2022 Year in Review Report

Page 1


The Garden Conservancy


The Garden Conservancy is deeply grateful for the support from our friends around the nation as we continue to pursue our mission "to preserve, share, and celebrate America’s gardens and diverse gardening traditions."

We are pleased to share the following highlights from our education and preservation programs, which we continued to strengthen and expand in 2022 thanks to the generosity of our donors. On behalf of the board of directors and staff of The Garden Conservancy, thank you for your commitment to our mission. We look forward to your continued involvement in our work.


Open Days 241

Virtual Program Tickets Sold 5,000


Organizations supported by Garden Futures Grants, and the Jean and John Greene Prize

Open Days Tickets Sold 30,000


New Members Joined


Awarded in Grants


The 2022 Open Days season was a tremendous success! For over 25 years, Open Days the Conservancy’s most well-known and beloved public program has introduced over 1.35 million people to more than 4,000 private gardens, fostering a love of gardening and the natural world. This experience exposes guests not only to the beauty of the spaces, but to some of the most innovative examples of garden design and sustainable practices. The Open Days network of hosts and guests has created a national community of informed, passionate, and inventive gardeners who share a common value that gardens are intrinsic to our culture, our history, and our quality of lives

We are delighted to share that the Open Days program has fully recovered from any lingering effects of the COVID-19 crisis, having regained in 2022 the numbers from pre-pandemic seasons The popularity we are seeing for Open Days (and gardens more broadly) is truly extraordinary; the pandemic showed just how essential gardens and beautiful green spaces are to our communities

This ever-growing enthusiasm for Open Days is evident in our 2022 visitation numbers: there were 241 visiting opportunities in 20 states, and over 30,000 tickets were sold!

New in 2022, we also introduced free-formembers Open Days visiting opportunities We held 11 of these events around the country, with 2,000 attendees These free days were a part of our effort to thank our members, and to kickstart the program after the worst of the pandemic

Open Days guests in the Tsai Garden, WI


The new Nibbled Leaf symbol featured in our 2022 Open Days Directory

While The Garden Conservancy has long been an advocate for sustainable gardening practices, in 2022 we took further steps to publicize our position, and to encourage our national community to do the same The Conservancy partnered with renowned landscape designer and advocate for environmentally friendly gardening practices Edwina von Gal to help update our messaging in the Open Days Directory Edwina is the founder of the Perfect Earth Project, which promotes toxin-free landscapes for the health of people, their pets, and the planet She is also the founder of the 2/3 for the Birds initiative, which encourages gardeners to plant 2/3 native plants to help support diminishing bird populations

Working with Edwina, in 2022 The Garden Conservancy launched the Nibbled Leaf initiative, creating a way for Open Days gardens to self-identify as following sustainable gardening practices.

The leaf is nibbled to reflect that the plants in our gardens are not just decorative objects but serve as part of a greater ecosystem. As Edwina wrote in the directory, “There are no rules or requirements, but a commitment you make to yourself, your place, and the life it supports ” More than one-third of all 2022 Open Days garden hosts identified themselves as “Nibblers” in this inaugural year

We are now working with both Edwina and Page Dickey celebrated garden author and Open Days co-founder to introduce more defined parameters for this initiative, likely to be announced for the 2023 season, including Nibbled Leaf Commitments The Garden Conservancy recently held an endof-season virtual “town hall” meeting with hosts and Open Days families to solicit feedback and develop ideas for the future of the Nibbled Leaf initiative, and nearly 600 people registered

The initiative is on track to become one of the most important avenues for raising awareness and recruiting gardeners to organic methods in the United States

“This is nature-based habitat gardening: choosing plants that aren’t reliant on fertilizers, pesticides, or irrigation; plants that attract wildlife. It is using practices that respect the life cycles of insects and birds, and adding a clean water source to replace the puddles, ponds and streams lost to development. It is leaving dead wood for insects and cavity nesting birds. It is letting plants grow to their natural shapes. It is working with nature, not against it.”

- Edwina von Gal, explaining the new initiative in the 2022 Open Days Directory

Edwina von Gal


For our 2022 National Speaking Tour, Troy Scott Smith, head gardener of Sissinghurst Castle Garden, visited five cities across the country over the course of two weeks in March, recounting his long tenure at Sissinghurst and his efforts to recapture the distinctive vision of its creators.

Troy's lecture in Palm Beach, FL, was The Garden Conservancy's inaugural Daniels Family Garden Lecture made possible by the generosity of Courtnay and Terrence Daniels.

One of Britain’s best-known head gardeners, Troy Scott Smith has devoted his career to the beauty and romance of gardening Since joining the National Trust of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 1990, Troy has led some of the world’s most beautiful gardens, among them the Courts (Wiltshire), Bodnant (Wales), and two stints at Sissinghurst (Kent), where he has led a remarkable transformation and restoration of the Vita Sackville-West gardens.

During Troy’s national tour for The Garden Conservancy, he spoke to audiences at: The Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, FL, (Daniels Family Garden Lecture); Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA; Filoli Historic House & Garden in Woodside, CA; The New York School of Interior Design in New York, NY; and at Long Hill in Beverly, MA.

The event at Long Hill was particularly exciting for The Garden Conservancy as it marked the first of many planned events presented in partnership with The Trustees of Reservations, the nation’s first (and Massachusetts’ largest) preservation and conservation nonprofit, which manages over 100 historic properties.

Beyond Troy Scott Smith’s National Speaking Tour, The Garden Conservancy presented additional in-person lectures in 2022, including The View from Federal Twist: A New Way of Thinking About Gardens, Nature and Ourselves, with James Golden (in partnership with the Atlanta Botanical Garden), and Making the Morgan's Garden, with Todd Longstaffe-Gowan (in partnership with The Morgan Library and Museum).

Troy Scott Smith


The Garden Conservancy is thrilled to share that we are developing a new larger-scale inperson program, the Garden Futures Summit, to take place on September 29-30, 2023. This twoday event will be in partnership with and take place at the New York Botanical Garden. The summit will gather thought leaders to discuss the extraordinary growth and development of the gardening world in recent years and help shape a more inclusive and sustainable future for gardens.

Sissinghurst Garden Photo by Rachel Warne


During the early months of the pandemic, The Garden Conservancy launched a series of virtual programs featuring leading voices in horticulture and design that explored cultural connections between people and gardens. We are committed to continuing our virtual programs, even after returning to a full slate of in-person programming, due to the strong response and ability to reach broader audiences.

Virtual programs have allowed us to reach Conservancy members in areas of the country where we may not have enough members for in-person programming to be feasible

In 2022, we presented 15 virtual programs, with over 5,000 tickets sold! Participants from 46 states have tuned in for these events

Throughout the year we presented “Pop-Up Virtual Programs,” which allowed us to explore new and emerging topics in the gardening world

Building on our slate of virtual programs, in 2023 we will also present a very special fourpart virtual series with Troy Scott Smith, inspired by the tremendous response to his 2022 webinar which had over 900 registrants Troy will be filming exclusive content at Sissinghurst for a new series in 2023, Sissinghurst Through the Seasons

Image from virtual program with Anna Pavord, The Seasonal Gardener (October, 2022)


Preserving a garden begins with recognizing that landscapes are works of art, nature, culture, and history that are constantly evolving. The Garden Conservancy’s preservation work focuses on capturing a garden’s stories that will be meaningful for generations to come.

We do this by partnering with nonprofits and community-based organizations to:

Restore historic gardens

Document the spirit of gardens

Establish conservation easements

Advocate for gardens at risk

Develop educational programming

Foster organizational development to help our partners thrive as independent entities

Since 1989, The Garden Conservancy has contributed to preservation efforts at more than 100 gardens across America Each garden has unique characteristics and challenges Together, they represent the broad range and rich diversity of garden types on our continent, as well as the distinctive character and rich cultural legacy of America’s gardens

Image of the John Fairey Garden, Hempstead, TX

On rare occasions, we also assist a private garden in becoming a public garden When assessing the feasibility of such a transition, we consider the garden’s legacy, resources, and context Within these categories, we ask the following questions:


What makes a garden significant or worthy of preservation? Does it have a unique or iconic design, or a horticulturally noteworthy plant collection? Does the designer or creator of the garden or the site itself have historic or cultural significance?


Both human and financial resources are necessary for the ongoing success of a public garden. Are there dedicated staff, volunteers, and board members who have relevant experience and skills? Is there an endowment or donor base in place, or the ability to build one, that will provide sustainable support? Is there a viable source of earned income from programming, sales, and visitation?


The context of a garden includes its physical location as well as various cultural and demographic characteristics. Is there sufficient population density to support the garden? Easy access for visitors, including public transportation and adequate parking space? Potential for partnerships with other cultural institutions? Does the community show support for their cultural resources?

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the Conservancy nimbly adapted to develop new ways to support our partner gardens as they navigated “pandemic conditions” and faced the challenges of sustaining their gardens through this uncertain time We have hosted regular Zoom “coffee hours” for our partner garden community to provide a gathering space and networking opportunities for garden directors nationwide facing similar obstacles Together, we shared resources and insights about managing staffing, continuing to serve our communities, and discussed plans for reopening gardens

Acknowledging that our connections with the living environment are more important than ever, the Conservancy is grateful to be an anchor for our national community of partner gardens and to embrace the opportunity to create new resources to address their changing needs Moving forward, the Conservancy is developing new programs to support smaller rehabilitation projects and sponsoring internships at our partner gardens for projects relating to the garden’s preservation, documentation, interpretation, educational programming, or rehabilitation efforts


In March of 2014, renowned interior designer and a Director Emerita of the Conservancy, Suzanne Rheinstein created The Suzanne and Frederic Rheinstein Garden Documentation Program to honor her late husband and support the preservation work of The Garden Conservancy From Suzanne’s vision grew the Conservancy’s Documentation Program, creating new documentary film footage and organizing a wealth of historical archival materials. Film documentation offers a new way for us to expand access and preserve these fragile gardens, remarkable works of art, and the stories behind their creation for future generations.

Through this initiative, the Conservancy has begun to elegantly capture not only a garden at the height of its beauty but also significant voices within the gardening world. Our goal is to bring gardens to life through an online resource that will educate and inspire for years to come.

Since the inception of the program, the Conservancy has completed the documentation of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden the Mill Neck, NY, garden that first inspired Suzanne’s concept for this visionary program Henriette Suhr’s woodland garden, Rocky Hills, in Mt. Kisco, NY, and Blithewood Garden in Annandaleon-Hudson, NY.

We are currently in the process of documenting two additional gardens. The first is the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum in Lynchburg, VA; Anne Spencer was the first Virginian and first African American to have her poetry included in the Norton Anthology of American Poetry, and she was a committed advocate for equal rights. Her house and garden served as a political center of the community, as well as inspiration for her poetry, and it is also the only remaining intact and preserved garden by an African American. The Conservancy is also in the process of documenting the spectacular woodland garden of Louise Agee Wrinkle in Birmingham, AL. Louise (Director Emerita) has tended her garden oasis for 30 years with care and creativity, according to her philosophy of allowing the land to speak for itself.

Blithewood Garden
Films can be found on The Garden Conservancy website: https://www gardenconservancy org/preservation/documentation


The Garden Conservancy was the first organization to create a conservation easement (Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek, CA, 1992) specifically for a garden, a unique approach to preservation. By holding a conservation easement on a garden property, the Conservancy ensures that the value of that property its gardens and/or horticultural collection is protected in perpetuity. The Garden Conservancy assists gardens that are considering a conservation easement in various ways:

We advise owners, when requested, on the advantages of establishing a conservation easement and how best to determine appropriate restrictions to protect conservation values.

We review existing funding to ensure adequate resources for monitoring the easement and taking appropriate action to defend the terms of the easement in the event of a violation.

We recommend resources for finding lawyers and accountants and work with those professionals to create easements.

We monitor our easements annually, and report to the landowner upon request and/or if there is a violation.

Our conservation easement program currently includes eight easements on historic or culturally significant American gardens around the country. In 2018, we created a special conservation easement orientation for our partners to help them better understand the purpose of easements, their restrictions and each of our roles and responsibilities.

Maintaining productive relationships with the owner and operators of the gardens where we hold easements is vital as it keeps the Conservancy in touch with issues that may affect the future health of the garden. It also keeps the Conservancy apprised of the stability of the organization that manages the garden and how well they are able to comply with requirements of the easement. A sound organizational structure with clear plans and policies is critical to the sustainability of any garden, private or public.

The Garden Conservancy's Conservation Easements:

Chase Garden, Orting, WA

Eby Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, CA

Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden, Charlotte, NC Gardens at Palmdale, Fremont, CA

Green Gables, Woodside, CA

John Fairey Garden, Hempstead, TX

Keil Cove, Tiburon, CA

Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek, CA


In early 2021 The Garden Conservancy launched a new initiative—since named the Garden Futures Grant Program through which we award grants typically ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to small public gardens and organizations nationwide that are making a significant impact in their communities through garden-based programming. The grant program began as a response to the many inquiries for aid we received from small public gardens as a result of the financial hardship of COVID-19.

GreenSpacesLA community garden, Los Angeles, CA

We are committed to turning this grant initiative into a permanent program, and in 2022, The Garden Conservancy worked to develop a formal grant application and review process. The Conservancy researched best practices and created an equitable online application process that would be as simple and efficient as possible for applicants.

Another piece of the new grant application process was the creation of a national advisory committee to assist with reviewing applicants: a group of respected individuals within the world of gardening who would bring varied and diverse perspectives and experiences to the conversation.

In considering grant applications, the committee took into account factors such as community impact, diversity of populations served, geographic region, and attention to sustainable gardening practices. The Garden Conservancy’s grant program is unique in that we are committed to awarding grants for general operating support, with as few “strings attached” as possible for grant recipients.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, in 2022, the Garden Futures Grants program awarded $155,000 to 19 organizations across the country.

