The Garden Conservancy's Open Days program was recognized by the international Garden Writers Association (GWA) for its contributions to gardening in North America. The Wilfred J. Jung Distinguished Service Medal was presented during a ceremony on September 21, 2015, at the GWA's annual autumn symposium in Pasadena, CA. More than 350 top industry influencers including garden writers and bloggers, editors, authors and photographers, broadcast hosts, landscape designers, and horticulturists from around the globe gathered for collaboration, discussion, and thought-provoking education sessions. GWA's Annual Symposium has a direct impact on the scope and growth of the garden communications field. Its collective membership includes members of many other professional associations including the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), the National Garden Bureau (NGB), the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), and American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).
The four-day event incorporated guided tour experiences at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and the Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens. Outstanding private gardens were also featured, including the garden of Don and Marilyn Conlon in Pasadena and the San Marino property of Robert and Caroline Volk, who have generously welcomed Garden Conservancy visitors to their homes over the years as part of our Open Days program.
About the Jung Award
The Jung Award is given annually to a GWA member organization, which not only promotes gardening in North America, but has also helped expand the profession of garden communications, and supports the overall objectives of the GWA and its membership. Candidates are nominated by the membership, recommended by the Honors Committee, and elected by the Board of Directors. Open Days was chosen for the wide impact of its public programming on gardening in America and its support and promotion of the garden communications profession. Previous recipients of the Jung award include Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Timber Press.
Laura Palmer, Vice President of Open Days and Special Projects, accepted the award for our organization. She thanked the supportive audience, expressing gratitude for the direct role that garden communicators and the Garden Writers Association have both played in the success of the Open Days Program. She cited the generosity of garden writers as key partners in growing Open Days from its original garden portfolio in two states to over 3,500 gardens in 38 states, which have collectively welcomed more than one million visitors since 1995. Laura was especially moved to see many GWA members in the audience who had personally participated in Open Days as garden hosts, regional representatives, and volunteers.
Outstanding American Gardens book also on display
Outstanding American Gardens: A Celebration – 25 Years of the Garden Conservancy also made a special appearance during the conference's intimate trade show, designed to offer communicators and professionals one-on-one advance access to upcoming products, initiatives, and consumer trends. Members had a sneak peek of the book in advance of its publication date and were inspired by the work of the Garden Conservancy's first 25 years. The wealth of garden stories and rich images made a positive impression, inspiring many great conversations among GWA members.