Cullina wins 'Award of excellence'

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 7:00pm

    William Cullina, an award-winning leader in horticulture and botanical garden design and management, has been honored with a national “Award of Excellence” from National Garden Clubs. NGC is recognized as the largest volunteer gardening organization in the world.

    Cullina was in Seattle to receive the award on May 25, and while on the West Coast he visited botanical gardens and horticultural centers in the Northwest U.S. and western Canada.

    Nominated by the Garden Club Federation of Maine, Cullina is executive director of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens ( where he has been a driving force in the design and ongoing development of that state’s first and only botanical garden, which is situated on 250 scenic tidal shorefront acres in Boothbay.

    Cullina, an environmentalist and staunch advocate for organic practices and integrated pest-management techniques, has applied his vast knowledge and expertise at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, where his efforts include integrating native plant species and varieties that are well-suited to the unique site.

    He also was responsible for the landscape design of the Bosarge Family Education Center, which opened in 2011. The structure, which demonstrates and practices environmental sustainability, was awarded Platinum designation by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and offers myriad educational opportunities.

    Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, whose mission is to protect, preserve and enhance the botanical heritage and natural landscape of coastal Maine for people of all ages through horticulture, education and research, opened in 2007 and receives nearly 100,000 visitors each year.

    Cullina, who holds a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, is an accomplished author of five acclaimed horticultural references and a contributing writer to Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Garden Design magazines.

    A popular lecturer, teacher and consultant for garden, conservation and professional horticultural groups in the United States and Canada, Cullina has been a guest on a number of top television programs, including the Martha Stewart Show and on radio. A skilled photographer, Cullina also specializes in the photography of native North American plants.

    In 2012, Cullina was awarded the Scott Medal for lifetime achievement and horticulture by the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Additional honors include the Award of Merit from the Perennial Plant Association, the Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award by the Native Plant Center in New York and the Communication Award from the New England Wild Flower Society.

    Headquartered in St. Louis, National Garden Clubs is a not-for-profit organization comprised of nearly 190,000 members, more than 6,200 local clubs, eight regions, 50 state clubs, a National Capital Area club, and hundreds of international affiliates.

    NGC provides education, resources and national networking opportunities for its members to promote the love of gardening, floral design, civic beautification and environmental stewardship.

    The organization’s extensive educational programs include topics of current interest such as plantings for public spaces, protecting aquatic ecosystems, greening and beautifying the community, conservation, recycling, floral design, flower shows, garden therapy and healing gardens.

    NGC’s youth programs include the Smoky Bear Woodsy Owl poster contest, a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service that has spanned over 50 years, and school gardens projects such as “Bee Nature’s Partner – Plants and Pollinators.” Working in partnership with other like-minded organizations, NGC offers several projects, including Penny Pines, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, and Habitat for Humanity Landscaping.

    Among NGC’s most nationally honored projects are the Blue Star Memorial marker program and funding and support for the Butterfly Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden.