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Plant Evaluators

Advisory Member
ROY DIBLIK

Educator
PAM DUTHIE
JULIA FITZPATRICK-COOPER
MARCY STEWART PYZIAK

Grower
BRENT HORVATH
KYLE LAMBERT
MIKE MENNENOH

Landscape Architect/Designer
MARY CREIGHTON ALLEN
KAREN R. MOORE
DEIRDRE E. TONER


Municipal Parkland
JOHN JAMINSKI
STEVE MEYER

Public Horticulture
KATRINA CHIPMAN
RICHARD G. HAWKE
TODD C. JACOBSON


Retail
JEAN BRAGDON
KELLY GIRUP
SUSAN J. STONE


Wholesale
LAURIE MCGHEE
BRENDA H. MCMAHON

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EVALUATION TEAM BIOGRAPHIES

Mary Allen photo
MARY CREIGHTON
ALLEN

Landscape Architect/Landscape Contractor Plandscape Inc. Elburn, IL
Mary brings to the group 24 years of experience in the landscape industry. Her experience began with a large commercial Landscape Contractor. Her responsibilities included working with existing maintenance clients designing and coordinating landscape enhancements and seasonal color programs. Her job evolved into purchasing all plant material for their extensive installations department. Now at Plandscape Inc., Mary is in charge of the maintenance department where her responsibilities include sales, scheduling and managing crews. She is also involved in perennial garden design and installation.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. Landscape Architecture, Michigan State University Corridor Improvement Commission, City of St. Charles


Jean Bragdon
JEAN BRAGDON

Operations Manager, Lurvey Landscape Supply and Garden Center
Des Plaines, IL
Jean began her horticultural career in the work-study program in high school. She has experience in many aspects of the industry, including grower/manager (of annuals, perennials, tropicals and blooming plants), floral designer and has also owned and operated an interior plantscape business. She is currently the operations manager at Lurvey Landscape Supply and Garden Center where she is the annual and perennial buyer and oversees Garden Center Operations.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
Ornamental Horticulture, Triton College and College of Lake County Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Leadership Council Midwest Ecological Landscape Association (MELA) Board of Directors Illinois Certified Nursery Professional (ICN)

 

Katrina Chipman
KATRINA CHIPMAN
Horticulturist II, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL
Katrina began her career in horticulture assisting with her mother’s self-owned landscape business, Ingrid’s Landscaping in Ryan, Iowa during her high school and college years. She helped with everything from pond maintenance to hardscape installation, to landscape installation. After receiving her degree, Katrina worked as a Natural Area Technician before beginning her career at The Morton Arboretum. Currently, Katrina helps to maintain the 4-acre Children’s Garden, which includes ornamental plantings, annual beds, vegetable gardens, and pondscapes.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. in Biology, Iowa State University

 

Roy Diblik
ROY DIBLIK
Co-owner, Northwind Perennial Farm
Northwind Perennial Farm, Burlington, WI
Northwind Perennial Farm specializes in growing perennials, native plants and ornamental grasses as well as landscape design and installation. Roy has been growing plants for more than 25 years. Recently, Roy was the plant purchasing coordinator for the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millenium Park, growing 11,000 of the plants at Northwind. He was also very involved in the installation of the garden. He also installed the Sullivan Arch Garden for the modern wing of the Art Institute in Chicago. He has been teaching his “Know” Maintenance Perennial Plant Communities concept at College of DuPage since 2006.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. Recreational Outdoor Education, Western Illinois University
Author of Small Perennial Gardens: A Know Maintenance Approach; member Midwest Ecological Landscape Association and Perennial Plant Assosiation

Pam Duthie
PAM DUTHIE

Retired Landscape Designer, Author, Photographer, Lecturer
The Gifted Gardener, Northbrook, IL
Duthie operated her own Landscape Design business for 25 years and is a noted author and photographer. Her books “Continuous Bloom” and “Continuous Color” continue to be popular. She is an informative and enthusiastic lecturer nationally and in Canada and is the creator of the ‘Easy “U-Can Plan” Way to Garden’
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.A., Miami University, Oxford, OH
Chicago Botanic Garden (instructor), The Morton Arboretum (instructor), Landscape Design Association, [founder, newsletter editor], Perennial Plant Association, Garden Writers Association, National Association of Photoshop Professionals