We have already started to witness the impact of our grants beyond just the donation amount. One of the 2022 grant recipients was GreenSpacesLA, a newly founded nonprofit in Los Angeles, CA that partners with underserved urban neighborhoods to create and maintain community gardens. The organization’s co-founder Stacy Twilley recently shared with the Conservancy:

Conservancy grant, we were awarded an additional grant from our LA County Supervisor to create a second Unity garden in Watts, which we are starting in December 2022.”

"Being recognized as a recipient of The Garden Conservancy grant was transformative for GreenSpacesLA. Receiving such a generous grant from a nationally recognized organization not only allowed us to meet our community garden goals sooner, it gave us the confidence and credibility to pursue additional grants to expand our reach. Because of The Garden


2022 Recipients

Black Point Historic Gardens, San Francisco, CA

Downing Park Planning Committee, Newburgh, NY

Evanston Grows, Evanston, IL

Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco, CA

Garden By The Bay, Edgemere, NY

The Green Scheme, Washington, DC

GreenSpacesLA, Los Angeles, CA

Groundwork Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden, Seatac, WA

Lake Wilderness Arboretum Foundation, Maple Valley, WA

Land to Learn, Beacon, NY

Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA

OSS Project, Bronx, NY

Resilient Roots, West Barnstable, MA

Sidestreams, Cincinnati, OH

Terra BIRDS, Flagstaff, AZ

The Practice Foundation, New York, NY

Wyck Association, Philadelphia, PA

Garden Time, Providence, RI

Recipient of the Page Dickey Grant for American Gardens

2022 Grant Program Advisory Committee

Camille Butrus, Mountain Brook, AL

Page Dickey, Falls Village, CT

Kona A Gray, FASLA, PLA, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Susan Zises Green, New York, NY

Lawana Holland-Moore, Washington, DC

Wambui Ippolito, Staten Island, NY

Jennifer Jewell, Chico, CA

Abra Lee, Atlanta, GA

Joseph Marek, Santa Monica, CA

Shaun Spencer-Hester, Lynchburg, VA

Jabari Taylor, Brooklyn, NY

Lynde B Uihlein, Port Washington, WI


In 2022 the Page Dickey Grant for American Gardens, a new endowed $10,000 grant, was awarded to Garden Time in Providence, RI Garden Time provides prison-based garden education programs and prepares incarcerated individuals for the workforce by supporting successful transitions to reentry and long-term employment


The inaugural recipient of the Jean and John Greene Prize for Excellence in the Field of American Gardening was awarded to Wethersfield Estate & Garden in 2022. This expansive landscape in Amenia, NY, was created by Chauncey Devereux Stillman (1907–1989). This $30,000 prize will underwrite a historic landscape report of the site.

The prize was made possible by a transformational estate gift of nearly $3 million to The Garden Conservancy from John Kaul Greene, a longtime friend, supporter, and Director Emeritus of the Conservancy, who passed away in September



With deep gratitude to our generous friends around the country that make our work possible, The Garden Conservancy continues to serve new communities of garden enthusiasts and to expand its reach and impact.

Much more to come in 2023!

The Garden Conservancy

Board of Directors

Courtnay S. Daniels Chair

Robert M. Balentine Vice Chair

James Brayton Hall President and CEO

Susan Payson Burke


Sharon J Pryse Treasurer

Benjamin F Lenhardt, Jr Chair Emeritus

Mary-Randolph Ballinger

Shelley Belling

Allison K Bourke

Camille S Butrus*

Barbara Whitney Carr

J Barclay Collins II

Elizabeth Everdell

Alease Fisher*

Lionel Goldfrank III

Susan Zises Green

Suzanne Kayne

Frederick A Landman

Elizabeth Locke

Joseph J Marek

Jean-Paul L Montupet

Stephen Orr*

Suzanne Rheinstein**

Katie Ridder

Ann Copeland Rose

Jorge A Sánchez

Howard G Seitz**

Christopher Spitzmiller

Patricia A Steffan**

Marshall Watson*

Dana Scott Westring

Directors Emeriti

Linda Allard

Douglas H. Banker

Josephine B. Bush

F. Colin Cabot

Edward N. Dane

Page Dickey

Dorothy H Gardner

Thomas B Hunter III***

Posy L Krehbiel***

Dr Richard W Lighty

Susan Lowry

Joseph F McCann

Evelyn M McGee***

Chapin Nolen

Barbara Paul Robinson

Deborah G Royce

Susan Stone

Nancy Thomas

Rodman Ward, Jr

Louise A Wrinkle

*Newly elected in 2022

**Retired in 2022

*** Recently deceased in 2022

The Garden Conservancy
Preserving, sharing, and celebrating America's gardens and diverse gardening traditions
Est. 1989 THE
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.