MSHS State Awards Program

 Gardens—whether they beautify a neighborhood or teach kids how to grow vegetables—it’s hard not to be inspired by the love and care that gardeners put into them. We’re currently seeking nominations for such gardens and gardeners for our annual State Awards for 2014.

download_award_formYou can nominate gardeners who have made outstanding contributions to greening efforts in public gardens or community projects; individuals, projects and activities of neighborhood groups; garden clubs and organizations that have contributed to rejuvenating communities and have brightened our world through plants.

Capture the beauty of the gardens now with high resolution digital photos, as award winners will be featured in Northern Gardener magazine and on, as well as at MSHS’ annual State Awards and Recognition Event.

For more information on specific awards and the nomination form, click on the nomination form to the right and print the document. If you have questions about submitting a nomination, call 651-643-3601 / 1-800-676-6747 ext. 211. The deadline for 2014 nominations is August 1, 2014.

The Minnesota State Horticultural Society (MSHS) statewide awards program recognizes individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to horticulture and greening efforts in public gardens, community projects and through exemplary community achievements.

Individuals, projects and activities of neighborhood groups, governmental organizations, garden clubs and communities that have meritoriously contributed to gardening and rejuvenating communities through plants will be honored each year with a certificate of commendation from the Governor and will be eligible to receive one of several award plaques.

2012 Winners of the MSHS State Awards

Life Award

Faye Duvall

Faye Duvall has exhibited leadership in MSHS and the
St. Paul Garden Club for the past 30Faye Duvall years. Faye has been a garden club member of MSHS through the St. Paul Garden Club since 1984.   She served as president of the garden club from 1993 - 1995. Faye was a member of the initial steering committee that helped form Minnesota Green, the outreach program of the Horticultural Society. She later helped Minnesota Green develop into the only statewide community greening program in the nation, at that time. In 1992, Faye received the American Community Gardening Award for these contributions.

Faye served on the board of MSHS for 4 years has been involved in a number of MSHS committees. She helped to reconnect MSHS to the garden clubs and the districts in Minnesota. She is a certified MSHS and Federated Garden Club judge, and continues to volunteer at the State Fair as a plant show judge. She has traveled the state judging flower shows put on by districts and garden clubs. Faye has been recognized by The Garden Club of America for her horticultural skills and won their Medal of Merit. She continues to volunteer for the spring home and garden shows. It has been a pleasure getting to know Faye and working with her to promote the mission of MSHS.

Bronze Award

Mary Meyer 

 Dr. Mary Meyer joined the U of MN Horticultural Science faculty in 1993 and has primarily
an Extension, outreach and research appointment. Her research interests include native and ornamental grasses and sedges. She has studied propagation and production of grasses including cold hardiness, and low maintenance sustainable landscaping. Mary Meyer

Blue Heaven is a patented little bluestem she released in 2007. She also conducts research on alternative low maintenance turf grasses. She has studied Miscanthus and where it has escaped in the United States especially in National Parks and authored the website entitled Micanthus: Ornamental and Invasive Grass.  She is the author of Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates.

Dr. Meyer is responsible for the development and coordination of statewide multi-media educational programs in environmental and consumer horticulture, including sustainable home landscapes. Her main office is at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum where one of the largest ornamental grass collections is on display for the public. From 1993-2007, Dr. Meyer was the State Coordinator for the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener program. For two years, 2008-2010, Dr. Meyer was the Interim Director of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. She coordinates the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s summer internship program.

Bob Churilla Golden Rose Volunteer Recognition Award

Don Cheney and Otto Kelm

 You will always find Don Cheney and Otto Kelm volunteering during one of our major Don Cheneyevents but their most important contribution happens behind the scenes before the crowds arrive. Don and Otto, our MSHS “heavy lifters”, are two volunteers who generously donate their time and trucks to do the hauling, packing and unpacking, and moving of items necessary for our events and educational programs.

 Don Cheney actively volunteers for our educational programs, Minnesota Green and Garden-in-a-Box. Don volunteers at our Minnesota Green plant donations at various locations helping with the distribution of plant material to over 130 community gardens. Don helps MSHS with our Garden-in-a-Box program by bundling and moving the boxes as needed and by using his own truck to move them into storage for later use. He is always available when we need him.



Otto Kelm smaller photoOtto Kelm is the MSHS “go to” volunteer for set-up and tear-down at our major events.
Long before a request goes out to our general
volunteer pool for help with the State Fair and
spring shows, Otto stops by the
office and asks how he can help out. He’ll
bring his truck, of course, and work along
staff to do the heaviest lifting. Otto is a
tireless volunteer who also helps out during
the events whenever we need him at our
educational display.

Garden Club Member of the Year Award

Keith Miller, Washington County Horticultural Society

Keith has been a member of the Washington Co. Hort. Society since 1994. He served as President in the 1990s, and has continued to give of his time and efforts to make the club a vibrant group.

Keith serves as Membership Chair, and handles all communications with MSHS. He makes sure everyone gets their renewal notice timely. Keith also sells garden gloves at all sorts of venues - single handedly raising hundreds of dollars for our club every year.Keith Miller for website

Keith served on the Program Committee, and helps put together the Membership Manual each year. He organized the entire bus tour to western Wisconsin. Keith has also managed the summer garden tours of members' gardens, and has often offered his wonderful garden to the tours.

Keith takes up the mantle wherever needed – he serves as cashier for our plant sales, makes the coffee for our meetings (that means he's always there early to help wherever he can), and organizes the door prize distribution.

Keith is also a member of the Minnesota Hosta Society and the Western Wisconsin Hosta Society.

Garden Club of the Year Award

Northfield Garden Club

Long known for its work beautifying public green spaces in Northfield, the Northfield Garden Club took on a project with the Cooperative Landscape Partnership Project. The club spearheaded the planting of 64 trees along the boulevards of Minnesota Highway 3, an area that had been identified as a significant gateway to the city.

