Steve Castorani, president of North Creek Nursery in Landenberg, Pa., was presented with the Award of Merit from the Eastern Region of the International Plant Propagators’ Society – the highest honor the region can bestow upon a member.
North Creek is a propagation nursery that supplies starter plugs to wholesale and retail nurseries. North Creek also produces many native plants in larger landscape plugs that are used in restoration projects and by highway departments, municipalities and conservation societies.
Castorani helped create the American Beauties native plant brand with Prides Corner from Lebanon, Conn. A portion of each sale benefits the National Wildlife Foundation’s wildlife habitat program.
Also, Tom Ranney was elected as a Fellow of the Eastern Region of the IPPS. Ranney is a professor at North Carolina State University and has worked at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Western North Carolina since 1989.
— Matt McClellan
Survival of the fittest
The success of plants like the Knock Out family of roses is no accident. Before a plant is deemed ready for introduction, The Conard-Pyle Co. puts it through a rigorous period of evaluation. The process includes an extensive three-year trial, with no spraying for pests and diseases. The goal is to improve disease resistance and hardiness of its landscape shrubs.
More than 1,000 potential new varieties from all over the world undergo the process. Roughly 15 of those varieties will survive. From there, the very best of the survivors are entered in two-year trials at carefully-chosen test sites throughout the U.S. If a plant can make it through all of Conard-Pyle’s tests and still thrive (like the Knock Out), it can make it anywhere.