Association. This award is limited to SNA members. Nomination and selection of recipients is made by the SNA Board of Directors.


    This year’s recipient of the SNA Pinnacle Award is Gene Brogdon of Nursery Supplies. Gene ‘s family roots were in farming. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in agricultural journalism. After serving 4 years in the US Navy as Quartermaster on the USS Buck, he did several tours of duty during Vietnam.  After the navy he moved to the family farm and began a cattle operation. He worked as a vocational/agricultural teacher and served as the FFA Advisor.


    Gene’s career in the horticulture industry spans 34 years of working for Zarn, IEM, Lerio and Nursery Supplies. He has been known for building the largest and most elaborate trade show booths that required a year of planning. It took two trucks, two small trailers and two days to set up.


    Gene has engaged himself in the industry and has served on the Georgia Green Industry Association board and president of sales and marketing division.  He was awarded the GGIA Staff Award of Excellence in 2013 for his many years of service, hard work and willingness to lend a hand. Gene has always actively worked to improve products, improve services and legislation that impacts the horticulture industry – and he has also served his customers well too. His storytelling and likeable personality brings a smile to everyone who knows him. He was voted “the wittiest” in high school. Is there any question why Gene Brogdon has been one of the best sales people in our industry?


    Gene retired from Nursery Supplies on July 1 but plans to stay active in the industry through the Georgia Green Industry Association and SNA.


    In 1969, an Award of Merit was created to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to ornamental horticultural research and, more specifically, to SNA. In 1972, the SNA Board of Directors resolved that the Award of Merit would be renamed the Porter Henegar Memorial Award for Horticultural Research in memory of the late Porter Henegar, Past Executive Secretary of SNA (1959 - 1972), to commemorate his years of tireless effort and service to the SNA. The recipient is selected annually by fellow research workers for his/her concern and work toward improving the nursery industry.


    The recipient of the 2015 Porter Henegar Memorial Award is Dr. Jim Robbins. For the past 17 years Dr. Robbins has been an extension specialist and Professor in commercial ornamentals at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.  His role is to support all Green Industry businesses including garden centers, wholesale growers, and landscapers.  His research program focuses primarily on nursery production related issues (e.g. automation, growing media, fertilizer, weed control) and woody plant evaluation.  A hallmark of his academic career has been to work on issues that are driven by a need from the industry.


    Dr. Robbins has a very unique blend of academic and nursery industry experience that allows him to be identified as a leader in nursery crop research and extension. Prior to working for the University of Arkansas,  he spent 9 years in the ornamental  industry with two different companies: Briggs Plant Propagators and IMC Vigoro.  Prior to that he was an Assistant Professor in the Horticulture Department at Kansas State University. His B.S. degree is in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Masters in Horticulture from the University of Georgia with Dr. Michael  Dirr, and Ph.D is in Plant Physiology from the University of California-Davis. 


    The Don Shadow Award of Excellence, named for the first recipient, Don O. Shadow, Shadow Nursery, Winchester, TN, is presented to an individual, corporation or organization that has provided exemplary service, leadership and generosity in the development, promotion and use of new and improved landscape plants. Recipients must demonstrate a sincere commitment to and passion for expanding knowledge and use of new and improved plants for the landscape. Nominations are accepted from attendees of the Southern Plant Conference and SNA Members. Nominees may be carried forward from one year to the next. Selection is made by the SNA Board of Directors.


    The 2015 recipient of the Don Shadow Award of Excellence is Ted Stephens of Nurseries Caroliniana, North Augusta, SC. Ted was born a plantsman. His sandbox served as his first propagation bed and he spent his allowance on plants and garden supplies. So there was no surprise when Ted received his BS and MS degrees in Ornamental Horticulture at Clemson University. From 1969-1972, he taught Horticulture in the Department of Golf Course and Landscape Operations at Lake City Community College, Lake City, Florida.


    In 1973, he founded Nurseries Caroliniana, in North Augusta, SC, a retail garden center focusing on offering rare and unusual plant material to the gardening public. In 1990, a wholesale division was begun to offer plants to other nurseries throughout the Southeast.


