John Frett, professor of landscape horticulture and director of the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG), was recently recognized by the Garden Club of America for his service as an advisory board member with the organization’s Wilmington chapter.
According to the Garden Club of Wilmington’s Louise Roselle, who presented the award, Frett has shared much of his knowledge and expertise as a speaker at club meetings and gave an outstanding lecture at a March meeting on “Noteworthy Trees.”
Frett also provided a workshop and a tour of the UDBG for the club in November 2015.
“Under John’s leadership, the UDBG has grown to include more than 3,000 species and cultivars of perennials, shrubs and trees,” said Roselle in her presentation of the award.
At UD, Frett teaches courses in plant materials and also collections management.
Plants have always been a passion for Frett as he wanted to study either plants or animals as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, ultimately deciding to study plants and earning his bachelor of science degree in ornamental horticulture, his master’s degree in plant science from the University of Maine and a doctorate in horticulture from the University of Georgia.
“I’ve always had a tremendous interest in living things, plants or animals. Everything boils down to plants. Nothing would exist without plants,” said Frett.
Though Frett has accumulated many awards in the past for his gardening achievements, this is his first award from the Garden Club of America.
“It’s always nice to be recognized for these things. It’s not the award itself, but the fact that people deem what you’re doing is important enough to go through the effort involved with nominating someone. That to me is actually more important than the award itself,” said Frett.
In addition to teaching, Frett also mentors five interns that work in the gardens. His next big project is the master plan for the future of the UDBG, a project that will take input from students, faculty and alumni.
“It’s a discussion with all of those that use the gardens. [We will] get input from everyone and use the suggestions to formulate a vision for the future of the garden. It’s easy to build a garden, but a lot more work to take care of it,” said Frett.
Article by Courtney Messina
Photo by Wenbo Fan
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