2019 NGC Award of Excellence

Congratulations to Our Winners!

National award recognizes individuals, organizations or institutions that make significant contributions to their communities

ST. LOUIS (May 6, 2019) — National Garden Clubs, Inc., one of the nation’s most-recognized nonprofits and the largest volunteer gardening organization in the world, announces the 2019 winners of its highest honor, the Award of Excellence. The winners, who were recognized at NGC’s 90th annual convention in Biloxi, MS., are Jim Gibbs and Patrick McMillan.

“Each year, NGC’s Award of Excellence recognizes exceptional individuals, organizations or institutions that advance our organization’s goals and purposes,” said Gay Austin, president, National Garden Clubs Inc. “The Award of Excellence is our organization’s highest honor for non-members and by recognizing these deserving recipients from different parts of the nation, NGC hopes to educate and inspire others in communities coast-to-coast.”


Jim Gibbs Garners 2019 Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs

NGC 2019 Award of Excellence Winner Jim Gibbs

ST. LOUIS (May 6, 2019) — Jim Gibbs, creator of one of the nation’s largest residential estate gardens open to the public, was honored with a national Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs Inc., at the organization’s 90th annual convention in Biloxi, Miss. NGC is one of the nation’s most-recognized nonprofits and largest volunteer gardening organization in the world.

Nominated by The Garden Club of Georgia Inc., Gibbs spent 30 years transforming pastures, hillsides and woodlands in Ball Ground, Ga., into his award-winning Gibbs Gardens. Situated on 326 acres, Gibbs Gardens includes four feature gardens – the Japanese Gardens, Water Lily Gardens, Manor House Gardens and Daffodil Gardens, where more than 20 million daffodils bloom on more than 50 acres between March 1 to April 15. In addition, Gibbs Gardens features 12 seasonal gardens.

Two spring-fed streams flow under 32 bridge crossings and feed 24 ponds and 19 waterfalls, as they meander through the Valley Gardens along miles of Fern Dell – one of the largest natural ferneries in the United States – and converge near a 334-acre lake. Majestic allées of red sunset maples, river birch and crepe myrtles – a signature element – sweep across the Valley Gardens from the entry drive to the expansive Rose Garden and hillsides featuring ribbons of day lilies. The Manor House Gardens, situated on one of the highest points in Cherokee County, feature a European-inspired three level home, summerhouse, gazebo, cabana and pool. Colorful perennial and annual gardens blend with older-growth plantings and woodland gardens to frame dramatic views of the North Georgia Mountains.

Gibbs served as president and founder for more than 40 years at the award-winning Gibbs Landscaping Co., a leading landscape firm in Atlanta. He earned a bachelor’s degree in science, majoring in horticulture and minoring in landscape architecture, at the University of Georgia in Athens. He is the recipient of two national landscape awards presented at the White House in Washington D.C. He also is the author of “Gibbs Gardens: Reflections on a Gardening Life,” which follows his 30-year-old journey to bring his vision to fruition.

In addition, Gibbs is a founding member of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and serves as a lifetime trustee. Throughout his professional career, he has been a member of numerous trade organizations, serving in a variety of principal roles.

Gibbs is one of two Award of Excellence recipients recognized this year by National Garden Clubs Inc. “Each year, NGC’s Award of Excellence recognizes exceptional individuals, organizations or institutions that advance our organization’s goals and purposes,” said Gay Austin, president, National Garden Clubs Inc. “The Award of Excellence is our organization’s highest honor for non-members and by recognizing these deserving recipients from different parts of the nation, NGC hopes to educate and inspire others in communities coast-to-coast.”

About Gibbs Gardens.

Gibbs Gardens https://www.gibbsgardens.com/ offers a world-class garden within an hour’s drive from Atlanta. One of the largest residential estate gardens in the nation, Gibbs Gardens is open to the public seasonally. Designed and developed by Jim Gibbs, Gibbs Gardens is the culmination and continuation of his dream to create a gardening masterpiece.


Patrick McMillan Garners 2019 Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs

NGC 2019 Award of Excellence Winner Patrick McMillan

ST. LOUIS (May 6, 2019) — Patrick McMillan, naturalist, author, educator and Emmy award-winning host of a popular series on the natural world throughout North and South America on American Public Television, was honored with a national Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs Inc., at the organization’s 90th annual convention in Biloxi, Miss. NGC is one of the nation’s most-recognized nonprofits and largest volunteer gardening organization in the world.

Nominated by The Garden Club of South Carolina Inc., McMillan is a Hilliard Professor of Environmental Sustainability in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina, where he earned a doctorate in biological sciences and teaches plant taxonomy, forest biology, natural history, forestry and environmental conservation. In addition, McMillan serves as director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden on the campus of the university.

McMillan is co-creator, producer, host, writer, director and co-editor of the popular Emmy award-winning TV program “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan,” which airs on affiliates of American Public Television across the nation. The author of or contributing author on several books, his research has been featured in a number of local, regional and national publications, including “USA Today,” “National Wildlife,” and “The State.” McMillan also is a popular lecturer in the Southeast and around the nation, giving more than 100 public presentations annually.