    Ted travels to Japan and other foreign countries on a regular basis to collect new plant selections for introduction to the American market. He is also introducing a number of his own selections which he has developed in selective breeding programs. Among these is Loropetalum ‘Carolina Moonlight’™, which is a compact white flowering form of Chinese Fringe. Loropetalum ‘Carolina Midnight’™; an upright deep burgundy foliage form with red flowers; Loropetalum ‘Garnet Fire’™, Albizia julibrissin  ‘Merlot Majik’™, a deep burgundy colored leaf Mimosa; Ilex vomitoria ‘Carolina Ruby’™ PP# 19266, a female, compact growing Yaupon Holly with one of the heaviest berry crops of any holly, and “Distylium myricoides ‘Spring Frost’ PPAF, a compact form with white spring new growth.”

    Ted has served as the president of the South Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association and has received its “Outstanding Contribution to the Nursery Industry” award. He currently serves on the advisory board for the South Carolina Botanical Garden, Clemson, SC and The Center for Applied Nursery Research, Dearing, GA.


    Nurseries Caroliniana has recently begun a mail order division, where many of their plants are shipped nationally and globally. They ship to other nurseries in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France and England, where they wish to add new cultivars of southern natives as well as other new selections from Nurseries Caroliniana to their offerings.


    The SNA Board of Directors also honors individuals that have served this association and the nursery industry in various capacities throughout the years and have made outstanding contributions during their active participation in the Southern Nursery Association with honorary membership awards. This year, six (Gene Brogdon, James Harwell, Louis Hillenmeyer, III, Sherry Morris, Jeff Miller and Ed Porter) deserving industry members received SNA Honorary Member Awards. Each recipient has made outstanding contributions to the association and the industry during their active participation in the Southern Nursery Association.


    Gene Brogdon, Nursery Supplies, Dawsonville, GA

    This year’s recipient of the SNA Pinnacle Award is Gene Brogdon of Nursery Supplies. Gene ‘s family roots were in farming. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in agricultural journalism. After serving 4 years in the US Navy as Quartermaster on the USS Buck, he did several tours of duty during Vietnam.  After the navy he moved to the family farm and began a cattle operation. He worked as a vocational/agricultural teacher and served as the FFA Advisor.

    Gene’s career in the horticulture industry spans 34 years of working for Zarn, IEM, Lerio and Nursery Supplies. He has been known for building the largest and most elaborate trade show booths that required a year of planning. It took two trucks, two small trailers and two days to set up.


    Gene has engaged himself in the industry and has served on the Georgia Green Industry Association board and president of sales and marketing division.  He was awarded the GGIA Staff Award of Excellence in 2013 for his many years of service, hard work and willingness to lend a hand. Gene has always actively worked to improve products, improve services and legislation that impacts the horticulture industry – and he has also served his customers well too. His storytelling and likeable personality brings a smile to everyone who knows him. He was voted “the wittiest” in high school. Is there any question why Gene Brogdon has been one of the best sales people in our industry?


    Gene retired from Nursery Supplies on July 1 but plans to stay active in the industry through the Georgia Green Industry Association and SNA. His outstanding contributions to the industry was further acknowledged by SNA as the recipient of the SNA Pinnacle Award this year.


    James Harwell, Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association (ALNLA), Auburn, AL

    James attended Marion Military Academy, Marion, AL, and earned his BS in Ornamental Horticulture from Auburn University. He was the owner and operator of three garden centers, landscape services and greenhouse growing operations. He served as President of the Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association (2005-2006), President Alabama Agribusiness Council (2010-2011) and has served as Governor of American Nursery & Landscape Association.


    He currently serves as Executive Director for the Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association, serves on the Alabama Green Industry Training Center Board of Directors, the Alabama Agribusiness Council Board of Directors, and numerous Department of Agriculture, Extension Service, and University committees.


    He holds Certification for Alabama Landscape Design, Alabama Setting of Landscape Plants, Alabama Ornamental, Turf and Pest Certification, and is an ALNLA Certified Nurseryman. James has been recognized with an Honorary Member of Planet Auburn University Chapter (2013), Auburn University College of Agriculture Outstanding Alumni (2014), and Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2015).


    Louis Hillenmeyer, III, Louie’s Flower Power Shop, Lexington, KY

    Louis Hillenmeyer, III is a 5th generation nurseryman. He holds a BA in business from the University of Kentucky. He has served as the American Nursery & Landscape Association governor and on their education and long-range planning committees. He has served as education chair and president of the Southern Nursery Association, and was honored with SNA’s Slater Wight Memorial Award in 1996. He has also served as president of the Kentucky Nurserymen’s Association.


    On the local level, Louis has served as Director of National City Bank, Christians in Community Service, Lafayette County Medical Association, the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Kentucky Independent College Fund.


