2018 NGC Award of Excellence

Congratulations to Our Winners!

PHILADELPHIA (May 20, 2018)—National Garden Clubs, Inc., one of the nation’s most-recognized nonprofits and the largest volunteer gardening organization in the world, announces the 2018 winners of its highest honor, the Award of Excellence. The winners, who were recognized at NGC’s 89th annual convention in Philadelphia, PA., include Paul B. Redman, George Longenecker, and Jack Wood.

“Each year, NGC’s Award of Excellence recognizes exceptional individuals, organizations or institutions that have made significant contributions to their communities in such areas as environmental and civic responsibility, conservation or community beautification through gardening projects,” said Nancy Hargroves, 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.”

Paul B. Redman

NGC 2018 Award of Excellence Winner Paul B. Redman

Paul B. Redman, president and chief executive officer of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., is a champion of the sustainability and beauty of public gardens and to the training of future generations of horticultural professionals.

At the helm of Longwood Gardens since 2006, Redman oversees all aspects of the 1,083-acre display garden and works to advance plant research and innovative educational programs. In addition, he spearheaded the development of a visionary site master plan that guides the direction for Longwood Gardens for the next 40 years.

Redman was a featured presenter at the 2018 NGC convention in Philadelphia. He serves on the boards of The Garden Conservancy and Greater Philadelphia Gardens Collaborative. He is co-chairman of “Seed Your Future,” an organization that also partners with NGC, which promotes awareness and career opportunities in horticulture. Redman also is past president of the American Public Gardens Association. Recent honors include a 2016 Award of Merit from the American Public Gardens Association, the International Garden Tourism Network’s 2015 Person of the Year and the 2015 American Horticultural Society’s Professional Award.

Prior to joining Longwood Gardens, Redman served as executive director of Franklin Park Conservatory in Ohio. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in horticulture from Oklahoma State University.

Redman was nominated for the 2018 NGC Award of Excellence by the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania.

About Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens, www.longwoodgardens.org a leader in horticultural excellence, innovation and stewardship, is considered one of the premier display gardens in the United States and the world. Located in Kennett Square in the Brandywine Valley of southeastern Pennsylvania, Longwood Gardens is the living legacy of founder Pierre S. duPont, inspiring people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the arts. Longwood Gardens welcomes more than 1.5 million guests each year.

George Longenecker

NGC 2018 Award of Excellence Winner George Longenecker

George Longenecker, landscape architect and founder of West Virginia Botanic Garden, is acclaimed for his contributions to landscape architecture in West Virginia.

In 1983, Longenecker launched a grassroots effort with other like-minded individuals in the development of West Virginia Botanic Garden near Morgantown, the only garden of its kind in the state. He has been instrumental in the direction of the garden and was named its first executive director in 1990–a position he held for 26 years. Under Longenecker’s guidance, planning and direction, the garden grew in purpose and scope, including the additions of the eclectic, butterfly, rhododendron and shade gardens.

Longenecker is professor emeritus of landscape architecture at West Virginia University, a program he helped develop since its inception–and one in which he was an inspiration to generations of landscape architecture students for nearly 40 years. In addition, he is West Virginia’s first licensed landscape architect. An 11-year board member of the West Virginia State Board of Landscape Architects, Longenecker was instrumental in assisting other landscape architects obtain licensure. Since 1988, he has been providing hands-on training and serves as landscape adviser to summer intern students at Fallingwater, the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in rural southwestern Pennsylvania.

Longenecker is a popular speaker, presenter and workshop leader at gardening and landscaping events throughout West Virginia, including teaching courses for West Virginia Garden Club’s landscape design schools and conducting workshops at garden club meetings and annual state conventions.

Prior to joining West Virginia University, Longenecker served as assistant director of Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pa. In addition, he was landscape architect at Fort Benning, Ga., while on active duty in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Longenecker was nominated for the 2018 NGC Award of Excellence by West Virginia Garden Club, Inc.

About West Virginia Botanic Garden

West Virginia Botanic Garden, www.wvbg.org is a nonprofit organization near Morgantown, W. Va. that offers inspirational landscapes, hiking trails, native meadows, woodlands, a meandering boardwalk that overlooks wetlands and a rich variety of ornamental plants appropriate to the Appalachian region. Situated on 82 acres that encompass the town’s former Tibbs Run Reservoir, the garden provides a unique backdrop to foster education and encourage exploration, with ongoing programs for children, families, groups and adults of all ages. The garden is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk daily.

Jack Wood

NGC 2018 Award of Excellence Winner Jack Wood

Jack Wood is a staunch supporter of home and community gardening, growing food, and how these activities enhance the quality of life in Fargo, N.D.

Wood is the impetus behind Growing Together, the largest community gardening program in the region. As co-founder, he was instrumental in building a successful model for communal gardening that addresses the public’s need for and access to nutritious food, particularly in the communities of new Americans, who come from countries around the world to resettle in Fargo.

Under Wood’s leadership and in collaboration with local volunteers, public and private organizations and agencies, Growing Together expanded its vision to include six community gardens, situated in and around Fargo, that total 2.14 acres and support over 150 families. In 2017, more than 400 volunteers, including new American families, harvested 58,000 pounds of produce.

Wood affectionately is known as the “Tomato King” for his passion for and prolific talent in growing more than 100 varieties of the vegetable in his backyard garden. At the end of each February and to prepare for spring outdoor planting in the community gardens, he initiates the seeding and growth of more than 10,000 plants that include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage and broccoli, under fluorescent lights in his home’s basement. When they are large enough, the seedlings are transplanted into individual pots and transported to a greenhouse to prepare for planting starting in mid-May. The greenhouse was purchased last year by Growing Together and is situated on the community garden site at Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota.

Wood brings this same commitment to the Growing Together movement to foster skills and relationships and mentors groups around the region. A toolkit developed by Growing Together can be used by other organizations to replicate and establish similar gardens in their communities.

Wood is a certified Master Gardener through the North Dakota State University Extension Service. He was employed for 45 years at Scheels All Sports Inc. in Fargo, and most recently retired from his position as senior associate. Wood attended North Dakota State University.

Wood was nominated for the 2018 NGC Award of Excellence by North Dakota State Federation of Garden Clubs.

About Growing Together

Growing Together, www.facebook.com/GrowingTogetherND a community garden ministry in Fargo, N.D., was established in 2006 to provide a safe place for new American neighbors to meet new friends and grow food and relationships. Growing Together implements all-organic gardening best practices and manages community gardens situated on church and nonprofit organization sites and public lands. It is a partnership between First United Methodist Church, Olivet Lutheran Church, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, the Foundation for Agricultural and Rural Resources Management and Sustainability and new American families.

Award of Excellence for State Garden Clubs

Membership up to 999

The Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs, Lisa Arni, President

The Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs’ project theme was TREE-mendous Delaware. The first part of this project involved Tree Planting at Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek and part two was TREE-mendous Delaware Membership growth.

Membership up to 3,000-7,999

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

The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc. established a planting project at the request of the Georgia State Parks and Public Lands chairman. This was to purchase bulbs and to plant 25 daffodil bulbs for each of the 46 official State Parks in Georgia. Plans were for clubs throughout the State to volunteer to plant the bulbs in a park near them in the fall of 2017.


Click here for the NGC Award of Excellence Application and Rules

For more information about the NGC Award of Excellence, contact:
Brenda Moore,
NGC Award of Excellence Chairman