People and Gardens

Ry Southard joined The Ruth Bancroft Garden in October 2011 as executive director. Ry recently served as executive director at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. He relocated to California from the Vail Valley of Colorado where he lived for 15 years. Ry’s experience includes serving for four years as executive director of Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the world’s highest botanic garden. Additionally, Ry co-founded and was general manager and chief compliance officer of Rocky Mountain Planning Group, Inc., a wealth management firm. Ry has a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute.


Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden announced that Lori Hutson has joined the staff as communications and programs director. Ms. Hutson will be responsible for all aspects of public relations, outreach, and marketing to promote Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden as well as managing educational programs and developing the volunteer program. Hutson joins the Garden after working as director of public relations and volunteers at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center for fifteen years. During that time she served from 2000-2004 as a board member for the Houston Association of Volunteer Administrators and worked on the host committee for the 2007 Volunteer Interaction conference.


Wolfgang Oehme, internationally acclaimed landscape architect and horticulturalist, died on December 15, 2011, in Towson, Maryland, after a brief illness. Wolfgang was 81 years old. Mr. Oehme, along with James van Sweden, co-founded the internationally acclaimed Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, Inc. (OvS), in 1977. Mr. Oehme’s work at OvS encompassed a full range of landscape design projects, many of which are honored by distinguished awards and published reviews. Mr. Oehme retired from Oehme van Sweden and Associates, Inc., in 2008. He established the landscape architecture practice of WOCO Organic Gardens, LLC, with Carol Oppenheimer and had continued to designed public parks and commercial, institutional, and residential gardens all over the United States and in Germany. APGA expresses condolences to the family of Mr. Oehme and to the gardening community.


The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is pleased to announce the release of Collection Researcher version 1.0, an innovative web application that provides unique access to the Arboretum’s living plant collections through its geographic information system (GIS). Available on the Arboretum website, Collection Researcher integrates a searchable inventory of the Arboretum’s nearly fifteen thousand documented trees, shrubs, and vines with high-definition, digital maps of its 265-acre landscape. The application represents an enormous step forward in providing visiting researchers, the general public, and Arboretum staff with practical tools to explore the collections.


Renowned scientist, scholar, and explorer Dr. Wade Davis has been named the 2012 recipient of the David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration. In an announcement from its headquarters in Hawai‘i, the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) recognized Davis for his multi-faceted career as a biologist, anthropologist, ethnobotanist, and documentarian of people, plants, and places. Davis spent much of the last four decades in remote field settings observing and recording the biological and cultural diversity of the planet. He has worked in more than fifty countries with great attention given to the people and plants of Colombia, Peru, Borneo, Tibet, Haiti, Australia, Greenland, and Polynesia. Davis’s exploration has taken him to the most remote outposts of the world’s great forests, deserts, mountains, tundras, and jungles—from the Amazon to Africa and the Andes to the Arctic.