A professional naturalist, McMillan’s range of work has concentrated on botany, where his research has taken him around the world in pursuit of new species of plants. In addition, he is also noted for his work in ichthyology, herpetology and mammalogy. He is an active member of the South Carolina Association of Naturalists, the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, the South Carolina Native Plant Society and South Carolina Entomological Society. In addition, he is a member of the board of trustees for Upstate Forever, a Greenville, S.C.-based conservation nonprofit that protects land and water and promotes balanced growth in upstate South Carolina, and is on the Heritage Trust Advisory Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

McMillan earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also worked as an environmental consultant and field ecologist. He also held positions at Fairfield Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Fla., served as curator of the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, N.C., and taught eighth-grade math and science.

McMillan is one of two Award of Excellence recipients recognized this year by National Garden Clubs Inc. “Each year, NGC’s Award of Excellence recognizes exceptional individuals, organizations or institutions that advance our organization’s goals and purposes,” said Gay Austin, president, National Garden Clubs Inc. “The Award of Excellence is our organization’s highest honor for non-members and by recognizing these deserving recipients from different parts of the nation, NGC hopes to educate and inspire others in communities coast-to-coast.”

About South Carolina Botanical Garden.

South Carolina Botanical Garden https://www.clemson.edu/public/scbg/ is a diverse 295-acre public garden that features nature trails, pathways, ponds, streams, woodlands and trial gardens within the South Carolina Piedmont ecosystem. The garden observes and promotes the landscaping principles of holistic management that foster a healthy ecosystem, while serving as a resource on teaching, research and outreach that advances awareness and understanding of plants, animals, minerals and culture. Situated on the grounds of the garden are the Bob Campbell Geology Museum, which features over 10,000 rocks, minerals and fossils, and the Fran Hanson Discovery Center, which offers exhibits by local artists. The garden offers one of the largest collections of nature-based sculptures in the United States, as well as a natural heritage garden, which is the largest, most comprehensive collection of native plants in a South Carolina public garden and in the Southeast. Also on the grounds are two structures from the history of South Carolina – the historic Hanover House, built in 1716, which was relocated to the garden’s site in 1994, and the restored Hunt Cabin.


#24 State Garden Clubs Award of Excellence

24b membership 1000-3999

West Virginia Garden Club, Inc., Carolyn McCafferty, President

The Wildflower Pilgrimage is a special ongoing project of the West Virginia Garden Club, Inc., and is cosponsored by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. This program, in its 58th year is a hands-on educational event to help those that attend learn about and how to identify West Virginia’s wildflowers and attracts approximately 300-400 ‘pilgrims’ from at least 16 states; half of those returning year after year.

24b membership 1000-3999

National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc., Robin Hammer, President

The 2017-2019 NCA President’s Project was, “A Garden for Every Garden Club.” The Project is a unified visual representation celebrating our State’s great gardeners and highlighting the clubs’ many gardens already planted, and new gardens, in the National Capital Area. Clubs wanted to ensure their inclusion in the growing ‘A Garden for Every Garden Club’ Project’s slideshow. Currently, 55 of the 66 clubs of the NCAGC participate, and the list, like the gardens, is growing!

24c membership 3,000 – 7999

Federation of Garden Clubs of NY State, Inc., Monica Hansen, President

This is a project that was initially conceptualized by one of our NY State Clubs and has evolved and expanded into a statewide project under the direction of Carol Brown, our FGCNYS Family Outreach Chairman. What began as a small local project now includes more than 40 clubs across New York. This project involves partnering with libraries to check out gardening bags, which includes a youth gardening book and resources that go along with that book. Children return the bag and the book but use the other accompany items within that bag.

24d Membership 3000-7999

The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc. Jane Hersey, President

The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc. maintains a comprehensive program of Historic Landscape Preservation (HLP) and initiated the Georgia Historic Landscape Initiative which launched in 2002 for the purpose of conducting a statewide inventory of Georgia’s historic gardens. A book, Seeking Eden, A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens, was written to bring these historic properties to the attention of the public. The book showcases 25 gardens through text and contemporary photographs, while also updating every single garden listed in the original Garden History of Georgia, 1733-1933.

#25 Region Award of Excellence

Rocky Mountain Region – Jackie Watts, Director
“Plant your American Dream, Mind your Footprints, And Gather the Friendships”

This project was for individuals or entire clubs to plant pollinator friendly landscapes using native plants, take pictures, and write an article giving the name of plants, their origins, what pollinators they will attract and why they selected it. The planting of Native Plants was encouraged. This Directors project was selected to compliment the NGC Presidents theme of “Plant America” and it also provided participation in several of NGC’s current programs such as the Million Pollinator Gardens, Planting Natives, Monarch Watch, and Hive Collapse. This project provided an umbrella for our state clubs to have their membership focus on and participate in a variety of ways - personal garden plantings, club projects such as wildflower meadows, and junior clubs that do plantings at their schools.


Resources

Click here for the NGC Award of Excellence Application and Rules

For more information about the NGC Award of Excellence, contact:
Donna Rouch,
NGC Award of Excellence Chairman