    He currently serves on the Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund Board of Directors and is a weekly radio talk show host. Louis has poured out his tremendous energy and talents to this industry for years and it is time that he is honored with an SNA Honorary Membership.


    Sherry Morris, Fannin County Family Connection, Blue Ridge, GA

    Sherry attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, GA where she held honors. She received her BS in Marketing Education from the University of Georgia. Her early career began with the US Department of Agriculture, Georgia Statistics Service as a statistician until she went to work for Dr. Jake Tinga, Executive Director of the Georgia Nurserymen’s Association in 1986. Upon Jake’s retirement she took on the task of filling his very large shoes. Although she was very young and inexperienced in association management, Sherry proved to be up to the task of growing a shoebox organization into the vibrant and relevant association that the Georgia Green Industry is today. Through these past 29 years, Sherry has built her excellent reputation among her peers for taking on the biggest of challenges, giving 150 percent of herself and always succeeding in bringing out the best in others. Among her other talents, Sherry is also a Georgia Certified Plant Professional.


    Since leaving GGIA she has fully engaged herself as the Executive Director of the Fannin County Family Connection, and is responsible for aggregating all social and charitable organizations within the county. She oversees three community gardens, a food pantry serving 150 families a week (17,125 year), a homeless shelter serving nearly 400 individuals annually. Once again, giving 150 percent to help others.


    Sherry is the youngest industry member to be recognized with an SNA Honorary Membership.


    Jeff Miller, Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association (VNLA), Christianburg, VA

    Served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Virginia Greenhouse Growers Association from 1976 – 1988. He was hired as the Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association’s (VNLA) Executive Director in 1985 where he has served the past 30 years. Prior to that he served on the VNLA board serving as president in 1983.


    His first year as executive director, he worked with Wayne Sawyer to set up the first summer trade show. He is one of the original authors of the original VNLA Certification manual and one of the founders of the VNA Horticulture Research Foundation.


    Jeff’s association philosophy is that “individuals and companies can get a lot more accomplished effectively when they pool their resources and knowledge to work on common goals and issues” – and he has done just that throughout his career.


    Ed Porter, McMinnville, TN

    Porter began his career in the industry with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Tennessee in 1958.  He worked for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as a field entomologist before assuming the role of office manager at Forest Nursery in McMinnville. In 1966, Porter joined Triangle Nursery and became owner in 1968.  In 1995, he sold Triangle nursery and established Porter Farms.


    Serving more than 50 years in the nursery industry, Porter was a leader championing the causes and issues that kept the nursery industry strong and growing. He has held numerous positions in ANLA, including holding the positions of past president, board member, Tennessee governor and lieutenant governor of ANLA. Porter also was a member and past president of ANLA's Wholesale Nursery Growers of America division. He also has served as the chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Southern Nursery Association, member and president of the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association, and member and president of the Middle Tennessee Nursery association.  In addition to his posts in various industry associations, Porter also has held posts as the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, state chairman of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Committee, secretary-treasurer and vice president of the Southern Association of the State Department of Agriculture, and chairman of the Tennessee Forestry Commission. Porter has also held many community leadership positions.


    An accomplishment of Porter's dedication to the industry is the establishment of the Tennessee State University Nursery Crops Research Station. The creation of this facility is a direct result of the foresight, initiative and perseverance of Ed Porter.


    Ed has received many honors recognizing his contributions to the nursery industry including the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association's Wholesale Nurseryman of the Year, the Farmhouse Fraternity's Daryl Snyder Award for service in agriculture, Emeritus Trustee at the University of Tennessee; the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce's Free Enterprise Award, The Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association's Hall of Fame Award, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture naming its diagnostics laboratory building after him, The Edward S. Porter Animal Industries Building, the ANLA Hall of Fame Award (2002), and SNA’s Slater Wight Memorial Award (2003).


    SNA believes industry members should be recognized for their distinguished talents, extraordinary service and life achievements. The SNA Awards Program is designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated their commitment to the Southern Nursery Association and the industry through these annual awards. For a list of previous SNA award winners, visit the SNA website at www.sna.org.


    Founded in 1899, the Southern Nursery Association is a non-profit trade association representing the horticultural industry in the southeastern U.S. SNA provides member services to wholesale growers, brokers, retailers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, grounds maintenance contractors, interiorscapers and allied suppliers. The SNA strives to unite and advance the horticulture industry through educational, research and marketing efforts.


    Photos of all award winners can be found on the SNA website at www.sna.org.


