Rotary Gardens win AAS landscape design nod
JANESVILLE In the plant world, exposure can be a good thing.
Rotary Botanical Gardens category win in the All America Selections Landscape Design Contest will help it gain some valuable exposure on a national scale.
“We’ll see our name in national magazines and other garden publications,” said Mark Dwyer, horticulture director. “We’re so pleased with winning, but also realize all the publicity—information sent out to 6,000 sources—we’ll get.”
All 175 AAS display gardens across the country were invited to participate in the competition, which was divided into three categories based on number of visitors.
Rotary Gardens entered in the largest category, more than 100,000 visitors each year, which included gardens such as the Denver and Chicago botanical gardens, Dwyer said.
“They were all considerably larger with larger budgets so I knew we would have some stiff competition,” he said.
Although Dwyer was confident about Rotary Gardens’ display, he still was surprised it took top honors.
“We are very proud of our display, considering the drought and the work involved,’’ he said.
The contest required each entry to have a minimum of 50 percent of its total landscaped area comprised of past and present AAS winners, labeled with the variety name and the AAS logo, according to the group’s website.
In a news release about contest winners, AAS wrote:
“Rotary Botanical Gardens reigned supreme in gardens … with its expertly designed garden beds that were bursting with color. Rotary used an impressive 127 AAS winners in its landscape design—the highest number of any contest entry.”
“The criteria for judging by a panel of independent garden experts nationwide was based on different factors, such as design and how the display was promoted to get the public to see it,” he said.
When Dwyer submitted the final product it included a report and pictures of the landscape area empty, being planted by volunteers, and finally the end result, he said.
Denver Botanic Gardens in Colorado finished second and Marjory McNeely Conservatory, Minneapolis, finished third behind Rotary Gardens.
“Denver and Chicago would be considered in the top 10 botanical gardens in the country,” Dwyer said. “So I envision people coming to Rotary Gardens to see what we’re doing.”