People

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in New York State, The Garden Conservancy was founded in 1989 by renowned plantsman Frank Cabot. Today, our board of directors is composed of 26 men and women from across the country, led by Courtnay S. Daniels, Board Chair, and Robert M. Balentine, Vice Chair.

THE GARDEN CONSERVANCY BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Officers

Courtnay S. Daniels, Board Chair
Greenwood, VA

Courtnay Daniels joined the Garden Conservancy board of directors in 2006, became Vice-Chairman in 2011, and was elected Chair in September 2018. She has opened her garden to the public through the Garden Conservancy Open Days and for our Society of Fellows garden-study tours. Courtnay is a long-time member of the Garden Club of America and a former partner in a small greenhouse business. She has served on the boards of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello and of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, and has supported a variety of projects at the University of Virginia. 

Over the last twenty years, Courtnay has created a series of garden rooms, diverse shrub borders, greenhouses, and arboretum on more than twenty-nine acres at her home, Whilton Farm, an expansive pastoral landscape in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2008, the Wall Street Journal described her garden as having “one of the largest collections of rare plants in the country.”

Robert M. Balentine, Vice-Chair
Atlanta, GA 

Robert Balentine, chairman of Balentine, the Atlanta-based wealth management firm, was elected to the Garden Conservancy board of directors in June 2015 and became Vice-Chair in September 2018. An inveterate, dirt-under-the-fingernails gardener with a rosarian as his father and Garden Club of America horticulture judge as his mother, Robert’s love of the natural world developed at an early age, hiking, and camping as an Eagle Scout. 

In 2002, Robert founded the Southern Highlands Reserve, a nationally recognized native plant arboretum and research center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. He has also held many other leadership positions in his community, including founding president of the Southeastern Horticultural Society and chairman of the board of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He is the past president of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and a graduate of Washington & Lee University, where he served as a trustee for nearly a decade. Among other civic and business honors, he received the 2013 Business Person of the Year Lifetime Achievement award from the Metro Atlanta Chamber and was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's list of Most Admired CEOs in 2018. His wife, Betty, shares his passion for gardening and is past president of her Garden Club of America club in Atlanta and chairman of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. 

Susan Payson Burke, Secretary
New York, NY

Susan Burke gardens in multiple locations, beginning 35 years ago with a cottage garden around an 1805 farmhouse in Bedford, New York. She has been working on her “garden by the sea” on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, for twenty years, and began work on a quasi-Japanese garden at her home in Florida three years ago. Her Nantucket garden was archived for the Smithsonian in 2012. She serves on the board of the New York Botanical Garden and on the horticulture committee at Wave Hill, Bronx, New York, and on the board of the Irish Georgian Society. She is a member of the Bedford Garden Club, which was a founding member of the Garden Club of America. In addition, Susan has served on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She is former public relations and publicity director for Bergdorf Goodman, vice president of Calisch Associates, and advertising director at Frances Denny; and worked in marketing and public relations for Moet and Chandon.

Susan has been involved with the Garden Conservancy since our very early days, serving on our founding advisory committee in 1989. She joined our board of directors in 2002; in 2019, she was elected Secretary. Susan organized the first and many subsequent Garden Conservancy Open Days on Nantucket and has hosted many Open Days at her garden in Bedford, NY.

Sharon Pryse, Treasurer
Knoxville, Tennessee

An Atlanta native, Sharon Jones Pryse attended the University of Tennessee and has never considered leaving Knoxville. After graduating with a Finance degree, she began as a clerk in the Trust Department of Valley Fidelity Bank. While still in her twenties, she became the bank’s youngest Senior Vice President; then at age thirty-five, founded The Trust Company. Today, The Trust Company manages over $4.7 billion in assets and employs 100 people across three cities. Sharon’s long-standing community commitment includes social service, the arts, economic development, and education. She has served as board chair for the Knoxville Chamber, Leadership Knoxville, YMCA, United Way, and has also chaired United Way’s annual fundraising campaign. Sharon supports the university that made Knoxville her home and has previously held a position on the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and Board of Directors for the U.T. Foundation. 