    For more information on SNA, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992, mail@sna.org, or visit the SNA website at www.sna.org.


    XXX

  • 02 Jun 2015 3:12 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    On Saturday, May 30, 2015, Wayne K. Sawyer, President and CEO of Bennett’s Creek Nursery passed away peacefully. He was 59 years old.


    Wayne was born to the late Clarence M. Sawyer and Shirley G. Sawyer Mebane. He is preceded in death by his brother Clarence Sawyer, Jr.


    Wayne is survived by his step-father, Robert A. Mebane, Sr. and spouse Jessie; previous spouse, Sharron D. Sawyer; children, Matthew W. Sawyer and fiance Melanie Kam and her son Elijah; Kathryn M. Sawyer Simmons and spouse Brandon and their son Reese; his brothers, Kenneth Sawyer, Kenneth Mebane, and Robert Mebane, Jr. and their families. He was also survived by close friend Penny Wolford.


    Wayne has been part of Bennett's Creek Nursery since its inception in 1974 under the mentorship of Arthur J. Lancaster Jr. and he became President and CEO in 1994. His nursery employees were like his family and they will continue to carry on his vision for the company.


    Wayne lived a life of community service that included being involved in many organizations.

    His service began at the Bennett’s Creek Rescue Squad as a teenager and has continued on to Towne Bank, AAA, and the Richard Bennett Trust currently.


    Wayne served on the SNA Board of Directors from 2000 - 2006, serving as president in 2005. He also was a recipient of SNA’s David E. Laird, Sr. Award, received in 1988 as Young Professional of the Year. Wayne was a committed supporter and volunteer of our industry associations. He was very involved in the VNLA, MANTS and SNA. He gave freely of his time and his resources to move the industry forward, all the while positioning Bennett’s Creek Nursery in a unique position as a leading producer.


    The family will welcome visitors on Friday, June 5th from 6-8 PM at Sturtevant Funeral Home, Bennetts Creek Chapel, 2690 Bridge Road, Suffolk, VA 23435


    Wayne’s memorial service will be on Saturday, June 6th at 2 PM in Believers Church 4500 Peek Trail, Chesapeake, VA 23321.


    In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Virginia Tech Foundation and designate to the Hahn Garden in memory of Wayne Sawyer;


    Gift Accounting, University Development (0336), 902 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061 or the TowneBank Foundation; 6001 Harbor View Blvd., Suffolk, VA 23435.


    Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Sawyer family and Bennett’s Creek Nursery.


    Bennett's Creek Nursery is committed to honoring the wishes of Mr. Sawyer by continuing his vision and moving forward with the business he dedicated his life to and worked so hard to cultivate. They will proudly continue serving their customers with the same level of care, attention, and detail that Wayne worked diligently to ensure through his daily leadership, guidance, and mentoring. His family and our extended family of staff and friends, wish to express appreciation for all of the condolences they have received.


  • 06 May 2015 11:44 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    ROBERT PAUL WARHURST -  December 8, 1938 - April 29, 2015 

    On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Robert Paul "Bob" Warhurst, 76, passed away at his home in Fairfax, Virginia, after a long battle with cancer. On the last full day of his life, Bob was surrounded by family and friends before he passed peacefully early the next morning under the care of Hospice.


    Bob Warhurst was the co-owner and co-founder of Merrifield Garden Center, a large garden center, nursery and landscaping company with three locations in Northern Virginia. Bob started the garden center in 1971 with his good friend and neighbor Buddy Williams. In the beginning, there was a quaint red barn, a small store and less than an acre of plants. Over the next 44 years, Merrifield grew to become one of the largest independent garden centers in the country. 


    Bob was born on December 8, 1938 in Russellville, Alabama. He was the fourth of eight children born to Claude and Mary Warhurst. Growing up in the rebuilding years that immediately followed the Great Depression, life was hard on the family. To help make ends meet, Bob got his first job at the age of seven years old at the corner grocery store in Russellville. He was hired for 50 cents a week. When he was in the middle of the eighth grade, Bob quit school and moved to Northern Virginia to make his way in the world. He became an apprentice bricklayer for his older brother Lee, who owned his own contracting business. 


    Two years later, he met Billie Jean Allgood and fell in love at first sight. They were married on January 16, 1957. He was 18 and she was 14. It was a happy marriage that lasted 58 years. 


    While laying brick in the booming suburban developments around Northern Virginia, Bob noticed there was a need for trash pick-up service, so he started the Warhurst Trash Company in 1963. In running the trash business, Bob saw that many customers were throwing away items that still had value, so he began selling those items at The Tradin' Post, a second hand store he started in the Kamp Washington section of Fairfax. Later, Bob decided to start selling plants at The Tradin' Post. That was so successful he decided to open a nursery to sell plants full time, and the following year he opened Merrifield Garden Center. 


    Although his life was defined by hard work, Bob led an adventurous life, riding horses, driving fast cars and flying airplanes. He earned his pilot's license in 1977. Bob was very active in the local business community and helped start two banks - The Horizon Bank of Virginia, which was founded in 1990 and then sold ten years later to Southern Financial Bank, and Virginia Heritage Bank, which was founded in 2005 and sold in June of 2014 to Eagle BankCorp. Throughout his life, Bob improved - and often changed - the lives of many people. Not only was he able to do this by having a successful business, but by the enormous generosity of his heart. 


    In 1998, Bob bought a seven acre piece of property at historic Hope Parke in Fairfax, Virginia, where George Washington often visited many years ago. He built his dream house, which became the center of the family's activities. Bob was very active in the community and gave generously to many charitable and civic organizations. Bob's fascinating and inspirational life was chronicled in a recent book, The American Dream: The Rags to Roses Story of Bob Warhurst and the Founding of Merrifield Garden Center. 


    Bob was preceded in death by his father Claude, mother Mary and brothers Charles, Jim, Claude (Tracy) and Lee. Survivors include Bob's wife Billie Jean Warhurst; children Debbie Warhurst Capp (husband Rob; children Danny and Sarah), Robert Warhurst, Jr. (wife Lynn; children Lyndsey, Ashley and Bobby), Larry Warhurst (wife Leslie; children Chance, Jake, Whitney and Harley), Donny Warhurst (girlfriend Karen Velehoski) and Kevin Warhurst (wife Chris; children Madison and Grace); sisters Margene Scruggs and Jane von Pingel; brother Carl Warhurst and many extended family members. 


    A viewing will be held on Sunday, May 3, at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Road in Fairfax, Virginia from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. 


    The funeral service will be held on Monday, May 4, at Vienna Presbyterian Church, 124 Park Street NE in Vienna at 1:30 p.m., followed by an interment at National Memorial Park in Falls Church. 


    In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society or Capital Caring Hospice Services. www.fmfh.com

  • 06 May 2015 10:26 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    The Southern Nursery Association (SNA) has announced GIE Media will be a Media Sponsor for SNA 2015. GIE Media, through their industry publications (Nursery Management, Garden Center, Greenhouse Management, and Lawn & Landscape) will provide promotional support for SNA 2015.


    Scheduled for July 21-23, 2015, at Atlanta’s Georgia International Convention Center (GICC), SNA 2015 is a fusion of The Southern Plant Conference (July 21), the SNA Research Conference (July 21-22), the 117th Annual SNA Business Meeting (July 23), the SNA State Officer's Conference (July 24), and the SNA Regional Marketplace (July 22-23) and provides the perfect platform for networking, learning, sourcing, launching new products, and cultivating new business relationships.


    The SNA Regional Marketplace will feature the best plants and related garden products. The product mix will include ornamental trees and shrubs, color, related landscape and outdoor living products, garden gifts and accessories, seasonal products, and more. The event is expected to draw more than 2,000 breeders, growers, retailers, landscapers, researchers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers from across the Southeast.


    “SNA has a long history of uniting the green industry, much like GIE Media. We are excited to partner with SNA giving the show heightened visibility, and our readers access to top quality programming and products,” GIE’s Publisher, Jim Gilbride, said.


    SNA’s Executive Vice President, Karen Summers said, “We are very excited to have GIE Media join Meister Media as a sponsor of SNA 2015! Their multi-dimensional reach will no doubt help us engage a broader audience through their print and digital media readership of more than 100,000 industry professionals.”


    Dr. Charlie Hall, economist and professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at the Texas A&M University and also holder of the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture, will deliver the keynote at SNA 2015 presenting a preview of economic and structural trends impacting the green industry in 2016. Special educational sessions, presented by the Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) will include topics on collections law basics, breeding landscape plants with ecological function, how to get the employees you need, invasive non-native plant control, how to take advantage of free horticultural, and wireless sensors research.


    Other components of education will be the SNA Research Conference, spotlighting the latest horticultural research on hundreds of topics in thirteen categories, and the Southern Plant Conference, offering a unique opportunity for growers, landscapers, and retailers to learn from other industry professionals and discover new production techniques and the hottest new plants coming to market. This year’s speaker lineup includes 17 of the industry’s top plant experts from across the country.