Northfield Garden Club mulching

Garden club volunteers conceived of the tree-planting idea, applied through the Minnesota Department of Transportation program for funding, and worked tirelessly with MnDOT to develop the planting plan. The club arranged to purchase the trees from a local landscaper, who contributed to the planting effort. The club also raised $7,000 to pay for the watering of the trees. The ability of this group to work cooperatively with several other entities to the betterment of the community is a tremendous example of civic activism at work. 

The club is active in the MSHS’ District 1, communicating with other clubs in the district, participated in the district fall meeting, and working with the Master Gardeners. 20$% of the club members are also MSHS members. The Northfield Garden Club donated to MSHS’ Garden-in-a-Box program, they give scholarships to club members that become Master Gardeners, and have made donations to the 1st District Horticulture Day.

Greening Awards

Community Garden Award

Lions Park, Columbia Heights

Lions Park in Columbia Heights is a great example of the positive effect an environmental beautification project can have on communities.

The unique location of the property makes it a gateway to three cities and three counties. Previously, the site was a weedy barren wasteland - a no-mans land owned by the Soo Line Railroad.

photo for websiteThrough the cooperation between the Lions Club, spearhead by Lions Roberta and Frank Loreno, and the city of Columbia Heights, Lions Park was created and had been maintained for the past 20 years. Since the park was constructed in 1991, the adjacent businesses have made significant improvements to their properties.

While a partnership between the and the Lions Club, the success of the project is really the result of the continued dedication of two devoted citizens’ week in and week out over 20 years which infused the project with life – Roberta and Frank Loreno.

Mayor Gary Peterson said “We are proud to have worked with these two amazing people in making our living environment a sight to behold.”

Minnesota Recreation and Parks Association Award

Del Hampton and Sam Johnson, Prospect Park Community Garden

The Prospect Garden Club is coordinated by Del Hampton. His leadership and organizational skill helped the group move forward in new ways. Del’s focus on the neighborhood garden tour brought a new and dynamic set of leaders that revitalized the club’s garden tour. Del’s interest, and the vision of Sam Johnson, a young leader in the neighborhood and now the garden club, has been combined to create the Prospect Park community gardens. It is amazing how the energy and skill of these two have coalesced neighbors around the idea.arthur 2012-08-25 017

Two locations were selected this year to add to a private pop-up garden and numerous floral gardens in community public areas and at Pratt School in the neighborhood. Both of the new community garden sites are leftover unused MNDOT land from the I-94 freeway construction. Agreements were secured, and the gardens are up and running.

Most impressive of the efforts of these two men is the implementation process and the faith that they have placed in people to be a part of their vision. A poster was published to inform the process at the National Night Out gathering, and a newsletter followed to keep gardeners in the know. A fabulous website facilitates participation and provides clear understanding of mission values.

St. Paul Garden Club Award

Pentagon Apartments

The idea for a community vegetable garden at the 1415 E. 22nd St. public housing highrise in Minneapolis was born when residents learned that the housing authority was relocating a garbage holding area by the side of the building and planned to cover the old area with cement. Discussions with residents and the property manager led to a proposal to turn it into a vegetable garden with the produce to be shared with all residents of this 120-unit building. Approvals were secured, broken glass and other rubble removed, and the area was tilled. After compost and new garden soil were worked in, and a chicken wire fence erected, the planting began.

1415-Garden3What began with a few residents planting the garden blossomed into greater involvement from residents of this multi-ethnic building, many of whom are East African immigrants. Most had never tended a garden or grown any of their own food. As the plants grew, more and more residents stopped by to help with weeding and watering. The harvest was bountiful and as produce ripened it was put in the highrise community room to be shared. The peppers and tomatoes were especially popular as these are vegetables used by many cultures. With the strong support of the property manager, residents are already planning an expansion of the garden for next year and are even thinking of adding some raspberries or strawberries.

Joseph Priley Award

Duane Otto, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Duane is a talented leader and teacher as well as an expert garden designer. He has been a landscape gardener at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for over 20 years and has worked continuously to create beautiful public gardens at the Landscape Arboretum that are enjoyed by 330,000 visitors every year and serve as models that may be duplicated across the state of Minnesota.

Duane is best known for his skills and creativity in container gardening and seasonal duanes designsgardens. Duane pioneered using tropical plants and woody plants such as Japanese maples in containers. Better Homes and Gardens magazine published photos in the 1980's of Duane's containers with unusual plants including bananas, variegated rubber plants and many others and these plants ended up becoming common container plants in Minnesota. Similarly, Duane has designed and planted hanging baskets that contain many different plants that range from vines to herbs to vegetable to grasses and sedges.

Duane designs the seasonal gardens at the Arboretum and follows a new color scheme every year. Duane was one of the first to use big, bold plants like amaranth, flowering tobacco and other plants that fit that year's colors. Duane Otto has done a great deal to improve gardens at the Landscape Arboretum and across the state. We all are fortunate to enjoy the results of his creativity and public gardening skills every year.

President’s Award

Mike Mueller, Forest Products Supply

Mike Mueller has been a patient and true supporter of Garden-in-a-Box from the beginning.  When we were starting up the program, Mike helped us find the wood, and generously cut the wood to the lengths we needed. He furnished the van to get the wood to the office.

Mike Mueller

 That was in 2008. Jump ahead to 2011. We went back to Mike and hired his company Forest Product Supply to cut the wood for the Garden-in-a-Box program for the next 2 years.   Mike helped us along the way to keep his costs and our costs down so we could continue to donate the boxes to low income families. 

We are truly appreciative to Mike for helping us grow our program, and his patience as the program grew quickly.


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