An avid gardener as well as traveler, Sharon always happily heads home to her garden on the Tennessee River. Sharon and her husband, Joe, became members of the Garden Conservancy Society of Fellows in 2018.  She was elected to the board of directors of the Garden Conservancy in June 2020 and became Treasurer in 2021. Sharon and Joe also have a home and garden in Cashiers, NC, which was included on the 2018 Society of Fellows garden-study tour of Highlands, Cashiers, and Lake Toxaway, NC.

James Brayton Hall, President & Chief Executive Officer
Beacon, NY

James Brayton Hall was appointed in June 2017 as President & CEO of The Garden Conservancy where he oversees strategic planning, preservation work, capital and endowment campaigns, public programming, development, marketing and communication strategies, and board development. His leadership has secured the fiscal health of the organization and he has developed a strategic plan which will solidify our Open Days program, raise national awareness of the organization, diversify the organization’s leadership and staff, and secure new funding opportunities. His focus is committed to building on the legacy of the organization and its future prosperity by fostering continued stewardship through engaged governance, commitment to financial sustainability, and operational excellence.

Previously, he served as the Deputy Director of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he worked on the planning and design of the Norman Foster-designed museum expansion and sculpture gardens. From 2010 to 2013, he was Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society in Rhode Island, overseeing all programming, fundraising, and relations with the board, donors, and community. From 2006 to 2010, James served as assistant director of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, after holding various other management and curatorial positions at the school since 1985. 

James has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition, he was awarded a Royal Oak Scholarship to attend the Attingham Trust Summer School in Architectural and Landscape History in London, and, separately, participated in the Victorian Society’s summer program in architectural history, also in London. In 2016, he was accepted to and completed Attingham’s Royal Collections Course. He has spoken widely on architectural, and landscape design and has been a member of the graduate program faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design.


To view short bios, please click on each name below.

Chair Emeritus

Benjamin F. Lenhardt, Jr., Chair Emeritus
Charleston, South Carolina

Ben Lenhardt retired in 2003 as chairman and CEO of Americas-UBS Asset Management and member of the UBS AG Group Managing Board. He has long been an avid gardener in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as Winnetka, Illinois, participating in Garden Conservancy Open Days in both locations. His interest in garden preservation combines his keen interests in gardening and architecture, including historical preservation in Charleston, where he is on the board of Drayton Hall, Gibbes Museum of Art, Preservation Society of Charleston, and the Easement Committee of Historic Charleston Foundation. In Chicago, he also serves on the boards of the Chicago Botanic Garden, Shedd Aquarium, and Notebart Nature Museum. He joined the board of directors of the Garden Conservancy in December 2004, becoming Vice-Chair in 2007 and Chair in 2011. In September 2018, he stepped down as Chair, as required by term limits, but continues serving on the board as Chair Emeritus. 

Directors

Mary-Randolph Ballinger
St. Louis, Missouri

Mary-Randolph Ballinger has been an avid gardener since childhood, starting under the mentoring of her grandmother, whose garden in St. Louis she is now restoring. It was designed in the 1920s by Warren Manning of the Frederick Law Olmsted firm. An ardent Garden Conservancy supporter from the very beginning of our organization, Mary-Randolph has been a significant donor, member, and force in our Society of Fellows program. She was elected to the Garden Conservancy board of directors in June 2015. She has also served as president of the Garden Club of St. Louis, and is a member of the Nantucket Garden Club and the Garden Club of Palm Beach.

Mary-Randolph retired after twenty-five years in residential real estate and has served on many civic and cultural boards. She is an emeritus trustee of the Missouri Botanical Garden, a past member of the board of the St. Louis Art Museum, Kemper Museum, and National Council for the Arts at Washington University, among others, and has been honored by the local newspaper and radio station as a "Woman of Achievement" for her volunteer work. Mary-Randolph is also on the Collector's Committee of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, a member of the Explorers Club in New York City, and Chairman/CEO of the Pitchfork Land and Cattle Company and Forks Energy Co. in Guthrie, TX. She serves on the boards of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, The Four Arts and The Palm Beach Preservation Foundation both of Palm Beach, the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts and its Kemper Museum board and is the person behind the beginning of a successful organic incubator farm on Nantucket, MA. 

