It’s been a year of professional accomplishments for Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum director Bob Grese. In late 2015 the provost’s office approved Bob’s third term as director. Now, the Garden Club of America (GCA) has awarded Bob an honorary membership. The GCA is the first national federation of American garden clubs, with 200 member clubs and over 18,000 members across the country. Established in 1913, GCA has long championed the conservation and study of our nation’s rich heritage of designed landscapes and gardens. Generations before these needs became evident to most citizens, the GCA spearheaded many pioneering efforts to document and steward significant heritage sites—and create endowments to allow their continuity and study.
The decision by the Garden Club of Michigan to nominate Bob was unanimous, says Mary Roby, who has served as President of the Michigan club and also as a Director of the Garden Club of America. “Bob is a most outstanding individual in the many paths his life has taken,” notes Mary. “His work in landscape design, leading to becoming an authority on Jens Jensen and studies of ecological landscape design, are so important.”
Bob says he’s thrilled to be given honorary membership in the Garden Club of America and to be associated with such a prestigious group of leaders in horticulture and conservation. “I have long been familiar with the club’s support of students studying horticulture, landscape architecture, ecological restoration, and other aspects of plant science and conservation,” he says. “Many of my own students over the years have been supported through these scholarships—often at a critical moment in the student’s time at the University.”
As an honorary member Bob’s in good company this year, sharing the stage with honorary members Doug Tallamy, Professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildflife Ecology at the University of Delaware; and Kris Jarantoski, Executive Vice President and Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden.