Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - This month, Vallarta Botanical Garden welcomed back Executive Director, Neil Gerlowski, who had been on sabbatical to pursue a Fellowship at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Longwood is a world-renowned center for horticultural excellence and their prestigious Fellowship is a 13 month immersive learning experience focused on public garden management.
The creation, development, and maintenance of a world-class botanical garden requires the hard work of an enormous team of staff and volunteers. Coordination of these activities requires great leadership, vision, and dedication from its board and managers, and Vallarta Botanical Garden has benefited tremendously from Neil's work over the last seven years.
In the July edition of 'The Leaflet,' Neil shared his fellowship experiences as well as his plans for maximizing the Gardens for the year-round enjoyment of Puerto Vallarta residents and visitors:
Like many of you, I've fallen in love with the Vallarta Botanical Garden for a myriad of different reasons - the breathtaking beauty of the imaginatively cultivated grounds, the wild natural discoveries that await in the forest preserve, the meaningful conservation and educational programs that we pursue, and the wonderful people that this place constantly attracts to enjoy the splendor and learn from nature.
Maximizing the potential of a garden's development and its impacts in a community is a multifaceted subject deserving of dedicated study. I've had the great privilege of spending this past year in just such studies of garden management and leadership at Longwood Gardens, truly one of the greatest gardens in the world in terms of its horticultural excellence and the diversity and scale of its collections and displays.
This opportunity, generously funded by Longwood's educational department, allowed me to learn from some of the top professionals in this field including Longwood staff and colleagues from gardens around the world. My travels during the course of the program took me throughout much of the US and six countries in Western Europe including a two month field placement at the Villandry Château and Garden in France's Loire Valley.
As I return to the Vallarta Botanical Garden this month, I'll be working with our board and management team to further define and move forward strategies for our garden's future. This will likely include physical improvements, a renewed emphasis on the guest experience, progress in our programing and impact, and preparing our organization for a long, stable, and sustainable future.
While pursuing these strategies will require additional fundraising, it will also require the input of our community which especially includes you as our members and supporters. So please take the time to connect with me, let me know what it is that makes you love the Garden too, and share your ideas for how we can all make it even better.
Visit the internationally famous Vallarta Botanical Garden located just 30 minutes south of Old Town at Km. 24 on Highway 200 and easily accessible by public transportation and taxi. This 64 acre wildlife preserve and botanical garden have something fun for everyone. See plantings of vanilla, chocolate, and hundreds of other botanical delights, and don't forget to bring your swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the jungle river. The Garden is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (closed Mondays from April 1 to December 1). Garden admission is just $200 pesos. Authentic Mexican Cuisine is served in the Hacienda de Oro Restaurant from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information, call (322) 223-6182 or visit vbgardens.org.
Click HERE to learn more about Vallarta Botanical Gardens.