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Olbrich Botanical Gardens Wins National Award for Garden Excellence

Olbrich Botanical Gardens was chosen among public gardens in North America to receive the 2005 Award for Garden Excellence from the American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta (AABGA). The award is presented by the AABGA, a professional organization of approximately 500 gardens in the United States and Canada, and sponsored by Horticulture magazine. It's given to one public garden each year which best exemplifies the highest standards of horticultural practices and has shown a commitment to supporting and demonstrating the best gardening practices.

In receiving the award, Olbrich was recognized for the best designed and most horticulturally outstanding display; gardens that reflect the regional environment; environmentally-friendly gardening practices; a commitment to plant collections; and a pattern of encouraging home gardeners and students at all levels through innovative horticultural practices.

Olbrich's executive director, Nancy Ragland, accepted the award in July at the annual meeting of the AABGA in Chicago, which hosted more than 500 public garden professionals from around the country. She says, "There's something very special about a free public garden, such as Olbrich, that can be shared by all. This hasn't gone unnoticed by the national gardening community. The award is an honor and a compliment to Olbrich, and to our local community. I'm very thankful to the community which has supported Olbrich Botanical Gardens for so many years and had the vision to see the importance of a garden in everyone's life."

Nan Sinton, Director of Programs for Horticulture magazine, was on the award selection committee and has visited Olbrich many times. She says, "Olbrich represents a garden where there's excellence at every level. We feel that visitors to Olbrich go away with ecological knowledge and can apply what they've learned at Olbrich in their gardens at home. It's a vibrant, living garden, never static. There's something for all seasons.

More than 250,000 visitors come to Olbrich each year for inspiration, relaxation, and learning. Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a free public garden, open and accessible to the public 362 days a year. Olbrich features 16 acres of outdoor display gardens and a year-round tropical conservatory, along with classes and events year-round.

Olbrich's mission states that the gardens are "dedicated to the creation, conservation, and interpretation of gardens and plant collections hardy to the American Midwest and the world's tropical forests...for study, enjoyment, and public benefit." Olbrich's approach to gardening is to present innovative, beautiful, and environmentally-friendly gardens that inspire visitors to create the same at home. A Prairie style design unifies the gardens throughout.

Horticulture magazine, which sponsors the Garden of Excellence Award, serves as a primary resource for avid gardeners throughout the country. In recent years, Olbrich has hosted annual Horticulture magazine symposia in Madison. In 2004, Olbrich was honored by the editors of Horticulture magazine as one of the ten most inspiring gardens in the country.

Previous winners of the Garden of Excellence Award, established in 2003, are Missouri Botanic Garden in St. Louis, one of the most prestigious public gardens in the nation; and Lotusland in Santa Barbara, California.

For more information call 608-246-4550. Olbrich Botanical Gardens is located in Madison, Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Monona at 3330 Atwood Avenue. Visit Olbrich's website at www.olbrich.org.

Sharon Cybart,
Manager of Marketing & Public Relations

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Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719