Vermont Press Releases

Green Works announces winners of their Annual Achievement Awards

February 22, 2013

Kristina MacKulin
[email protected]

Green Works/Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association is pleased to announce the winners of their annual awards. Winners received these awards at the recent 2013 Green Works Winter Meeting & Trade Show held on 2/13/13 at the UVM Davis Center.

Horticultural Achievement Award

This award is given to individuals connected to the horticultural industry in Vermont, who are over 40 years of age and whose accomplishments have advanced our industry educationally, by plant development or growing, through literature, or through outstanding personal effort. This award is the most prestigious and distinguished that can be received from Green Works/Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association.

WINNER: Don and Lela Avery, Cady’s Falls Nursery, Morrisville, VT.

Nomination Information: Don and Lela are pioneers in the Vermont horticultural scene. In 1980 they founded their retail nursery in the north central part of Vermont, offering a wide selection of herbaceous perennials and woody plants for northern gardens. Ninety five percent of their retail plant offerings are propagated at the nursery.

They grow many classic stalwarts as well as many rare and hard-to-find plants. Some of the distinctive plants they propagate include dwarf and weeping conifers, native ladyslippers, native ferns, bog plants, aquatics, alpines, cacti & Itoh hybrid peonies.

Don and Lela have been especially gracious by offering workshops for Green Works members on grafting techniques and propagation by woody cuttings. They are also active members of the Vermont Hardy Plant Club offering even more workshops and tours through this group.

They have chosen to remain a small intimate nursery in order to stay focused on the things they consider important: the evolution of their exquisite and impeccably maintained gardens, the quality of their plants and the quality of the experience people have when they visit the nursery.

Though their gardens and nursery are highly regarded and often written about, Don and Lela remain humble and rooted in their passion for sharing their knowledge with others. We are lucky to have them as a resource and inspiration right here in Vermont.

Environmental Awareness Award

This award is given in recognition of an individual that has implemented an environmentally sound practice that contributes to the protection of our environment.

WINNER: Chris Conant, Claussen’s Florist, Greenhouse and Perennial Farm, Colchester, VT.

Nomination Information: My name is Lori King and I am the Head Grower at Claussen’s. It is an honor for Claussen’s to be nominated for the Environmental Awareness Award. Implementing a successful Integrated Pest Management Program is one of those steps.

Our goal is to use biological control (good bugs) rather than using chemical pesticides to control the pest (bad bugs). Weekly scouting is key. This involves walking through the greenhouses and checking monitoring cards and plants in a random pattern for pest. Then we identify, count and record so we can use the correct beneficials for weekly releasing. Early detection helps ensure that problems are managed and minimized.

Claussen’s attends tri state workshops through UVM, as well as seminars and webinars as both participants and as speakers sharing our successes and failures. For several years Claussen’s has worked with the University of Vermont in many capacities from providing greenhouses for testing for Energy Consumption Efficiency to providing space in our greenhouses or assisting with research.

I am proud to work for a company that is a trend setter and is committed to making a better tomorrow while keeping up the Claussen tradition of top quality plants. Let’s all enjoy the flowers and bees for generations to come.

NENA Young Nursery Professional of the Year Award

This is an annual award established by the New England Nursery Association. Its purpose is to reward, to honor and to encourage participation, achievement and growth by an individual who is involved in a related horticultural industry and has not reached the age of 40 years, who has shown involvement in his or her state and/or regional nurserymen’s association, has contributed to the growth and success of their company of employment and has portrayed an image to the public of what our products and services can do for them.

WINNER: Brian Vaughan, Vaughan Landscaping Co., St. George, VT.

Growing up on a dairy farm in Thetford, VT Brian learned what it takes to be successful: Hard work, persistence and honesty in all relationships. After working various jobs and completing a career test Brian decided to pursue a career in horticulture. In 1999 Brian achieved a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Forestry and Landscape Horticulture with a minor in Applied Design. While a student at UVM, Brian established and chaired the UVM Horticultural Club, which is still in existence today.

Brian decided to launch his landscaping business in 2002 specializing in landscape design, stone work and installation. Educating clients and listening to what they want has resulted in long lasting business relationships. Brian guarantees his work and strives to complete projects right the first time. Celebrating 10 years in business Brian will continue to focus on residential garden design and installation.

