A garden is an intensely personal, beautiful place, and even public gardens provide a place for appreciation and introspection. A Peoria-area man who devoted his life to the proliferation of beautiful natural spaces recently received a posthumous award for his commitment to horticulture and philanthropy.

Thomas D. Hoerr, Sr., former president of Green View Companies, headquartered in Dunlap, received the Paul Ecke Jr. Commercial Award from the American Horticultural Society on May 11. Hoerr, who died in 2009, was active in several garden-centric civic groups, such as Peoria City Beautiful, which works to beautify the city of Peoria.

He also believed in giving back to the community, contributing to the Children’s Hospital of Illinois and the Children’s Miracle Network and donating gardens to several park districts and nonprofit groups.

The American Horticultural Society, which gave the award, “is dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens,” according to a press release. “Its mission is to open the eyes of all Americans to the vital connection between people and plants, to inspire all Americans to become responsible caretakers of the earth, to celebrate America’s diversity through the art and science of horticulture and to lead the effort by sharing the society’s unique national resources with all Americans.”

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