Shelley Belling
Newport Beach, California

Shelley Belling, long active in Garden Conservancy activities in southern California and elsewhere, was elected to our board of directors in 2014. She has been a member of our Society of Fellows since 2007, participating in a number of garden-study tours with the Fellows, and is also a member of our West Coast Council.

Shelley has served on many boards and committees of schools (most recently, the Yale Parent Fund), sailing organizations, decorative arts organizations, and local philanthropies. 

Allison K. Bourke
Greenwich, Connecticut

Allison Bourke tackles her rocky Connecticut soil with a backhoe, a gift from her mother. She has a soft spot for peonies, dahlias, and Solomon’s seal. For many years, she was an avid student in classes at the New York Botanical Garden, earning her certification in commercial horticulture from the garden, and serves on its horticulture committee. She is a member of the Greenwich Garden Club and is co-chair of Horticulture. Most recently, she joined the board of the Land and Garden Preserve in Seal Harbor, Maine, where she is both head of the facilities committee and co-chair of the Azalea Garden. She joined the Garden Conservancy board of directors in 2009. 

Camille Butrus
Birmingham, AL

Camille has been a Garden Conservancy member since 2000, and in 2018 joined the Society of Fellows. Since then, she has traveled extensively with the Conservancy, generously supported our education and grant programs, and is now closely involved in the Conservancy’s documentation of Louise Wrinkle’s Garden in Birmingham. Camille also served on the Garden Conservancy’s Grant Advisory Committee in 2022.

 Camille and her late husband purchased their Mountain Brook home in 1996 and spent two years restoring the house, which was built in 1931, and completely redoing the gardens with the guidance of garden designer Mary Zahl and architect James Carter. Camille has opened her garden for Open Days, and the garden was recently on the Southern Garden History Society tour. Camille previously served on the boards of Aldridge Gardens and the Birmingham Children's Theatre and served a term on the State Ethics Commission.

Barbara Whitney Carr
Hobe Sound, FL

Barbara Carr, former president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Botanic Garden, directed the garden for twelve years, retiring in 2007. During her tenure, she led a ten-year master plan, launched a $100 million capital campaign that yielded more that $148 million, and oversaw the transformation of CBG into one of the finest teaching gardens in the country. She is the recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Catherine H. Sweeney Award for extraordinary and dedicated efforts in the field of horticulture, and the 2007 Award of Merit from the American Public Gardens Association. Barbara is a Life Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden and Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, a former board member on the Ox Bow Summer School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Hobe Sound, Florida, where she is a former commissioner of the town of Jupiter Island and serves on the board of the Everglades Foundation.

Barbara joined the Garden Conservancy board of directors in 2007 and chairs the board's development committee.

J. Barclay Collins II
Sharon, Connecticut

Barclay Collins, a long-time executive in the energy business, was elected to the Garden Conservancy’s board of directors on September 17, 2015. He is the former Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Hess Corporation, the New York-based global energy company. Prior to joining Hess, he was General Counsel of City Investing Company; before that, an attorney with Cravath, Swaine and Moore.

Throughout his business and professional life, Barclay has been a committed volunteer leader in health care, education, and the arts as well as with organizations involved in environmental sustainability and historic preservation. He is currently the Chairman of the board of trustees of the New York Botanical Garden and past chairman of both the United Hospital Fund of New York and the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, and also serves on the board of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies and numerous other organizations in the greater New York area. Barclay is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.

Elizabeth Everdell
San Francisco, CA

Principle of her own firm in San Francisco for 30 years, Betsy was chair of the Conservancy’s West Coast Council from 2006 – 2014.  She joined the Garden Conservancy board of directors in 2009. 

