Quarryhill’s McNamara receives Garden Club of America honor
William McNamara, executive director of Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen, has been named an honorary member of The Garden Club of America (GCA), one of its highest accolades. McNamara was recognized during a presentation at the GCA’s annual meeting on Sunday, April 29, in San Francisco.
Honorary members of the GCA are men and women of distinction in fields such as horticulture and conservation who are not, nor ever have been, members of a GCA club. Honorary membership is limited, and a maximum of four are selected each year. Named along with McNamara were Roy E. Diblik, author, designer, horticulturist and co-owner of Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin, and Daniel J. Hinkley, intrepid plant explorer, prolific author and public speaker, horticulture consultant and educator.
In honoring McNamara, the GCA hailed him as “a stellar talent in the horticulture pantheon, with an inspiring commitment to the collection, germination and propagation of endangered plant species.” Noted for his work at Quarryhill and in the wilds of Asia, McNamara is an activist for conservation worldwide.
Quarryhill Botanical Garden, now in its 31st year, hosts one of the largest collections of scientifically documented, wild-sourced Asian plants in North American and Europe. Since the mid-1980s, McNamara has been instrumental in the garden’s development, fostering its mission of advancing the conservation, study and cultivation of the flora of Asia.
The GCA also noted McNamara’s commitment to education. Developed by McNamara, Quarryhill’s educational programs highlight the worldwide plant extinction crisis and the importance of conservation efforts. Each year more than a thousand students from the California public school system visit Quarryhill to learn about conservation, the process of seed germination, and plant cultivation.
McNamara has been a field associate of the Botany Department at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco since 2000. He shares his horticultural knowledge through frequent presentations throughout the country, and he has been on the GCA’s speakers list for conservation and horticulture since 2010. He has served as an international advisor for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and contributes to scientific journals and other periodicals including Pacific Horticulture.
McNamara was awarded the 2017 Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society, for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the science and practice of horticulture, and the 2017 Liberty Hyde Bailey Award, the American Horticultural Society’s highest honor for significant lifetime contributions to horticulture. In 2010, McNamara received the Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal from the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College for outstanding national contributions to the science and art of gardening. McNamara is one of only seven Americans to have received all three awards.