    The purchase of an SNA 2015 Name Badge will provide retailers with a special opportunity to access AmericasMart Atlanta during SNA Day @ AmericasMart on Tuesday, July 21. AmericasMart Atlanta is the nation’s only global wholesale marketplace housing the world’s single-largest collection of home, gift, area rug and apparel merchandise. Located in downtown Atlanta, the AmericasMart complex contains more than seven million square feet of space and more than 1,400 showrooms.


    The GICC, venue for SNA 2015, offers convenience for attendees. A world-class airport, connected to a world-class convention center, surrounded by leading brand hotels, at the edge of a world-class city. And, the ATL SkyTrain, a free light rail train, links the GICC to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and car rental center.


    SNA 2015 is sponsored by Georgia Green Industry Association, Meister Media (Today’s Garden Center), GIE Media (Nursery Management, Garden Center, Greenhouse Management, and Lawn & Landscape), R.A. Dudley Nurseries, Haviland Plastic Products, Martin’s Nursery, Nursery Supplies, HIP Labels, Plant Development Services, GreenForest Nursery, Bennett’s Creek Nurseries and Lancaster Farms.


    Founded in 1899, the Southern Nursery Association is a non-profit trade association representing the horticultural industry in the southeastern U.S. SNA provides member services to wholesale growers, brokers, retailers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, grounds maintenance contractors, interiorscapers and allied suppliers. The SNA strives to unite and advance the horticulture industry through educational, research and marketing efforts.


    The SNA 2015 Brochure, including all program information is available on the SNA website at www.sna.org. For further information, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992, mail@sna.org.


    ###

  • 01 May 2015 10:40 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Atlanta, Ga., May 1, 2015 – The Southern Nursery Association (SNA) has announced details of the special educational sessions that will be held during SNA 2015, scheduled for July 21 - 23, 2015, at Atlanta’s Georgia International Convention Center (GICC). SNA 2015 combines the SNA Regional Marketplace with the Southern Plant Conference, the SNA Research Conference, the SNA Annual Business Meeting, and the SNA State Officer's Conference, and will feature special educational sessions, presented by the Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) designed specifically for the grower, landscaper and retailer. The event is expected to draw more than 2,000 industry professionals from across the region.


    This year’s sessions will include:


    Collections Law Basics, Pearson Beardsley, Beardsley, P.C.

    Breeding Landscape Plants with Ecological Function, Dr. John Ruter, Carol Robacker, Dayton Wilde and J.C. Poythress,  University of Georgia

    Looking for Better or More People?, Tony Bass, Super Lawn Technologies

    Invasive Non-Native Plant Control, Bodie Pennisi, University of Georgia and Brian Arnold, SongBird LandCare

    Horticulture Resources at Your Fingertips!, Dr. Matthew Chappell, University of Georgia

    Increasing Profitability Using Sensor-Based Precision Irrigation, Dr. Paul Thomas, University of Georgia


    Cost of these sessions is $59 by July 17 and $69 after July 17. An SNA 2015 trade show badge is included with registration. Conference center parking is free for all attendees. Simply mention SNA 2015 to the parking attendant. Those registering by July 17 will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an iPad. Program, registration and hotel information can be found on the SNA website at www.sna.org. Three (3) GGIA Pesticide Applicator CEUs available for am and pm sessions – a total of 3 hours. CEUs applied for with ISA, NALP, FNGLA, TXNLA, VNLA and other state associations within the SNA region.


    The GICC, conveniently located adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and minutes from downtown Atlanta, is Georgia’s newest and second largest convention center featuring more than 400,000 SF of meeting space – all on one level. The ATL SkyTrain, a free light rail train linking the GICC to the airport and rental car center, coupled with excellent transportation connections from across the U.S., and a wide array of affordable nearby hotels and restaurants offers participants added convenience.


    SNA 2015 is sponsored by the Georgia Green Industry Association, GIE Media (Garden Center, Greenhouse Manager, Lawn & Landscape, Nursery Management), Meister Media (Today’s Garden Center), Hackney Nursery Company, Haviland Plastic Products, Martin’s Nursery, Nursery Supplies, R.A. Dudley Nurseries, Classic Groundcovers, HIP Labels, Plant Development Services, GreenForest Nursery, Bennett’s Creek Nurseries and Lancaster Farms.


