In february, longtime friend of the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal Angela Ingraham won a special and prestigious award. reading about it brought me back to the time when the uGJ was in its infancy and made me more than a little nostalgic.
Like everyone in the business, I knew Doc and Katy—they often shopped at Reeves Road Greenhouses, where I worked in the early ‘90s. And I knew angela back in the day, too. When my daughter was a toddler we spent plenty of time in the kids’ garden at Gardenscape, and we visited her often at Bristol’s. In fact, I squarely blame Angela for Kieley’s habit of adopting unusual creatures. Oh, and now Kieley works at Bristol’s (big surprise). If she grows up to be as full of knowledge and sweetness and Angela is, I’ll be a happy mom. She is off to a good start.
Angela Ingraham recipient of Doc and Katy Abraham Green Thumb Memorial Award
The award was presented at the Master Gardeners Spring Garden Symposium held on Saturday, February 11 at Club 86 in Geneva.
Angela Ingraham has been in the green industry since 1978. From her first job gardening with a local lawn maintenance company the summer after high school, she knew she had found her calling. After several years at Gardner’s Greenhouse in Henrietta, she worked retail for eight years at Agway Garden Center in Victor, followed by 8 years in Landscape Design at Wayside Garden Center in Macedon. It was here that she began a 10 year partnership with the Genesee Fingerlakes Nursery and Landscape Association’s (now PLA NT GFLX) spring show, GardenScape, at the Dome Arena in Henrietta. There, she and a small group of dedicated people developed the children’s garden, a themed section of the show designed to provide education and entertainment for kids visiting the show.
In 1998, wishing to return to the retail garden industry, Angela began a career at Bristol’s Garden Center in Victor, retiring from full time employment in 2014 to care for her mother-in-law at home on the farm. During that time, she worked in the perennials department and also ran, for many years, the “Kids Club,” introducing children to the joys of gardening. She continues to enjoy helping out at Bristol’s each spring for a few weekend days and seeing all of her former colleagues and beloved customers.
Over the years, Angela developed many relationships with local experts in garden clubs such as the Rock Garden Society, Hosta Society, Rose and Daylily Societies, and the Perennial Society. With the help of these dedicated and knowledgeable groups of people, she was able to provide the best possible local and up-to-date information possible to her customers.
Although she has worked in this industry for over 35 years, Angela never felt herself to be an “expert” in any one area of knowledge, rather she enjoyed being a “Jill of all trades,” learning a bit about every aspect of gardening and horticulture. If anything, every year, she learned how much she didn’t know, by seeing how much more there was to learn!
One of the things Angela is most proud of is her desire to educate as many people as possible over her career on the use of organic methods of gardening and alternative controls for pests and diseases. This continues today, on her own farm, where she grows the family’s food and continues to mentor others when called upon.
Angela is honored by the nomination of this award, as it is a result of her love of all things growing that led her to a career in an industry that allowed her to spend each workday surrounded by the things she loves. She feels fortunate to have been able to pass that joy onto her customers and to so many children, who now, as adults, can in turn share the love of gardening with their children.
—Russell Welser, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County