People and Gardens

Noted plant scientist and conservation leader Dr. Nicole Cavender joins The Morton Arboretum as the vice president of science and conservation. In this newly established role, she will be responsible for advancing the Arboretum’s strategies and leadership to plant and save trees for a greener, healthier, more beautiful world. Dr. Cavender comes to the Arboretum from The Wilds, a ten-thousand-acre wildlife conservation center in southeastern Ohio, where she was chief programmatic officer and previously director of restoration ecology. There, she focused on conservation research, habitat restoration, and land management, along with forest restoration and planting.


Scott LaFleur joins the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden as the new director of horticulture. He succeeds Susan Jett, who accepted the position of director of the vets garden and associate director or horticulture for nursery operations last fall. Jett has been with the Garden for twenty years, six of which she spent as the director of horticulture. The director is responsible for overseeing the Garden’s living collection, nurseries, and greenhouse operations and grounds. Before coming to the Garden, LaFleur was on the staff at the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) for six years, most recently as the director of horticulture. NEWFS, a non-profit dedicated to native plants of New England, is the oldest plant conservation organization in the US.


Award-winning rose hybridizer Tom Carruth has been named the E. L. and Ruth B. Shannon Curator of the Rose Collection at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. He replaces Rosarian Clair Martin, who retired last July after twenty-eight years in the position. Well known in the horticultural community, Carruth was director of research, marketing, and licensing at Weeks Roses in Wasco and Pomona, California, one of the nation’s leading commercial wholesale rose growers, where he has led the company’s hybridizing efforts since 1988. Carruth will be responsible for The Huntington’s three-acre Rose Garden, which showcases more than twelve hundred cultivars and some four thousand individual shrubs. Established in 1908, the historic landscape is among the most beautiful areas of the grounds, frequently cited by visitors as a favorite Huntington attraction.


Cornell Plantations is the recipient of twenty thousand dollars from the Stanley Smith Horticulture Trust to expand visitor services in their F.R. Newman Arboretum. Over the course of the next year, Cornell Plantations will be adding new interpretive signs, way-finding signs, and offer self-guided audio-visual tours via mobile phones in the F.R. Newman Arboretum. Since the completion of the Arboretum in 1981, Plantations has had limited visitor information – in the arboretum – to explain to visitors the importance of the plant collections found there. This grant allows for expanded services that will include mobile phone audio-visual tours to communicate the significance of the key plant collections within the 150-acre arboretum, and will reveal how researchers from Cornell and around the world use these collections for scientific study.


Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden announces the hiring of Studio Outside and 3.fromme DESIGN for design of the children’s garden, the first formal garden to be developed on the 170-acre site near Tulsa. After a nation-wide search, the award-winning designers were chosen for their extensive experience in designing for public gardens including San Antonio Botanical Garden, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Bok Tower Gardens. Plans for the children’s garden are expected to be completed in May.