PA Horticultural Society Honors Devoted Philadelphia Flower Show Exhibitor, Other Leaders

The PA Horticultural Society Wednesday hosted its PHS Awards Celebration at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel to honor remarkable individuals who have worked with tireless dedication in both professional and volunteer capacities advancing the PHS mission.

The organization’s highest honor, the PHS Distinguished Achievement Award, was presented to Michael Petrie.

After a 20-year career as a nurseryman, Michael Petrie established Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens in 2008, a garden design/build firm working throughout the region.

His designs are influenced by his academic training in visual arts at the University of the Arts and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and convey visual, compositional and emotional appeal as well as balance and originality.

Michael may be best known for his wildly beautiful and unconventional award-winning exhibits at the Philadelphia Flower Show, many of which have won Best in Show.

In 2017, after 22 consecutive years and many ribbons and awards, Michael retired as a main exhibitor at the Flower Show.

This award recognizes Michael for his many years of devotion to the Philadelphia Flower Show, for the mentorship and guidance he has provided to other exhibitors, and for his success in delighting the millions of Flower Show visitors who have been educated and inspired by his work.

His artistry has received attention in national media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Country Gardens magazine and Architectural Digest. Recently, Michael was awarded both gold and silver medals at the Singapore Gardening Festival.

Certificates Of Merit

PHS also presented its 2017 Certificates of Merit at the ceremony. The awards are given to individuals, organizations, institutions and businesses for outstanding contributions and achievements in horticulture, including the Philadelphia Flower Show and PHS greening programs--

-- Chuck Feld: A career-long horticulture professional, Chuck has made his mark on the region as an educator, a landscape professional, and a volunteer. A Horticulture instructor at Williamson College of the Trades since 2007, Chuck has mentored hundreds of horticulture students, leading to many awards for Williamson exhibits at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Chuck himself is a veteran participant of the last 49 Flower Shows.

-- Phil Normandy: As Plant Collections Manager at Brookside Gardens, an award-winning public garden in suburban Washington D.C. since 1979, Phil Normandy has enjoyed an illustrious career in public horticulture. A woody plant expert with a special interest in viburnums, he has been a member of PHS’s Gold Medal Plant Committee since its inception in 1978, which recognizes trees, shrubs and woody vines of outstanding merit for the home gardener. An excellent plantsman, Phil has contributed his expertise to identify hundreds of superior plant species and cultivars which have help create generations of successful home gardeners.

-- Francesca Northrup: Trained as an RN, Fran has had a second career as a volunteer leader at various charitable organizations. Her involvement with the Flower show began in the 1980s, and in the following years, she has submitted many entries in competitive classes. Gifted at working behind the scenes, brainstorming ideas, and seeing them come to fruition, she helped envision and develop the Designer’s Studio, which has since become an important feature of the Show, and more recently chaired the Competitive Classes Committee. A talented designer, Fran leads floral workshops sharing her expertise with others.

Mary Seton Corboy Award

PHS also presented the inaugural Mary Seton Corboy Award, given in memory of a beloved leader whose vision changed the field of community applied horticulture, to Phil Forsyth.

Phil Forsyth has led the Philadelphia Orchard Project’s (POP) orchard design and development since its first plantings in the spring of 2007.

In the past 10 years, POP has helped to plant 46 community orchards and currently supports a total of 59 city orchards, primarily in low-wealth neighborhoods of North and West Philadelphia.

Under Phil’s leadership, POP’s programs have grown from orchard planting to also include an urban orchard training course, a fruit gleaning program, and most recently, development of an orchard-based curriculum for schools.

Mary Seton Corboy, a 2012 recipient of a PHS Certificate of Merit award, founded Greensgrow Farms in the Kensington section of Philadelphia in 1997, and was its director until her death last year at the age of 58.

Under her leadership, Greensgrow became recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent urban farms.

This award is bestowed to a leader in the field of community applied agriculture or horticulture who personally and through his or her work embodies the legacy of Mary Seton Corboy. 

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the PA Horticultural Society website, Like PHS on Facebook, Join PHS on Instagram and Follow on TwitterClick Here to sign up for regular updates from PHS.  Click Here to become a member.

[Posted: Nov. 9, 2017]


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