Flower Show Exhibitor Walt Off Receives PHS Award

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Walt and Sam

Walt Off (left) receives congratulations from his friend and colleague, Flower Show Designer Sam Lemheney, for winning the PHS Distinguished Achievement Award.

Walt Off, the veteran Flower Show exhibitor who runs the renowned Waldor Orchids in Linwood, N.J., has received one of the top honors bestowed by PHS. At the 182nd annual meeting of PHS Council on Nov. 10, Off was presented with the Distinguished Achievement Award, which is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of horticulture and has had a positive impact on PHS programs and activities.

Walt’s father, George,  started displaying orchids at the Philadelphia Flower Show in the 1930s, and after a mid-century hiatus, Waldor Orchids has rarely missed exhibiting for more than 30 years. Past Waldor exhibits have taken visitors to China, Hawaii and other exotic locales. For the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show, Walt, who has traveled the world in search of extraordinary blooms, will create a tribute to Singapore’s orchid exhibit in its national botanical gardens. The Waldor display is always one of the most popular, prize-winning exhibits at the Show.

The Council meeting included the presentation of PHS Certificates of Merit to other individuals who play important roles at the Flower Show.

Doris Gwaltney, a tireless advocate for parks, was honored for her dedicated work in the transformation of Carroll Park, turning it from a desolate spot into a clean, vibrant gathering place in West Philadelphia. Doris served on Council, continues to serve on the Philadelphia Green Advisory Board, and was a PHS Village ambassador at the 2009 Flower Show.

Ed MacFarland, Jr., was honored for lending his time and horticultural expertise at the Flower Show for 25 years. Ed is one of the great volunteers who can do just about anything anywhere he is needed. He takes more than a week off from work to help run the Horticultural Information Booth and speaks about roses and herbs in the Gardener’s Studio.

Eve Thyrum, who has grown nearly every kind of plant in her Wilmington-area garden, Frog Hollow, was honored for her devotion to horticulture and for sharing her knowledge and encourgement. Eve served as co-chair of the Horticulture Classes at the 2005 and 2006 Flower Shows. She and her husband, Per, have opened Frog Hollow to PHS and other groups for many tours and events.

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