Greetings Members, Donors and Patrons,
I wish my first communication with you could be delivered under better circumstances. In spite of these trying times, I’m still excited and honored to be selected as the new Executive Director of the Garden. I only recently arrived in Salt Lake City from my prior position as Director of Horticulture for the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, as well as share what is happening at the Garden. Horticulture and plants have been my constant passion since I was a small child growing up in east Texas. I love sharing my constant obsession with gardens and plants via social media, and I invite you to follow me at @TexanInOz.
One of my favorite quotes seems more appropriate now than ever, “When one plants a garden, they plant hope.” Gardens are a variety of things to different people. To many of us they are places of hope, healing, and comfort—something we definitely need right now. For years now, Red Butte Garden has been the site for many of you to stroll the Garden, take a class or summer camp, enjoy a wedding or concert, or just escape to a sanctuary of comfort and solace. It saddens me you cannot come share the amazing fragrance of our Garden bursting into enthusiastic bloom. But please know that Red Butte Garden will be here for you as soon as we can open the gates.
The staff and I understand the shutdowns have taken a toll on more than our Garden. Many of you and your families are hurting and feeling the pressure to keep your families safe and healthy, while also keeping businesses solvent and employees on payroll. We are not immune to these burdens either. The timing of the pandemic could not have been worse to impact every one of the Garden’s revenue streams simultaneously—admissions, spring plant sale, weddings, summer camps, and concerts. Due to this we have had to take some drastic measures that have affected our staff heavily.
While we all await the end of this time apart, I promise we will do our best to care for the Garden’s stunning plant collections, provide learning opportunities to connect you with the natural world, continue our critical research on native and endangered plants, and prepare the Garden to welcome you back to celebrate the milestones, people, and music to lift your spirits within our beautiful garden setting. In the meantime, we are working to create opportunities for you to experience the Garden remotely and enjoy virtual activities designed to see the Garden this spring and summer.
If the mood inspires and the circumstances allow, please consider helping us keep blooming by renewing your membership, giving an additional gift, or enrolling in an online course. As always, we thank you for your support of Red Butte Garden, and I look forward to opening our gates as soon as we can responsibly and safely do so. And I’ll be there to meet and greet you with a proper Texan “Howdy!” Until then, be well, be safe, and keep gardening.
Jimmy Turner, Executive Director