Plant Select® announces the appointment of Ross Shrigley as Executive Director and celebrates its 20th anniversary. Started in 1997, this nonprofit collaboration between Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and nurseries has yielded the country’s leading brand of plants designed to thrive in high plains and intermountain regions while using fewer resources and creating a more positive environmental impact.
Shrigley is the collaboration’s second director, replacing founding director Pat Hayward as she moves onto new horticultural pursuits. Shrigley holds a BS in Biology from Colorado State University and is a Colorado Certified Nurseryman. Previous positions include senior horticulturist at Denver Botanic Gardens, outside sales representative at Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery and founder of his own gardening company. He also invented the RAINcane watering device used throughout the horticultural industry and has been an active member of Plant Select for many years, serving on its propagation and marketing committees.
Shrigley says, “a large part of my confidence to try new plants as a professional gardener was built using Plant Select® plants and I look forward to supporting and leading the collaboration’s mission and success for years to come.”
Brian Vogt, CEO of Denver Botanic Gardens, says “Ross has been an exceptional advocate for sustainable Colorado garden design for many years and we look forward to continuing this important collaboration with him at the helm.”
Gene Pielin, Plant Select board president with Gulley Greenhouse in Fort Collins adds, “We look forward to the development of more reliable plant propagation protocols and expanding our national reach under Ross’ leadership.”
The purpose of Plant Select is to seek out, identify and distribute the best plants for landscapes and gardens from the intermountain region to the high plains, using ornamental plant germplasm from the Western United States and steppe regions around the world that are similarly semi-arid. Current regions of exploration and research for new plant material are Western North America, South Africa, Central Asia and Argentina.
Plant Select offerings are sold at many regional independent nurseries and Denver Botanic Gardens’ Spring and Fall Plant Sales. A new Plant Select book, “Pretty Tough Plants: 135 Resilient, Water-Smart Choices for a Beautiful Garden,” was published in spring 2017 and is available for purchase at the Shop at the Gardens. This book serves as a tool kit for learning about the program’s offerings, featuring photos, growing requirements and tips.
Plants are evaluated in trial plots/production nurseries for several years in multiple locations around the state of Colorado. Characteristics of Plant Select offerings include: flourish with less water; thrive in a broad range of conditions; habitat-friendly; tough and resilient in challenging climates; unique; resist disease and insects; long-lasting beauty; and non-invasive.
Plant Select has popularized many plants previously under-used or unknown in the horticulture industry. Plant germplasm for consideration has been obtained from: 1) living collections at Denver Botanic Gardens, 2) existing landscape plants that have local significance; 3) commercial sector; and 4) USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service sites. Only a small percentage of the promotions have been the result of selections from plant breeding programs.