In 2007 Brian was nominated to serve on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Horticulture Farm. While on the Board Brian was asked to take over as Curator of the Perennial Gardens and is currently in this position. Brian holds educational workshops in the perennial gardens in the Spring and Summer. These workshops also maintain the gardens for the annual Bloomtime festival and FHF Plant Sale.

In 2011 Brian was nominated to the VNLA Board and is currently serving as a director. Brian is chair of the Evaluation & Planning Committee and on the Newsletter Committee. Brian has been a VNLA member and Vermont Certified Horticulturist since 2000 and uses this valuable certification in his business.

Retailer of the Year Award

This award will be presented annually to a retail garden center or greenhouse operation that stands apart for their excellence in any or all of the following categories: customer service, quality of plant material, knowledge of staff, creativity and innovations in marketing and presentation of retail space, and overall customer experience and satisfaction. This is a new award this year for Green Works.

WINNER: Julie Rubaud, Red Wagon Plant, Hinesburg, VT

Julie Rubaud started as a part-time farmer working with friends at Diggers’ Mirth at the Intervale. While her colleagues planted vegetables, Julie was looking for something to do earlier in the season so she started growing herbs that she sold in clay pots at the Burlington Farmers’ Market. The herb business expanded and she began selling wholesale to Healthy Living, Gardener’s Supply, and the Shelburne Supermarket; outlets which continue to buy from her today.

In 2005, Julie founded Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg. Initially the small nursery was established to expand and support her wholesale operation. But during that first year, people kept coming into her driveway hoping to buy plants, so she started a retail business that has been steadily growing since.

Julie has managed to grow in increments, building a new greenhouse one year, building a display garden the next, and expanding her offerings each year. As the Hinesburg area has grown, Julie has increased her offerings to meet the demand.

Perhaps best of all, many of Julie’s customers don’t meet the stereotype of organic plant purchasers, and as Red Wagon Plants is certified organic Julie has the opportunity to share her beliefs and knowledge which she does not only through sales, but through speaking engagements and an on-line blog.

Red Wagon supports the community plant sales and fundraisers with plants and gift card donations and Julie loves her location on Shelburne Falls Road, surrounded by a haying operation, a raw milk farm, and a horse farm. Julie’s goal is to be welcoming to new gardeners and encourage people to grow their own food. As she continues to grow and offer high quality plants to her community, we’re sure she is achieving her goal.

A UVM Student Merit Award of $350 was awarded to John R. Bruce of Ferrisburgh, VT. This student was recommended by the Plant and Soil Science Committee at UVM.

Information on John:

John is a Vermonter having lived most of his life in Ferrisburg. John is a senior in Sustainable Landscape Horticulture. While at UVM, he has been very busy both in the classroom and out. In addition to excellent grades, John was a Teaching Assistant in the Woody Landscape Plants course last fall, having scored one of the highest grades in the class the previous year. In his extracurricular activities John has been exceptionally active. He is the Vice President of the UVM Horticulture Club, the Vice President of the Mortar Board Society and the President of the UVM Club Quidditch Team! (Yes… Quidditch is a real sport!)

John has been very involved in a variety of horticultural internships and work experiences over the past several years. He has worked at most of the local vineyards (Mina Brothers, Shelburne, East Shore and Lincoln Peak). John was also a Horticultural Intern at UVM this past summer, helping to maintain all the display gardens on campus.

John’s real passion is working with his own market garden that he runs from his parent’s property. He has been supplying produce to two restaurants at Basin Harbor Club and he hopes to continue this after graduating from UVM this spring.

John’s future plans are to continue to expand his market garden business here in Vermont to become a diversified farm that includes livestock, fruit trees and “value-added” products. He also hopes to become part of a “Farm to School” program which connects local school children to farms in the area.

For contact information on the award winners and/or photos please contact me directly.

Green Works/Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association is a non-profit, statewide organization representing Vermont’s garden centers, greenhouses, landscapers, landscape designers and architects, nurseries, arborists, plant maintenance experts, turf care and irrigation specialists, horticultural educators and researchers, and other plant professionals. For more information about our members and the association visit


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