Julia Fitzpatrick-Cooper
JULIA FITZPATRICK-COOPER
Professor, Horticulture
College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
Julia has been a full-time faculty member in the Horticulture department at College of DuPage since 1986. She teaches courses in herbaceous perennials, woody plant identification and use, plant taxonomy, ornamental grasses and the introductory horticulture course. She has worked in a variety of horticultural industries, including arboreta, wholesale nurseries, retail garden centers, horticultural therapy programs, community education programs and taught high school horticulture programs.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. in Horticulture and M.S., Agricultural Education, The Ohio State University; Illinois Green Industry Association; Illinois Green Industry Association Horticulture Occupational and Professional Experience, Chair 2008; College of DuPage Study Abroad Scholarship Committee, Co-chair; Midwest Ecological Landscape Association, Board of Directors


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Kelly Girup
KELLY GIRUP
Wholesale and Perennial Manager, Hinsdale Nurseries, Inc., Willowbrook, IL
Kelly has been working in the industry since 1999, where she started out as a cashier at The Growing Place in Naperville. Since then, she has gained experience in landscape design, maintenance, irrigation, commercial installation, and retail and wholesale sales. Her perennial knowledge and experience in the industry has led her to Hinsdale Nurseries, Inc. where she is the wholesale and perennial department manager. Her responsibilities include selecting new perennial varieties, teaching gardening seminars and offering retail, wholesale and landscape customers plant selection advice and proper horticultural techniques. Hinsdale Nurseries, Inc. was founded over 150 years ago as Littleford Nurseries and currently grows over 550 acres of quality trees, shrubs, evergreens and perennials.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. in Horticulture from Iowa State University, Illinois Green Industry Association, Ornamental Growers Association


Richard Hawke
RICHARD G. HAWKE
Plant Evaluation Manager
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL
Hawke has managed the Plant Evaluation Program since 1987. The Plant Evaluation Program received the Award for Program Excellence from the American Public Gardens Association in 2008. He is the author of Plant Evaluation Notes and writes periodically for Chicagoland Gardening, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, The American Gardener, Perennial Plants, American Nurseryman and NMPro. Hawke lectures widely on topics related to his research, including perennials and clematis. He teaches several continuing education classes each year and is the instructor for the herbaceous perennials certificate course within the School of the Botanic Garden. Richard received the Perennial Plant Association’s 2005 Academic Award for teaching excellence.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S. Horticulture; member of American Public Gardens Association, Perennial Plant Association, American Horticultural Society and Garden Writers Association

Brent Horvath
BRENT HORVATH

Grower/President
Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Inc., Hebron, IL
Horvath grew up in the green industry working for his parents at their garden center, landscape and florist company. He graduated with a B.S. from Oregon State University in 1991 and started growing finished perennials for the wholesale trade. Today, Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Inc. lists more than 800 varieties and sells many more. He has introduced over 50 perennials and has over 15 plant patents. Brent is currently writing a book on Sedum for Timber press, due out in the fall of 2013.
Education/Pro.Affiliations:
B.S. in Horticulture from Oregon State University in 1991. Perennial Plant Association

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Todd Jacobson
TODD C. JACOBSON
Head of Horticulture
The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL
Jacobson has been in the field of horticulture since 1995, gaining experience in a number of different sectors, including interiorscape maintenance, landscape construction and installation, grounds maintenance with a park district, and landscape design and planning with a local municipality, where he directed the redevelopment of their downtown streetscape. Todd is currently the assistant director of horticulture at The Morton Arboretum and oversees a display horticulture staff of 11 full-time horticulturists who are responsible for the maintenance of various gardens and landscapes on the arboretum grounds. He also directs the work of the in-house arborist and lawn crews, who maintain the many trees and turf on the grounds.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture, University of Illinois; Illinois Certified Arborist; International Society of Arboriculture; Perennial Plant Association; American Public Gardens Association


JohnJaminski
JOHN JAMINSKI

Crew Leader for Parks Department
City of Evanston, Evanston, IL
John has been in the horticulture industry for the past 20 years and working for the City of Evanston since 1995. He utilizes his wide background and knowledge in perennials, woody plant material, insects and diseases to maintain the high quality expected of Evanston parks and the Rothschild Enabling Garden at the Levy Senior Center. He is a volunteer educator at the Evanston Ecology Center and guest speaker for a north shore garden club. He has also worked in a variety of horticultural industries, including his own landscape business, wholesale nurseries, retail garden centers, and community education programs.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture, University of Illinois; B.A. in Agricultural Economics, University of Illinois

 

Kyle Lambert
KYLE LAMBERT

Perennial and Rose Manager, The Growing Place, Aurora and Naperville, IL
Kyle has been with The Growing Place since 1996. He oversees the production of perennials and herbs. He coordinates inventory of over one thousand perennial varieties at both locations of The Growing Place. He is a plant collector that enjoys experiencing new varieties as well as the importance of incorporating natives. Kyle has given presentations and tours for garden clubs and the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
A.A.S in Greenhouse Management, Joliet Junior College; member of Perennial Plant Association and Wild Ones.