A two-time winner of the Julia Morgan award from the institute of classical Architecture and Design, Betsy has been featured in AD, Veranda, House and Garden, Milieu, Garden Design, Luxe, and Coast Living among others as well as a number of books including Garden Design Master Class, and Private Gardens of the Bay Area.  For many years she served on the executive committees of The Environment Design Archives of the University of California, on the Modern Art Council of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Enterprise for High School students.

The Garden Conservancy’s intimate trips, lectures and open gardens have provided important inspiration for these many years. For information on her design business, visit everdellgardendesign.com.

Alease Fisher
Greenwich, CT

With a historic landscape in Greenwich, CT, and a contemporary garden in Palm Beach, FL, Alease Fisher is a true plant-lover at heart. Alease's father's work as a research scientist in plant pathology influenced her passion for botany from an early age, and her enthusiasm for plant science and gardening is truly contagious. Her expert knowledge was put on display as she organized and led the Conservancy’s garden-study tour of Greenwich, CT, and Bedford, NY, in June 2022.

Alease and her husband, Paul Tallman, have opened their Greenwich garden for Open Days and hosted Garden Conservancy events including a Salon Series program in 2019. She has been a Fellow since 2016 and is a devoted and generous advocate for the Garden Conservancy. Alease is a clothing designer and has served on the Boards of the Greenwich Historical Society, Bruce Museum, and Brunswick School.

Lionel Goldfrank III
Sharon, CT

Lionel Goldfrank resides in Sharon, Connecticut, where he gardens at Mole’s Hill Farm. The farm includes a walled garden designed by renowned British garden designer Penelope Hobhouse and was a destination for a Garden Conservancy Society of Fellows tour in 2002 and 2017. He has been a member of Garden Conservancy board of directors since 2004 and chairs the board's audit, finance and investment committee. He also serves on a number of other boards, including the New York Botanical Garden, where he is currently Senior Vice Chairman; the Yale University Art Gallery; and the Foundation for Cultural Review. 

Susan Zises Green
New York, NY

Susan Zises Green is an interior designer based in New York City.  Her work has been published in House Beautiful, Architectural DigestVeranda, Luxe, Traditional Home, The New York Times, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, Home & Garden Nantucket, The Wall Street Journal, and most recently in Veranda’s recently published book, At Home in the South: Interior Design Reimagined.

Susan has been a member of the Garden Conservancy Society of Fellows since 2000 and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2011. She has shared her former garden on Nantucket with the Garden Conservancy Open Days program and looks forward to sharing her new one on Nantucket in the not-too-distant future. 

Susan also serves on the boards of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, Nantucket Preservation Trust, and the New York School of Interior Design, and is a member of the Decorators Club.

Susan resides in New York City, Vero Beach, and Nantucket Island and is the proud grandmother of six delightful young grandchildren. 

Suzanne Kayne
Santa Monica, CA

Suzanne Kayne collaborated with Wirtz International of Belgium and LZ Design Group of Los Angeles on the design and landscaping of her gardens at Woodacres, which have been featured in several publications and on many garden tours, including Garden Conservancy Open Days. Suzanne has participated in the Conservancy’s Society of Fellows tours since 2004 and joined the board of directors in 2011. She has worked with the Exceptional Children’s Fund and is a board member of ECF’s Kayne Eras Center, a specialized educational facility in Los Angeles, California, serving developmentally and emotionally challenged youth. She is also a member of The Colleagues, a nonprofit group supporting the work of Children's Institute, Inc., in Los Angeles, and also is a trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Frederick A. Landman
Greenwich, CT

Fred and his wife, Seen Lippert, reside at Sleepy Cat Farm in Greenwich, Connecticut. After retirement from the business world, Fred went from a weekend gardener to a full-time gardener. Over the past 20 years, the garden has evolved from a quaint suburban backyard to a 13-acre multi-faceted garden experience, including a stroll garden through a woodland with its own grotto, a meadow with a sacred grove, a wetland with an elevated spirit walk through the iris garden, and several formal garden rooms with reflecting pools and koi ponds. Seen, a professional chef who spent over a decade cooking at Chez Panisse in California, stays close to the culinary world and plans the extensive planting of the vegetable gardens and the beneficiary of the fruit orchard. Sleepy Cat Farm operates as a foundation and it is open to groups on approved days. Seen and Fred have been Open Days hosts for more than seven years and members of the Garden Conservancy Society of Fellows since 2007. Fred was elected to the Garden Conservancy's board of directors on December 9, 2020. He is also a member of the Friends of Horticulture Committee at Wave Hill in the Bronx.

