herman pruitt mentoring Award
Ed Zahler - 2022
When someone has had a daylily career as long as that of Ed Zahler, the count of people they’ve reached, educated, and influenced becomes very large. And when that person has made a point to seek out people, draw them into the world of daylilies, and proactively teach them growing and hybridizing skills, the count becomes immeasurable.
Ed’s story starts in the 1970s and 1980s when he became friends with and learned volumes from the likes of Charlotte Hollman and Pauline Henry. Recognizing the valuable education being passed to him, Ed began immediately sharing that knowledge both in his career as a teacher and with the gardening community at large.
In the early 1990s Ed established the Grand Strand Daylily Society, which brought together the daylily fanatics he knew were out there. This club gave him a foundation to reach out to new gardeners and to find brand new daylily lovers. Programs regularly featured educational pieces encouraging members to grow a greater variety of daylilies, share plants with their neighbors, and to take up hybridizing on their own. A regular presenter at other daylily clubs’ meetings, Ed’s talks always raised people’s interest in what might be possible in the daylily hybridizing world and how they could be a part of that future.
Ed has served as a Garden Judge and a Garden Judge Instructor. Over the years, he has taught probably hundreds of Garden Judges, using his gentle teaching style to make the detailed information easier to understand. In addition, while serving as Region 15 Hybridizer Liaison, Ed actively brought together hybridizers from across the region to share knowledge and breeding tips.
Over the years, Ed has sparked a daylily fire in many, many people. Serious commercial gardeners, dedicated backyard gardeners, and gardeners with only small flower beds all received the same message, outreach, and encouragement from Ed. Arguably the most significant impact Ed has had on the world of daylilies is through his mentoring relationship with Duane Therrien. After they met at a Lowcountry Daylily Club meeting, Ed quickly took Duane under his wing, teaching him what he knew about daylily genetics and how to grow robust daylilies. Their friendship grew along with their hybridizing programs and soon they combined their gardens to better focus their efforts. Duane’s boundless energy and stamina combined with Ed’s background and guidance has produced a show-stopping garden and very strong diploid genetic lines. Twenty-five years after Ed registered his first plant, Duane registered his first – and both have a series of very strong contenders moving through their hybridizing programs.
Throughout his daylily career, Ed has worked towards a singular goal – to create diploids with the same substance, rich color, ruffling, and even gold edge as tetraploids. He has readily shared this goal and the details of his hybridizing program with others in the hopes they will become as enthusiastic as he is to create such beauty. Sure enough, sharing the idea that diploids can be knock your socks off beautiful has enabled Ed to convince folks to get into hybridizing who might not have otherwise.
While Ed’s daylily world of late has gotten a little smaller, the people he’s educated, encouraged, and mentored carry on, producing fresh flowers, robust plants, and spreading the word of daylilies. We are all so much richer for his efforts and Ed Zahler more than deserves the Herman Pruitt Mentoring Award.
The Herman Pruitt Mentoring Award was established in 2010 by the Central Daylily Club in memory of its founder, Herman Pruitt, and to honor and perpetuate his mentoring efforts in Region 15. Generous with both his time and personal resources, Herman Pruitt exemplified the term “role model” for others. The award is open to any Region 15 member who has made outstanding efforts in mentoring others regarding daylilies. This may include mentoring youth, new hybridizers, or a new daylily club.
The Herman Pruitt Mentoring Award was originally sponsored by the Central Daylily Club from fall 2011-fall 2015. When the club dissolved in 2015, the newly formed Triad Daylily Fans and Gardening Club agreed to assume sponsorship. It is currently sponsored by the Piedmont Daylily Club.
THE COMPLETE & OFFICIAL AWARD CONTEST RULES
• Any Region 15 member(s) may nominate an individual (or couple who work together) deemed worthy of the Herman Pruitt Mentoring Award.
• Nominations should be in narrative form and should include specific details of the nominee’s mentoring efforts as well as provide any other information about the nominee’s contributions to ADS and Region 15.
• The letter may be sent via e-mail or the USPS to the Awards Management Chair and must arrive on or before SEPT 1 of the year for which the nomination is made .
• Contact information for the person making the nomination is required.
• Elected members of the Region 15 Board of Directors (RP, Treasurer, and Member at Large) and the last two previous winners of this award will constitute the selection committee for this award.
• The winner of the Herman Pruitt Mentoring Award will receive an engraved plaque by the president of the sponsoring club (or the president's designee) at the annual Region 15 Fall Meeting.
2022 Ed Zahler
2021 NO NOMINEE
2020 Pat Mansfield
2019 James David Stadler
2018 Van Sellers and Vic Santa Lucia
2017 NO NOMINEE
2016 Raymond Quinn
2015 Ken Cobb
2014 NO NOMINEE
2013 Jim and Peggy Jeffcoat
2012 Linda Sue Barnes
2011 Roger Mercer