    Founded in 1899, the Southern Nursery Association is a non-profit trade association representing the horticultural industry in the southeastern U.S. SNA provides member services to wholesale growers, brokers, retailers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, grounds maintenance contractors, interiorscapers and allied suppliers. The SNA strives to unite and advance the horticulture industry through educational, research and marketing efforts.


    For more information on SNA 2015, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992, mail@sna.org, or visit the SNA website at www.sna.org.


    XXX

  • 01 May 2015 10:39 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Atlanta, Ga., May 1, 2015 – The Southern Nursery Association (SNA) has announced final details of the 14th Southern Plant Conference, scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, 2015, during SNA 2015, at Atlanta’s Georgia International Convention Center (GICC). Each year, the speaker lineup somehow seems to top the last – and this year is no exception.


    Sixteen of the industry’s top plant experts are slated to share their knowledge and expertise during this eight-hour conference. Don Shadow, SNA Past President and internationally recognized plantsman, will moderate the fast-paced sessions featuring an impressive list of authors, botanical garden directors, garden communicators, landscape designers, professors, researchers, and world travelers – all with the goal of expanding knowledge and use of new and improved plants for the landscape. 


    The conference, sponsored by HIP Labels, Inc., and Plant Development Services, Inc. (PDSI), provides the perfect platform for the grower, landscaper and retailer to come together for a glimpse of exciting new plants coming to market. This unique conference provides an opportunity to discover new production techniques and a vast array of new plants, with focus on new and superior cultivars, the most resistant, prolific blooming, superior shape or habit, and the most interesting flower or foliage.


    The 2015 speaker lineup and sessions include:

    Brie Arthur, Growing a Greener World, Fuquay-Varina, NC – Foodscaping

    Dr. Andrew Bell, Curator, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL – Windy City Winners

    Talon Buchholz, Buchholz & Buchholz Nursery, Gaston, OR – Maple Introductions from Buchholz Nursery

    Tom Cox, Cox Arboretum & Gardens, Canton, GA – Landscaping with Conifers and Ginkgo for the Southeast

    Dr. Michael Dirr, Plant Introductions, Watkinsville, GA – Viburnums Past, Present and Future

    Brent Heath, Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, Gloucester, VA – Best Bloomin’ Bulbs for Sexy Southern Landscapes

    Joseph Hillenmeyer, Joseph Hillenmeyer Garden Design, Lexington, KY – Plants of Inspiration:  A Garden Designer’s Perspective

    Ozzie Johnson, ItSaul Plants, Alpharetta, GA – Breeding Adventure from Asia to My Own Backyard

    John Malone, Summershade, Madison, GA – Lifting the Veil on Underutilized Tree Species and Growing a Successful Market

    Matt & Tim Nichols, Nichols Nursery, East Flat Rock, NC – Ornamental Obsession

    David Parks, Camellia Forest Nursery, Chapel Hill, NC – Camellias from China

    Karen Perkins, Garden Vision Epimediums, Templeton, MA – Epimediums:  Jewels of the Shade

    Ron Rabideau, Rare Find Nursery, Jackson, NJ – New and Useful Plants

    Dr. John Ruter, University of Georgia, Athens, GA – Landscaping with Conifers and Ginkgo for the Southeast

    Alan Shapiro, Grandiflora, Gainesville, FL – Cool New Herbaceous Plants


    Registration for the conference is $199 (by July 17) and $219 (after July 17) and includes continental breakfast, lunch and breaks, as well as a chance to “mix and mingle” with speakers after the conference. An SNA 2015 Name Badge is included with registration. Speaker bios, session titles and description, schedule and registration information can be found on the SNA website at www.sna.org.


    SNA 2015, scheduled for July 21 – 23, 2015, combines the SNA Regional Marketplace with The Southern Plant Conference, the SNA Research Conference, the SNA Annual Business Meeting, and SNA State Officer's Conference to deliver one unparalleled event – all under one roof.  The event is expected to draw more than 2,000 breeders, growers, retailers, landscapers, researchers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers from across the Southeast. 


    The GICC, venue for SNA 2015, offers convenience for attendees. A world-class airport, connected to a world-class convention center, surrounded by leading brand hotels, at the edge of a world-class city. And, the ATL SkyTrain, a free light rail train, links the GICC to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and car rental center.


    For more information on the Southern Plant Conference, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992, mail@sna.org, or visit the SNA website at www.sna.org.

