Angela Treadwell-Palmer Introduces New Plants
PHOTO COURTESY ANGELA TREADWELL-PALMER
She didn ’ t know it ( until now ), but when I first met Angela Treadwell-Palmer , I stalked her . Just a little bit . My earliest memory of her is at the Perennial Plant Symposium in Chicago in 2002 . She knew plants . She knew people . I knew she was going places and was going to make a mark in horticulture . I knew I wanted to know her .
Angela is a busy woman these days . As founder and co-owner of Plants Nouveau , a plant introduction company she started in 2006 , she travels often to meet with breeders and growers in Europe and the U . S . to evaluate their latest efforts . Meanwhile , there is the usual paperwork of running a business waiting to be dealt with . Somewhere in between trips , she has to connect with her husband and children . And hey , why not be the consummate over-committer and do some lacrosse coaching , too ? Like I said , she ’ s a busy woman .
Angela got her start in plant evaluation and introduction at Conard-Pyle , her first postcollege job . She started in sales , which she wasn ’ t exactly gung-ho about , but the company saw her as a valuable asset and didn ’ t want to lose her . One day , she was led to the rose trial garden and asked what she thought of a plant . “ What do you mean ?” she asked . “ Just what do you think about it ?” was the reply . “ I think it ’ s pretty .” That ’ s what they hoped to hear . More importantly it ’ s what they wanted to hear from a woman because they knew most of their customers were women . And so Angela became the first woman in 100 years to evaluate roses at Conard-Pyle . In time , she traveled the world searching for better plants for them to introduce to the market . Angela stayed on until an opportunity at the Chicago Botanic Garden beckoned , and long enough to be part of the release of one of the most important roses in recent history .
BREEDING BREAKTHROUGHS She arrived at CBG during their groundbreaking work with Echinacea . It was a dream job and she loved Chicago . She was certain Chicago would be home for a long time . Then her husband got a job offer he couldn ’ t refuse ; they couldn ’ t refuse . It was time to move back East . But not before she was part of one of the most important perennial releases in recent history .
Angela is proud to have been involved in introducing two revolutionary plants to the horticulture world — the original Knock Out ® rose and Echinacea Orange Meadowbrite™ . Both of these plants truly changed gardening — an impressive resume from only two jobs .
Settled back East , Angela wasn ’ t sure what she might do next . A good friend offered her an opportunity . Some plant breeders in Holland were not being properly compensated by the people handling their patents , so they were looking for more honest representation . With a list of potential clients in hand , Angela began making contacts and soon was working with some of the top breeders in the Netherlands . Her first introduction was Echinacea ‘ Pink Double Delight ’, which she is proud to say is still being sold today .
SPREADING THE WORD
Plants Nouveau was a one-woman operation until Linda Guy joined Angela in 2011 to double-team the horticultural world with great plants . They introduce plants covering the spectrum of possibilities : Perennials , woodies , tropicals and annuals . Early success was with Echinacea from AB-Cultivars of the Netherlands . They also have introduced colocasias , cannas , and caladiums from Brian Williams of Louisville , Kentucky . Hydrangeas from Europe and Zone 6 camellias from the U . S . are now part of their catalogue . It ’ s not about the location of the plant breeder . It ’ s
about the quality of the plants being bred . But how to get the word out about these great plants ? Angela has been a GWA member since her Conard-Pyle days . When I asked her why she is a member , she said that she likes being with the people who educate others about plants . “ It ’ s an excellent way to reach out to potential customers because the members of GWA access such vast and varied audiences .” She enjoys getting GWA members excited about Plants Nouveau ’ s introductions and then seeing them get their readers , listeners and viewers excited about the plants too .
I ’ m glad that over time I did indeed get to know Angela . Her commitment to the horticulture industry and its people , her quest for new and better plants as well as her desire to make all of us better gardeners makes her one of the most important people in horticulture today .
Irvin Etienne , a director of the Perennial Plant Association , is horticultural display coordinator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art . An award-winning blogger , he writes for Indiana Gardening and other magazines .