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Quarryhill Garden’s McNamara earns field’s highest honors

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun


Quarryhill Botanical Garden, celebrating its 30th year, marked another milestone with today’s announcement that President William McNamara has been honored with two of the top three awards in the field of Horticulture — the Veitch Memorial Medal from England’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award from the American Horticulture Society (AHS).

McNamara said he was surprised and elated to receive the prestigious honors. “When Quarryhill began 30 years ago, it never occurred to me that the garden would one day receive such international acclaim and that awards such as these would be bestowed on me for my part, “he said. “However, the awards are really for the entire staff, board, volunteers, and supporters, as none of this would have been possible without their contributions.”

Receiving both awards in the same year is a rare distinction. Additionally, in 2010, McNamara received the Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal, which is considered the third of the “Top Three” horticulture honors. He is one of only three Americans to have earned the three awards.

“It is no surprise to those of us who have the privilege of working with Bill McNamara that he would receive the Veitch Memorial Medal and the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award,” said Harvey Shein, chairman of the Quarryhill board. “Bill’s passion and commitment are inspiring and we are proud that his success is recognized by his peers. It is his vision and leadership that has elevated Quarryhill Botanical Garden to a place of international stature.”

The RHS honored McNamara, who attended the event, at its annual awards ceremony in London on February 22. The international award is given by the RHS for persons of any nationality who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement and improvement of the science and practice of horticulture, said Tony Kirkham, Director of Arboretum, Gardens and Horticultural Services for London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

“Bill is recognized internationally for the work that he does at Quarryhill Botanical Garden and the plant conservation work that he does tirelessly in China and other countries in the Far East,” said Kikham, a highly respected expert in the field of horticulture. “I don’t know of anyone in the USA who has the drive and passion for this work other than Bill McNamara.”

Kirkham said that he has traveled and worked with McNamara in China and Japan, and has great respect for his authority and knowledge of the flora and landscape.

“The gardens and collections at Quarryhill and the plants of China would be so much poorer without the time, work and research that Bill puts into the development and management,” Kirkham continued. “He is recognized internationally by many scientists and horticulturists, which is why he was nominated and a recipient of this prestigious award.”

The AHS presents the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award each year to an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to a least three of the following horticultural fields: teaching, research, communications, plant exploration, art, business, administration, and leadership. This year’s awards, which McNamara will attend, will be presented in Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday, June 8.

The AHS Awards program began in 1953 and has evolved over the years to a nationally respected program presenting a total of 16 awards. Each award honors individuals or organizations exemplifying the art, science, and environmental responsibility of horticulture in North America.

McNamara shares a 30th anniversary with Quarryhill Botanical Garden, the 25-acre wild woodland garden he oversees. His association with Glen Ellen’s Quarryhill began in 1987 as the local landscaper hired by founder Jane Davenport Jansen to install the original gardens. He continued to work closely with Jansen as the gardens and research institute evolved. He was promoted to Director in 1994, made Executive Director in 2007, and was elected President in 2015.

Among his many honors and accomplishments, McNamara was presented with the National Garden Club Award of Excellenc, California Horticultural Society’s annual award, in 2103.



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