In his new role, Gary will represent the Canadian members of the PPA on the board of directors. He will also work to further the goals of the PPA, which are focused on the education and promotion of perennial plants to its membership and to the gardening public across Canada and the United States.
He takes over from outgoing director Paul Zammit, now the director of horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden. Other previous directors have included John Schroeder of Valleybrook Gardens and Janet Anderson, nurserywoman and educator, who went on to become president of the PPA.
“I’m excited to join the PPA for two reasons,” said Lewis. “The first is to contribute to the growth and development of the Association and its valuable work in promoting the exciting world of perennials. The second reason is the opportunity to network within the industry in both North America and Europe, contacts that can only benefit Phoenix Perennials and help us to continue to offer our customers an unparalleled selection of garden plants.”
Lewis took over Phoenix Perennials in 2004 and has since expanded the nursery to include what he believes might be the largest selection of perennials in Canada – some 3,500 to 4,000 different species and cultivars. The nursery includes garden stalwarts, rare and unusual plants, and cutting edge new perennials. Phoenix Perennials is often among the first nurseries in the country to introduce many new garden plants. With the dedicated help of its staff, the <i>Phoenicians,</i> Phoenix Perennials also offers an In-Nursery Design Service, a popular monthly e-mail newsletter, an extensive website with searchable database, and diverse workshops ranging from perennial hanging baskets and succulent wreaths, to veggie container growing and wine tastings.
The Perennial Plant Association was started in 1984 to promote the use of quality plants to garden centre retailers and hence to the public. Through various programs – notably the Perennial Plant of the Year, the PPA Landscape Design Awards program, and June Perennial Gardening Month – the PPA helps educate garden centres and the public about the use of herbaceous perennials as a group of plants with great utility in gardens and landscapes.