Elizabeth Locke
Millwood, VA

Elizabeth Locke has been designing jewelry for over thirty years but has been fascinated by gardens and plants her whole lie.  As a small child in Staunton, Virginia she and Toby the cat helped her father plant and tend an organic vegetable garden.  She continues this passion today at Clay Hill, her home in Clarke County, Virginia where, in addition to two gardens devoted to vegetables and cut flowes, there are box parterres, a Gothic greenhouse for cycads, palms and orchids, a lily and lotus pond and a limonaia for citrus trees.  Her foremost interest for the past fifteen years has been the cultivation of dahlias. 

Elizabeth and her husband, John Staelin, are fascinated by architecture and gardens around the world and Elizabeth serves on the board of Save Venice.  Members of the Garden Conservancy Society of Fellows since 2013, Elizabeth and john very much look forward to future garden-study trips. She was elected to the Garden Conservancy board of directors on September 9, 2020.

Joseph Marek
Santa Monica, CA

Joseph Marek was first introduced to the Garden Conservancy in 2003 while sharing his garden in Santa Monica, California, through Garden Conservancy Open Days. He and his partner joined our Society of Fellows the same year. He has been the regional ambassador for Open Days in Los Angeles since 2007 and a member of our West Coast Council. Joseph was elected to our board of directors in 2015, serves on the board's Nominating & Governance Committee, and chairs the Open Days Committee. 

Joseph has an undergraduate degree in architecture from Yale University and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Virginia. His firm, Joseph Marek Landscape Architecture, has been designing and building gardens for over 20 years throughout California. His design work is heavily influenced by his early exposure to gardens as a child and by his continuing travels to gardens around the country and the world. He always finds new inspiration on garden-study tours with the Society of Fellows. Joseph works on gardens of all sizes but finds particular enjoyment in designing personal gardens for individuals and families. In these intimate spaces, every opinion matters and every detail counts.  Joseph is also a member of the board of trustees of Lotusland, the fantastical garden vision of Madame Ganna Walska in Montecito, California, and he encourages all to visit.

 Joseph is an ardent advocate for organ donation. His partner, John Bernatz, was the recipient of a kidney donation in 2017 from an altruistic living donor. Both he and his donor are thriving today. Joseph is also dedicated to celebrating diversity and all the good that it brings—from the plant habitats in the gardens he creates to our society and nation as a whole.

Jean-Paul Montupet
St. Louis, MO

Jean-Paul Montupet, a retired executive from Emerson Electric, serves on several corporate boards and is an adviser to a private equity company. He is vice chairman of the International Churchill Society and has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations over the years. He was elected to the board of directors of the Garden Conservancy in September 2021. Jean-Paul and his wife, Isabelle, moved from Paris to Phoenix, AZ, in 1982. They later lived in Newport Beach, CA, and have been in St. Louis since 1990. They now spend their time between St. Louis and Sun Valley, ID. They recently moved out of a house in St. Louis where they had developed an extensive garden over 27 years. They are now focusing on their Sun Valley garden, which is partly contemporary, and partly natural.

 

Stephen Orr
New York, NY

Stephen Orr is a VP, group editorial director at Dotdash Meredith and the editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens. Previously he was the executive editor at Condé Nast Traveler magazine and garden editor at Martha Stewart Living, House & Garden, and Domino magazines. Orr is the author of two gardening books: The New American Herbal (Clarkson Potter), Tomorrow’s Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening (Rodale). He also edited the monograph Nelson Byrd Woltz: Garden, Park, Community, Farm (Princeton Architectural Press). Board affiliations include ACLU Iowa, Mainframe Studios Artist’s Space, and Wave Hill Friends of Horticulture committee.

