People and Gardens

July 15, 2012

Mount Auburn Cemetery has been awarded a Level III accreditation through ArbNet

Mount Auburn Cemetery recently achieved Level III Accreditation as an arboretum through ArbNet, an international organization promoting the work of arboreta. Among the first arboreta in New England to receive this level of accreditation, and alone among cemeteries nationwide, Mount Auburn is acknowledged for its extraordinary plant collections. Those institutions granted accreditation by ArbNet must meet exacting criteria to qualify, and must exemplify professionalism and a commitment to collaboration in scientific, collections, or conservation capacities. 

Mount Auburn boasts 1,143 taxa (distinct species, subspecies, or varieties) of trees and shrubs, surpassing the minimum requirement for Level III accreditation by more than double. A horticultural curator and superintendent of grounds oversee a year-round staff of 16 with an additional 28 seasonal positions. They are aided by many volunteers as well. The Cemetery collaborates with a number of organizations, ranging from the national (American Public Gardens Association) to the local (the Arnold Arboretum), on a variety of different initiatives.

A leader in conservation, Mount Auburn is committed to experimenting with ecologically sustainable landscaping techniques, from brewing compost teas, to exploring Integrated Pest Management, to using a strictly organic growing system. A frequent collaborator with the Ecological Landscaping Association (ELA), Mount Auburn hosts programs and workshops to educate others about sustainability and organic practices. The Cemetery’s educational initiative extends to the general public, who can participate in guided tours and public programs, watch online learning videos, and track blooms and trees on the Mount Auburn website. Nearly half of all visitors to Mount Auburn cite the horticultural collections as their primary interest in visiting.


Laura Jamieson, executive director of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden since 2003, has retired

Upon announcing her retirement June 15, 2012, Laura Jamieson remarked, It has been an amazing experience to be part of the Miami Beach cultural community and to meet and form friendships with so many dynamic artists and organizations. I’m proud that Miami Beach Botanical Garden has evolved as a vibrant community venue where all are welcome and creativity is nurtured.

A milestone was achieved this year with the completion of the Garden’s $1.2 Million landscape renovation designed by Raymond Jungles, and we’re enjoyed our most successful season of programming, art installations and community events ever.

So while it is difficult to uproot myself from Miami Beach Botanical Garden, the timing is right for my retirement.

After almost a decade at the helm of Miami Beach Botanical Garden, I’ll return to sailing the Caribbean with my husband Ted Lawson on “Turning Point” our sailing yacht in Antigua, summers at our Atlantic Canada cottage with family, and frequent visits to South Beach condo. Miami Beach will be the axis of our travels and where our heart and home remains.

Executive Director Position: The Executive Director plans, organizes, manages and directs all aspects of the 2.6-acre Miami Beach Botanical Garden and provides leadership and direction to paid staff and volunteers to enable the Garden to carry out its mission. The Garden is owned by the City of Miami Beach and operated as a 501(c)(3) by the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy. Candidates are being interviewed for the vacancy.

Photo, by Al Ricketts,  taken at the triumphant reopening of the Garden on October 25, 2011, following a five-month closure and complete landscape renovation funded by General Obligations Bonds and the City of Miami Beach.