NGINA Awards of Honour
Gary Eyles - Award Of Merit
One of NGINA’s highest recognitions was presented to Gary Eyles at the awards dinner. The award was made for his outstanding contribution to the horticultural industry. A third generation nurseryman, Gary learnt at an early age the value of maintaining and producing the highest quality stock. This has seen his interest in the production of clean budwood leading to his involvement with AusCitrus, and he is currently the president of the International Society of Citrus Nurserymen. He has served on many industry committees and is currently an NGINA director. To read the full citation see link.
Tracey Knowland - Outstanding Individual Award
This award was presented to Tracey Knowland for her outstanding service to the Association in the Northern Rivers Region. Joining NGINA in 2006 Tracey wasted little time in coming to grips with industry issues and offered her services on the local committee. She took over the running of the Alstonville Expo and left no stone unturned to sign up exhibitors and promote the show to buyers. To read the full citation see link.
Peter Whitehead - Tubestock Growers Perpetual Award
While the connection between a retired garden centre owner and the Tubestock Growers Group may not be obvious, the fact that this award went to Peter Whitehead reinforces the value tubestock growers place on anyone who promotes or stimulates the greenlife market. Peter is driven by his passion to sell more plants, and his legacy is running three Green Expo’s in Sydney. To read the full citation see link.
NGIA State Category Awards
Awarded to Alpine Nurseries for demonstrating an outstanding approach and commitment to staff training.
Industry Supplier Award
Won by Yates Australiafortheir outstanding industry contributions and exemplary services to customers.
Awarded to Provincial Plants and Landscapes for demonstrating leadership and commitment to environmental management, sustainability and community participation in relation to environmental issues. This is the third year in a row this award has been won by Provincial.
Won by A T Eyles and Sons – for the best marketing campaign in the last 12 months; judged on concept, execution and evaluation of success.
NSW Young Leader Award
Maroun Maait from Alpine Treemovals, Glenorie was chosen as one of six finalists in the new national Young Leader Development Program. This will culminate in the national winner being announced at next year’s annual NGIA conference on the Gold Coast in March.
In the meantime this entitles Maroun (or Morrie as he is popularly known) to be awarded the NSW/ACT Young Leader for 2012.
Best Production Nursery Awards made judge work hard. “It really makes you think!” was the comment from Production Nursery Awards judge, John Gabriele, Head Teacher of Horticulture at Illawara TAFE, after completing this year’s judging round. Entries were down this year, but it still doesn’t make the judging job any easier, as there is still a mass of detail to sift through on every site visited.
The highlight was Jamberoo Native Nursery winning their 7th award in a row for Medium Production Nursery category. This is an outstanding effort for Geoff Bailey and his talented team, including Nathan Sparkes, Sarah Peacock and Anne Hogan. Plantasy Nursery from the Tweed/Brunswick region was a first time winner in the Small category, while Ramm Botanicals in Propagation and Colourwise Nursery in Large were both multiple award winners.
Back-to-back Awards for three Best Garden Centres
Mittagong Garden Centre showed yet again that if you keep on improving, you keep on winning. This was exemplified by winning their sixth straight state Garden Centre of the Year award in the Medium Category, as well as taking out the National title last year. Ask owners Phil and Roz Mather what it takes and they will say every time “there is always something to keep working on, things to change, new ideas to try, as well as keeping the product range fresh.”
Edgerton Nursery and Country Garden in Narromine also won their second successful title in the Small Garden Centre Category, a great effort in this most competitive group. It also reinforced the resilience and planning of owners Anna and Greg Hitchcock, given that the local economy in the state’s western regions is only just starting to show signs of a return to prosperity.
It was also a repeat performance for Eden Gardens in North Ryde in the Large Garden Centre Category. It is obvious from to any regular visitor to Eden that they continue to strive to make improvements and build foot traffic and in accepting the award Anna Ainsworth paid tribute to the whole team at Eden. They now enter the biggest challenge of trying to win the national award. The onsite judge was industry consultant Rob Reynolds, Classico Australia Pty Ltd, who commented on the high standard in this year’s entries.
ACE steals show – and nearly loses his cards
When it comes to rope tricks, memorising words,card tricks and sorting out who is lying, there are no flies on magician, ACE McDermott. After relieving Morrie Maait of a cool $45 in a heartbeat, he went on to provide 40 minutes of fun to guests at the NGINA Awards Dinner. But the last laugh was nearly on ACE after some cards went missing after being carefully concealed by a female contestant down her front.
