People and Gardens

The American Public Gardens Association would like to welcome Vivian Lovingood to the staff as the office manager. Vivian comes to APGA with many years of experience in the non-profit sector, including ten years as the executive director of an urban community agency in Pittsburgh.  She is still a diehard Pirates and Steelers fan although she is originally from South Carolina. She often gets asked two questions: “Why don’t you have a Southern accent?,” and “Is that REALLY your last name?,” to which the answers are “good fortune” and “yes.” Among her titles are Reverend (she is an ordained Presbyterian minister) and LSW (licensed social worker in Pennsylvania), although she is happy to be called Vivian or the “queen of organization and details.”  Vivian is a graduate of Mars Hill College (NC), the University of Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.   She lives on a beautiful horse farm in Unionville with her guinea pig DJ.  In her spare time, she enjoys entering lots of sweepstakes (ask her about the trips she has won!), listening to classical music, and watching classic and foreign films.

The board of the Houston Botanic Garden announced the appointment of Jeff E. Ross to president and CEO. A civil engineering graduate of Rice University, Ross has spent over thirty years working in the municipal engineering and land development industries and has been an active volunteer and leader of civic clubs, professional organizations, and economic development corporations. He recently served as the chairman of the board of Scenic Houston, served on the City of Houston Planning Commission appointed by Mayors White and Parker, and was recently appointed to the Rebuild Houston Oversight Committee.

Kraft Foods, in collaboration with the Chicago Botanic Garden, announced a partnership to build and maintain a three-season, sustainably-grown vegetable garden at Kraft Foods headquarters in Northfield, Illinois. The 8,000-square-foot garden is expected to yield 14,000 pounds of food, equivalent to 28,000 meals. All food will be donated to local agencies, including soup kitchens and food pantries in the networks of Great Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank and to Woman, Infant and Children (WIC) centers in Cook and Lake Counties, part of Kraft Foods mission to fight hunger locally, regionally and globally.

Brookgreen Gardens was recently selected one of the “Top Ten Public Gardens in America” by Coastal Living Magazine. “We are honored to be chosen by Coastal Living as the third best public garden in the country,” said Bob Jewell, Brookgreen’s President and CEO. “It is tremendously rewarding for the gardens to receive recognition by such an outstanding publication.” A leader in lifestyle information, Birmingham, Alabama-based Southern Progress Corporation publishes Coastal Living Magazine. Southern Progress is a subsidiary of Time Inc. A national magazine that celebrates life along the coast, Coastal Living has, since its launch in 1997, grown to serve a total audience of more than three million readers.

The Bloedel Reserve board of directors announced the completion of a $2.5 million endowment fundraising campaign. The campaign was launched in 2009 by the board as a way of honoring the Reserve's founding director Dick Brown, who retired that year after 32 years of service. More than 140 donors made gifts ranging from $50 to six figures, helping to raise a total of more than $2.6 million in pledges. This is one of a number of important milestones the Reserve has achieved over the past several years. With new policies put into place to make the Reserve more accessible, including eliminating reservations, the Reserve enjoyed record attendance in 2010, and reached new highs in memberships and donations.