Longwood Gardens wins national honor

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61797_Spring_Blooms_Albee_LarryLongwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA,  has been named the 2016 recipient of The Garden Club of America’s (GCA) Eloise Payne Luquer Medal. This honor is awarded for special achievement in the field of botany, which may include medical research, the fine arts, or education. Longwood’s Executive Director, Paul B. Redman will accept the award on Sunday during the GCA’s Annual Meeting at the Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel in Minnesota.

Hailing Longwood as an “extraordinary public garden,” the GCA observed that “the horticultural advances of Longwood Gardens go far beyond the pleasure provided to visitors who see outstanding plant material and garden design. Longwood is setting a gold standard for education of individuals at all ages.”

“Longwood offers a vibrant selection of world-class learning opportunities for both children and adults,” said Laura Gregg, Chairman of the Awards Committee for the GCA. “Educational programs nurture students of all ages and skill levels, from students as young as age five to those pursuing horticulture careers. These comprehensive offerings distinguish Longwood from other public gardens and underscore du Pont’s posthumous wishes that it continue as an institution committed to both education and instruction,” said Gregg. The Garden Club of Wilmington,  a member of the GCA, nominated Longwood Gardens for the medal.

“We are honored to receive the Eloise Payne Luquer Medal in recognition of our rich education programs,” said Longwood Gardens Executive Director Paul B. Redman. “Education is integral to our mission at Longwood. For more than 60 years, our varied programs have been transforming ordinary gardeners into extraordinary gardeners, and preparing the next generation of professional horticulturists for leadership positions in our industry,” said Redman.

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Redman has been the director of Longwood Gardens since 2006. Prior to his appointment, he was the executive director of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Columbus, Ohio. At Longwood, Redman has focused on diversifying its programming and harnessing technology to expand its reach. As a result, general attendance has increased more than 25 percent, and garden membership has risen by more than 200 percent in the last six years. The gardens welcome 1.3 million guests annually. In addition to his duties at Longwood, Redman also serves on the board of the Garden Conservancy.

Wildflower artist Eloise Payne Luquer (1862-1947) was a member of the Bedford Garden Club, Bedford Hills, New York, which endowed the namesake medal in 1949.  Previous recipients include botanist and medical researcher John Nash Ott (1963), horticulturist, conservationist and author E. Lucy Braun (1966), artist and writer Cherie Pettit (2005), the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (2007) and naturalist, author, lecturer and wildlife artist John A. Ruthven (2015). The medal was designed by sculptor Chester Beach.

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