Sonoma Valley's Quarryhill Botanical Garden reaches to East Coast for new director

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The current president of a New York City horticultural destination will take over as executive director of the 25-acre Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Sonoma Valley.

Scot Medbury will begin in his new position in February 2020, succeeding longtime current President and Executive Director William McNamara, the organization announced Thursday. McNamara is set to retire Oct. 1.

Quarryhill Botanical Garden has what is said to be one of the largest collections of scientifically documented, wild-source Asian plants in North America and Europe, many of which represent ancestors of horticultural favorites found throughout the Western world. It is located on Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen.

“I am deeply honored to be entrusted by Quarryhill Botanical Garden’s Board with guiding this extraordinary botanical garden into its next phase of maturation and development, as we work to protect and maintain its unique living collections of Asian plants for the coming generations,” Medbury said in the announcement. “I am particularly encouraged by the dedication of everyone involved at Quarryhill in preserving and enhancing the garden in the face of a changing climate.”

Medbury is the current president and CEO of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where in 14 years he is credited with leading a $124 million capital campaign.

Quarryhill’s announcement further stated this marks a return to the Bay Area for Medbury, who previously served as director of the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Conservatory of Flowers before moving to New York City in 2005. In San Francisco, he oversaw $25 million in historic renovations.

Over his 40-year career, Medbury has been involved in the curation, cultivation and interpretation of botanical collections. He’s been involved in gardens in New York, California, Hawaii, Washington state, Great Britain and New Zealand.

“For 32 years Quarryhill has thrived under the direction of William McNamara, and we knew Bill could only have been succeeded by someone as renowned in the horticultural world as Scot Medbury. We all look forward to what Scot’s leadership will provide to maintain and enhance the collection and reputation of Quarryhill and know that his vision will enrich one’s experience of the garden as well as expanding its reach towards new visitors and supporters,” board Chairman Harvey Shein stated.

Medbury holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Jackson School of International Studies at the same university.

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