The HMAA Laurel Awards recognise writers, photographers, educators, researchers, and broadcasters who have demonstrated exceptional creativity in communicating the benefits and joys of gardening to the community.
The Dinner is now fully subscribed. Please note that we unable to accept any late bookings.
The seventh HMAA Laurels Awards Night and Dinner will be held on March 25, 2014, in Melbourne’s atmospheric Plaza Ballroom.
Reminiscent of the grand European ballrooms of the 19th Century, it was built in 1929, but has undergone meticulous restoration to return it to its former glory. HMA members who have visited the venue agree that it’s unmatched in history, elegance and grandeur.
While the presentation of the awards is the main feature of the evening, other highlights will include performances by renowned garden identity and musician Simon Rickard, as well as Gherkin Jarvis who will entertain with his comedic take on the world of gardening media.
The MC – Stephen Ryan
Gardening media personality Stephen Ryan has agreed to be the MC for the Awards Night and Dinner. When he’s not hunting plants throughout the world Stephen runs his own nationally recognised nursery Dicksonia Rare Plants.
As well as three books his media career has included writing articles for magazines and newspapers, regular radio segments and appearances on television programs, including as host of ABC Television’s Gardening Australia.
Given the HMAA Laurels are on the eve of MIFGS we suggest booking accommodation early. While most of you will have your favourite haunts to stay, we’ll also put a few suggestions on the website (To view CLICK HERE). Please keep in mind the hotels listed are not recommendations from the HMA, but just suggestions as a starting point for your research and were sourced through the Melbourne Convention Bureau.
The prestigious HMAA Laurels Awards started as a conference conclusion dinner event in 2000. It was designed, as it is today, to recognise excellence for the top communicators in horticulture.
But the story really begins when the South Australian, Victorian and NSW HMA branches agreed to each take responsibility for some aspect of being a national organisation. Victoria managed communications between branches and published the quarterly HMA News; NSW opted to work on maintaining strong industry links, and SA took on ‘events’.
It didn’t take long for the SA team to suggest a national awards program and formed a working party that included Michael Keelan (chair), Trevor Nottle, Chris Steele Scott, Dianne Hall (NGISA), Merilyn Kuchel and Jan Beare.
“Between us we came up with the event name, The HMA Laurels,” Trevor says. “We then set about defining the categories and rules for entry. Once it was approved by the national committee the SA group went into overdrive to ensure a high quality event.”
Over the years the awards have grown and in 2014 new categories have been added to accommodate the ever-changing media landscape. But what hasn’t altered is the prestige of winning a HMAA Laurel.
HMA Australia president, Angus Stewart, won the 2011 Book Laurel, General category. He says the award was not only a great honour, but also proved invaluable from a marketing viewpoint. “My book Creating an Australian Garden continues to sell steadily due in some part to the fact that the Laurel has made it possible to proudly describe it as an award winning title.”
For Rodger Elliot, winning the 2011 Book Laurel, Technical, for the Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants, Volume 9 is a “pleasing acknowledgement by our peers. This final volume brought the project to a satisfying conclusion and was the culmination of 35 years effort by David Jones and myself, along with our illustrator Trevor Blake.”
Meanwhile the irrepressible Tino Carnevale, winner of the 2011 Anita Boucher Young Achiever’s Award, found the experience amazing. “To be recognised by the industry is brilliant. It helped build my confidence, and there is the added prestige of winning an award.” All three past winners encourage others to enter and are really looking forward to the 2014 event.