Stephen Orr was elected to the Garden Conservancy board of directors in 2022.  Orr and his husband Chad Jacobs live in New York City and Cape Cod.

Katie Ridder
New York, NY

Katie Ridder has been a member of the Garden Conservancy Society of Fellows since 2015 and has shared her garden with the public through the Garden Conservancy Open Days program. She was elected to the board of directors of the Garden Conservancy in September 2018.  

An interior designer with offices in New York City, Katie was an enthusiastic weekend gardener at her house in Bronxville for more than twenty years. At her country house in Millbrook, NY, she has a formal perennial garden with greenhouse, a cutting garden, and a woodland garden. She co-authored a book, A House in the Country (Vendome, 2016), with her husband, architect Peter Pennoyer, chronicling their collaboration on their house and garden in Millbrook. Katie also serves on the Friends of Horticulture at Wave Hill. At the New York Botanical Garden, she is a Member of the Corporation and serves on the Horticulture Committee. 

Katie's work has been published in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Town & Country, and The New York Times and is the subject of the monograph Katie Ridder Rooms (Vendome, 2011) and Katie Ridder Rooms Encore (Vendome, 2020).

Anne Copeland Rose
Wilmington, DE

Ann Rose is president of Mt. Cuba Center, a botanical garden in Hockessin, Delaware. The gardens at Mt. Cuba Center represent a variety of habitats featuring the diverse and exquisite flora of Appalachian Piedmont. More than a beautiful garden, Mt. Cuba Center’s mission is to achieve conservation through inspiration—that is, to engage its visitors, students, and collaborators in a shared effort to enhance the ecological value of landscapes large and small. Mt. Cuba Center has helped preserve over 15,000 acres of open space in the mid-Atlantic region since 2005, working with partners in the conservation community.

Ann is a past president of the Garden Club of Wilmington and continues to be an active member. She is a board member of Longwood Gardens, as well as of Hagley Museum and Library, where she is secretary of the board and chair of the Nominating Committee. She is also a board member of the Brown Advisory Trust Company of Delaware and joined the Garden Conservancy board of directors in 2017.

Jorge A. Sánchez
Palm Beach, FL

Landscape gardener Jorge A. Sánchez was elected to the Garden Conservancy's board of directors in 2014. He is a principal partner of SMI Landscape Architecture Inc., formerly known as Sánchez & Maddux Inc., in Palm Beach, Florida. The firm has received many awards and has clients throughout the country and the Bahamas. Jorge has been a friend of the Garden Conservancy over the years and helped plan our Society of Fellows garden-study tour to Palm Beach/Hobe Sound in 2006. 

He is also well known professionally to several members of our board: he designed Courtnay Daniels' garden in Hobe Sound, Florida; the Lenhardt Garden at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina; and a garden for Deborah Royce. 

In March 2018, Jorge was awarded the Thomas N. Armstrong III Award in Landscape Design by the New York School of Interior Design. He was also the recipient of the Authur Ross Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America in 2010 for "bringing classical themes and structure to the wild abundance of tropical gardens."

Christopher Spitzmiller
Millbrook, NY

Christopher Spitzmiller, a fine arts ceramist known for his one-of-a-kind luxurious lamps, graduated from St. Lawrence University and continued his fine arts study at the Rhode Island School of Design and at Central St. Martins College of Art in London. Since 1996, Christopher has been concentrating his efforts on his unique lamp designs. After outgrowing his studio in Washington, DC, he moved to New York City in the fall of 1996, where his firm, Christopher Spitzmiller, Inc., creates lamps with a crew of skilled artisans. Christopher is also expanding his designs to tableware and other ceramic accessories. His work has been featured in major publications and he has had the honor of making lamps for three White House administrations, as well as the Blair House and other distinguished American homes.