    XXX

  • 24 Mar 2015 2:16 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Gene Mathews Dyke, age 60, passed away on March 13, 2015. Gene was a resident of Dacula, Georgia, and previously lived in Cairo, Georgia. Gene was the son of Colonel Samuel E. Dyke and Betty S. Dyke, who preceded him in death. Gene is survived by Gwyn Dyke, his wife of 34 years; his sons, Mathew Dyke and wife and grandson Lauren and Samuel Dyke, of Lafayette, LA and Philip Dyke of Brookhaven, GA; his daughter Rayna Dyke of Dacula, GA; his brothers Bill Dyke of Norman, OK and wife Paula, David Dyke of Greenwood, SC and wife Patsy, and Sam Dyke of Roswell, GA and wife Christine; brothers in law Scott Lewis of Buford, GA, Mark Lewis of Houston, TX and wife Bridget; sister in law Lynda Neal of Buford, GA and husband Randy; nieces Kelli Satness of Norman, OK and husband Adam, Victoria Lewis of Buford, GA, Callyn Harvey of Okeechobee, FL and husband Weston, and Adelaide Lewis of Houston, TX; nephews Billy Dyke of Hollywood, CA, Shannon Adams of Ninety Six, SC, Charlie Mac Adams of Charlotte, NC, and Tyler Neal of Brookhaven, GA. Gene is also survived by many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

    Gene was a member of Hebron Baptist Church and the Hamilton Mill Golf Club. He was employed with Gulf Atlantic Sales and Associates, LLC, and previously was involved in Wight Nurseries and Monrovia. He attended college at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, LA and the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and played on the University of South Alabama golf team.


    The family will be receiving visits from friends and family on Sunday, March 29, 2015, from 2:00pm until 5:00pm at Apalachee Farms Clubhouse, 1001 Dacula Rd, Dacula, GA 30019.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Autism Speaks

    www.autismspeaks.org

    888-772-9050
    In Honor of Samuel Dyke, Gene’s Grandson

  • 06 Mar 2015 9:48 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Peter Christian van der Giessen, December 22, 1924 - March 5, 2015 (90)

    Peter was born December 22, 1924 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and departed from this life on March 5, 2015. After escaping from a labor camp in occupied Holland during World War II, Peter made his way to Scotland with the help of the Dutch underground and joined the Dutch Marine Corps. He trained at Camp Lejeune, and while there he met Billie Ruth Springfield, his future wife and the love of his life. After serving two tours of duty in Indonesia, Peter returned to settle in Texas. 


    A lifelong passion for horticulture led him to Texas A&M University and a career in the Nursery Industry. After retiring as Manager of Cottage Hill Nursery in Mobile, Alabama, Peter founded van der Giessen Nursery with his son Maarten. 


    Peter was a Fellow in the International Plant Propagators, and earned the Lifetime Achievement award from the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association. He was a dedicated father, horticulturalist, and friend. Peter was larger than life. He never met a stranger, and, until proven otherwise, every man was his friend. 


    He is survived by his brother, Henk van der Giessen, his children Nella (David) MacRae and Maarten (Colleen) van der Giessen, and his four beloved Grandchildren; Ian MacRae, Anna MacRae Thomas, Alec MacRae, and Andrew MacRae. 


    A memorial service will be held at Christ Church Cathedral for Peter and his wife, Billie Ruth Springfield van der Giessen on Saturday March 14th at 11:00 for family and friends. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Mobile Botanical Gardens Aromi Garden.


    Billie Ruth van der Giessen, August 5, 1928 - February 17, 2015 (86)

    Billie Ruth van der Giessen was born in Dallas, Texas on August 5, 1928. She passed away after a courageous battle with ALS in Providence Hospital in Mobile, AL while surrounded by friends and family on February 17, 2015.

    She was a creative soul who enjoyed participating in the arts and made the world more beautiful throughout her life. She was gracious, kind, and deeply beloved by her family, who knew her as "Oma".

    Billie was predeceased by her mother, Cozette Springfield and her father Louie Springfield, as well as her sister Kathaleen Springfield. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Peter van der Giessen; her daughter Nella MacRae and her husband Dr. David MacRae; her son Maarten van der Giessen and his wife Colleen Keleher; as well as her brother Louie Springfield. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Ian MacRae, Anna MacRae Thomas, Andrew MacRae, and Alec MacRae.

    The memorial arrangements are to be announced to friends and family.

    The family requests that any memorial contributions be made to the Mobile Botanical Gardens Rhododendron Garden.

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