Jan 21, 2021
AFE Establishes Harold Wilkins Memorial Fund

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has established a new memorial tribute in memory of Dr. Harold F. Wilkins, Professor Emeritus, Department of Horticulture, University of Minnesota, who passed away on Jan. 7, 2021.

Wilkins was a major force in the floriculture world, creating ideas, generating research and mentoring students that profoundly influenced industry and academic directions. The $1,000 fund was established by Royal Heins, one of his students and colleagues. 

Wilkins was born in Cobden, Union County, Illinois. His entire family, including his parents J. Harley and Pauline Wilkins, was involved in the horticulture business. He is graduate of  the University of Illinois where he earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D.

After earning his Ph.D., he spent an additional two years of study in post-harvest physiology at the University of Florida at Bradenton. From 1966 to 1989, he taught and served as the extension floriculture professor at the University of Minnesota’s Saint Paul campus.

Wilkins’ research helped create the alstroemeria industry in the U.S. and is considered the “Father of the Alstroemeria Industry.” Additionally, his research included branching control for roses, carnations, and poinsettias.

After retiring in 1989, he consulted in the San Francisco area for one of the largest cut flower and potted flowering wholesale growers in North America. His responsibility was to find and bring into production new species. He received the D.C. Kiplinger Chair at The Ohio State University.

In November 2005, Harold and his partner Bryan Gjevre began a new “retirement” venture. They purchased an 9-acre farm near Baldwin, Wisconsin. Since 2005, they have planted unusual woody and herbaceous ornamentals to sell to unique floral shops in the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin.

Contributions to the Harold Wilkins Memorial Tribute can be made at https://endowment.org/memorial-tribute-established-in-memory-of-harold-wilkins, or by sending a check  to:

American Floral Endowment
c/o Harold Wilkins Memorial Tribute
625 First Street, PMB 803
Alexandria, VA 22314

The family is always notified of donations and contributions can be made in any amount.

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