When not in his studio, Christopher can be found at his farm in Millbrook, NY, gardening, beekeeping, making jam, cooking for friends, or tending to his flock of heritage breed chickens. He also enjoys serving on the board of the local time-honored Lenox Hill Neighborhood House and as the vice chair of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club President’s Dinner. He has been an Open Days garden host since 2015 and was elected to the Garden Conservancy’s board of directors in June 2020.

Marshall Watson
East Hampton, NY

New York-based interior designer Marshall Watson is best known for creating classic, light-filled, elegant interiors with a modern sensibility. A graduate of Stanford University, Marshall received his master’s in acting from the American Conservatory Theater. Internationally recognized, Marshall’s work has been featured on the covers of numerous shelter magazines including Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and Veranda. He is the author of his first book, The Art of Elegance, published by Rizzoli. Marshall, a popular speaker, has addressed nationwide audiences. Born in Kansas City to a family steeped in gardening, his father was a great rosarian. His mother and aunt were both presidents of the Westport Garden Club (a GCA member). One of his brothers designs golf courses and the other is a vintner, cultivating hundreds of acres in Carmel Valley. Marshall is also an avid amateur gardener, and his home and gardens in East Hampton are regular stops on all the Hamptons’ charity garden and historic house tours, as well as an annual participant in the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program. Marshall is also a member of the Garden Club of East Hampton.

Dana Scott Westring
Marshall, VA

Dana Westring is an artist, working around the world, and a garden designer, working mainly in northern Virginia. He has spent twenty-five years creating Poke Gardens in Marshall, Virginia, which has been featured in several books on garden design. His trompe l'oeil murals include commissions from the royal family in Saudi Arabia and the royal household in Jordan, as well as numerous residential and commercial installations in the United States and Europe. In the last twenty years, his artwork has focused primarily on drawings and watercolors of landscapes—especially of the coast of Maine at Prouts Neck—and sacred architecture in Southeast Asia, where he has been working on studies of Hindu temples.

Dana graduated from Hasting College with a BA in studio art and then pursued graduate work in architectural history at George Washington University. He began his career in advertising illustration and then worked as an art director for an architectural and interior design firm.

Dana was elected to the Garden Conservancy board of directors in 2016. He and his partner, Trevor Potter, have been members of the Conservancy since 2009 and patrons since 2013. They also hosted participants in our Virginia garden-study tour in June 2016 and advised on planning the tour.  

Directors Emeriti

Linda Allard
Washington, CT

Douglas H. Banker
Garrison, NY

Josephine B. Bush
Hamden, CT

F. Colin Cabot
Loudon, NH
Board resolution in honor of Colin Cabot, December 10, 2020

Edward N. Dane
Center Harbor, NH

Page Dickey
Falls Village, CT
Board resolution in honor of Page Dickey, December 8, 2021

Dorothy H. Gardner
Chicago, IL
Board resolution in honor of Dorothy Gardner, September 12, 2018

Thomas B. Hunter III
Lake Forest, IL

Posy Krehbiel
Lake Forest, IL

Dr. Richard W. Lighty
West Chester, PA
Board resolution in honor of Dick Lighty, March 27, 2014

Susan Lowry
New York, NY
Board resolution in honor of Susan Lowry, December 10, 2020

Joseph F. McCann
New York, NY

Evelyn M. McGee
Sullivan's Island, SC
Board resolution in honor of Patti McGee, June 11, 2015

Chapin Nolen 
Santa Barbara, CA
Board resolution in honor of Chapin Nolen, September 17, 2015

Barbara Paul Robinson
New York, NY

Deborah Royce
Riverside, CT
Board resolution in honor of Deborah Royce, September 12, 2018

Susan Stone
Glencoe, IL
Board resolution in honor of Susan Stone, September 17, 2015

Nancy Thomas
Houston, TX

Rodman Ward, Jr.
Wilmington, DE
Board resolution in honor of Rod Ward, September 12, 2018

Louise Wrinkle
Birmingham, AL