Fitting Farewell to Mike Skegg
The occasion also marked the end of an era with an official farewell to Mike Skeggwho recently stepped down from his position as CEO for NGINA.
After six and a half years at the helm and surrounded by industry members, Mike was treated to tributes from long time Yates employee and colleague Judy Horton, Nursery and Garden Industry Australia CEO, Robert Prince and NGINA President Jeff Cooke.
Mike was described as having a passion for the nursery and garden industry, in spite of his more corporate background. Whilst he showed a willingness to get the industry moving forward, he believed that profitability was a core ingredient “if you haven’t got it, you can’t spend it!” And in his running of NGINA he certainly demonstrated this, instinctively ensuring that the accounts nearly always came in with a surplus.
Mike also believed in getting out and meeting the members. If there was an issue, he wanted to hear about it and try and understand how to fix it. He was fully supportive of national issues and programs and was always ready to put up his hand if there was a project which needed some added help.
Jeff Cooke made a presentation to Mike, which included a gift and a huge card signed by all attendees. Charlotte Skegg was presented with flowers by former NGINA President Sonja Cameron.
Complete Summary of the 2011-12 NGINA Award Winners
NGINA SPECIAL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
• Outstanding Individual In A Region Or Special Interest Group
Presented to: Tracey Knowland, Bangalow Wholesale Nursery
• Tubestock Growers Perpetual Award
Presented to: Peter Whitehead
• NGINA Award Of Merit
Presented to: Gary Eyles, AT Eyles and Sons
NGIA STATE CATEGORY AWARDS
• Training Award: Winner - Alpine Nurseries
• Industry Supplier Award: Winner - Yates Australia
Finalist: Irrigation & Water Technology
• Environment Award: Winner: Provincial Plants and Landscapes
Finalists: Alpine Nurseries; Back to Front Garden Centre; Eden Gardens.
• Marketing Award: Winner: A T Eyles and Sons
Finalists: Eden Gardens; Ramm Botanicals.
NGIA STATE YOUNG LEADER AWARD
Winner: Maroun Maait, Alpine Treemovals, Glenorie
The other Entrant was Jon Dunkley from Yates Australia.
GARDEN CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
Certificates presented to: Edgerton Nursery and Country Garden, Narromine; Elegant Outdoors, Turramurra; Honeysuckle Garden Centre, Bondi Junction; North Manly Garden Centre, North Manly; Rodney’s Plants Plus, Piallago (ACT); Tims Garden Centre, Campbelltown; Wallsend Community Nursery, Wallsend (Newcastle).
NGIA BEST NSW/ACT GARDEN CENTRE AWARDS
• Best Small Garden Centre: Winner - Edgerton Nursery (Narromine)
• Best Medium Garden Centre: Winner - Mittagong Garden Centre(Mittagong)
• Best Large Garden Centre: Winner - Eden Gardens (North Ryde)
Other Finalists were: Back to Front Garden Centre; BushysBloomin Things, and; Poppys on Oakdale Garden Centre.
NGIA YATES PRODUCTION NURSERY AWARDS
• Best Small Production Nursery Award: Winner - Plantasy Nursery (Burringbar)
• Best Medium Production Nursery Award: Winner - Jamberoo Native Nursery (Jamberoo)
• Best Propagation Nursery Award: Winner - Ramm Botanicals (Tuggerah)
• Best Large Production Nursery Award: Winner -Colourwise Nursery (Glenorie)
The Other Finalist was: Brindley’s Nursery (Coffs Harbour).
THANKS TO THE SPONSORS
CAD Partners, Eden Gardens, Everris, Garden City Plastics, Grange Growing Solutions, Hunter Valley Gardens, Kenthurst Nursery, Mittagong Garden Centre, Oasis Horticulture, Plantmark, Prime Super, Ramm Botanicals, Universal Magazines, Yates Australia,
AgriFood Skills Australia, E-Awards, Hort Journal, Norwood, Outdoor Design Source, Save Water and Yates Australia.
Special thanks to Horticulture Australia Ltd and Nursery & Garden Industry Australia.
Images (top to bottom): Peter Whitehead; Mike Skegg; (L to R) Angela Lore, Natalie Raad, & Emil Montibeler from Universal Magazines; and Robert Prince.