Perennial Plant of the Year
Must Have Perennials™ are proud to have two varieties - Astilbe 'Sprite' and Geranium Rozanne® – which have been awarded the prestigious PPA Perennial Plant of the Year (1994 and 2008 respectively). The PPA - Perennial Plant Association, to give it its full name - is a North American body that promotes expertise in perennial plants.
The Perennial Plant of the Year™ (POY™) program began in 1990 as a way of showcasing outstanding perennials. Each year PPA members nominate the plants they feel deserving of wider recognition. A committee narrows the nominations to four candidates, and all members vote to determine the winner.
To be considered, a plant must be suitable for a wide range of climate types, have multiple-season interest and be relatively pest/disease-free. In the garden or landscape, it must be easy to grow with "low maintenance" characteristics. It must also be widely available for gardeners to purchase in the year it wins.
The impact of being awarded the PPA Plant of the Year extends far beyond the PPA's membership. Professionals and homeowners alike are keenly aware of the winners, and eager to add them to their catalogs, designs and gardens.
Plant of the Year honors are clearly valuable in commerce, with the winning varieties being recognised by a wide audience as being superior. To a professional, the Plant of the Year designation says, this plant will sell. To the homeowner it says, this plant will improve and enhance my garden; this plant will succeed for me.
About the Perennial Plant Association
The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) is composed of horticultural professionals. Members come from the ranks of wholesale growers, seed companies, plant breeders, retailers, landscapers, designers, garden writers and photographers, educators and students, public gardens and arboreta in North America and internationally.
The PPA defines itself as "A professional trade association dedicated to improving the perennial plant industry by providing education to enhance the production, promotion and utilization of perennial plants." Sounds simple enough, but the key is the word "education."
The Association began in 1983 when Doctor Steven Still, now Professor Emeritus of Ohio State University, invited growers and others to share their knowledge of the then-emerging perennial industry. The PPA has since grown to over 1,800 members, as perennials have grown from a niche crop grown by mavericks to a major -- and still the fastest growing -- category of commercial horticulture.
From the first small gatherings in Columbus, Ohio to today's yearly Symposium hosted by a different city each summer, every PPA assembly has a strong educational focus. By providing a setting where members help one another to learn and improve, the Association has been instrumental in nurturing the growth of perennial gardening.