Laurie McGee
LAURIE MCGHEE

Customer Service Representative
Mariani Nurseries, Inc., Kenosha, WI and Garden Prairie, IL
McGhee’s lifelong love of gardening led her to a career in the green industry in 1990. She started her career in horticulture in a retail garden center, and then moved into the wholesale side of the industry. She joined Mariani Nurseries in 2012.  Mariani Nursery is a wholesale nursery that grows and sells trees, ornamentals, evergreens, shrubs, roses, and perennials.  She frequently lectures at area Garden Clubs and Garden Centers.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
IGIA Certified Nursery Professional; Kishwaukee College Horticulture Advisory Board



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Brenda McMahon
BRENDA H. MCMAHON

Horticulturist, Brenda McMahon, Horticulturist, St. Charles, IL
During the 23 years of experience in the Horticulture industry, Brenda has enjoyed a wide variety of projects. One of her favorite was managing the installation of the 10,000 sq ft Piet Oudolf garden at Midwest Groundcovers. Another was working with Garden Centers and Landscape Contractors to obtain the plants they need for their projects. She has also enjoyed sharing her knowledge of perennials through presentations at garden centers and other venues.
Education/ Pro.Affiliations:
Kansas State University-BS, Kishwaukee College, AS
Illinois Landscape Contractor Association, Supplier Member of the Board, 2004-2008

 

Mike Mennenoh
MIKE MENNENOH

Perennial Manager, Inventory, and Shipping Manager at Mariani Nurseries, Garden Prairie IL
Mike started in the industry in 1992 working for Perennial Plant Pros where he learned what quality and customer service was all about. He came to Mariani Nurseries in 2008 to start a 1 gallon perennial program that now consists of over 400 varieties. He also manages the inventory for the shrubs and the shipping department. Mike loves the fast pace nature of the green industry and is constantly amazed with how different each year can be.

Steve Meyer
STEVE MEYER
Horticulturist
Chicago Park District , Chicago, IL
Since 1973, Steve Meyer has worked in various aspects of the green industry. In 1998, he began working for the Chicago Park District Natural Resources Department working specifically at both the Lincoln Park and Garfield Park Conservatories. Steve has a broad knowledge of plant materials from garden perennials and annuals to interior tropicals, aquatics and orchids. His duties include overseeing the growing and display of plants in and around the Conservatory campuses.
Education / Professional Affiliations:
Associate Degrees in Horticulture Marketing and Horticulture Production from Gateway Technical College Kenosha, WI. Degree in Greenhouse Management from DuPage Horticultural School, West Chicago, IL.
Member of American Horticultural Society, Association of Education and Greenhouse Curators (AERGC), American Orchid Society, Illinois Orchid Society

Karen Moore
KAREN R. MOORE
Garden Designer
Coventry Gardeners, Ltd., Westmont, IL
Moore started Coventry Gardeners, Ltd. in 1986. It is a niche business specializing in design, installation and maintenance of perennial flower gardens. Coventry Gardeners’ gardens have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine and other publications. Coventry Gardeners was awarded an ILCA merit award for Residential Landscape Construction.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. in Education from University of Georgia; Perennial Plant Association


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MARCY STEWART-PYZIAK
Horticulturist; garden designer, The Gardeners Tutor, Manhattan, Illinois
Marcy began her career as a University of Illinois extension horticulturist in Will County in 1977. In 1994 she started The Gardeners Tutor, providing consulting, and garden design and maintenance. She also teaches courses on woody and herbaceous plants and design at the Morton arboretum and Chicago Botanic garden, and various garden clubs, libraries, etc., throughout the Chicago area.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
B.S. in Horticulture, University of Illinois

 

Susan Stone
SUSAN J. STONE
Garden Center Manager
Lurvey Landscape Supply & Garden Center, Des Plaines, IL
Stone has been involved in all stages of perennial production, sales, inventory management, and plant buying for several leading Chicagoland nurseries. She is a frequent lecturer for area garden clubs and an instructor at Morton Arboretum.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
Perennial Plant Association, American Horticulture Society

Deirdre Toner
DEIRDRE E. TONER
Landscape Designer
D.T. DESIGN, Old Mill Creek, IL
Toner’s professional life started in the floriculture industry and soon expanded to include landscape and container gardening for the urban market. Her professional experience also includes seven years with Mariani Landscape as a project director in their Design/Build Division. Customized landscape design development and project management is now the focus of her company, D.T. Design.
Education/Professional Affiliations:
School of the Art Institute, Chicago, BFA; Master Gardener Program, Chicago Botanic Garden/Oakton Community College; ASLA, Affiliate member

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