The late Ian Robertson, beloved horticulturalist, designer, educator, author and Charlottesville resident.

The Board of McIntire Botanical Garden (MBG) and the Friends of Ian Robertson (FIR) announce their new partnership to endow an educational lecture series in Robertson’s name and to build a structural element in the future Botanical Garden to honor his contributions to horticulture, landscape design and education. The lecture series will be a fundraiser for the design and construction of the Garden on 8.5 acres in Charlottesville’s McIntire Park and will help with operating costs after the Garden opens. The MBG Board and FIR formalized their partnership in March by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.

A master horticulturalist, landscape designer, educator and author who lived in Charlottesville, Robertson passed away in Nov. 2014. He was internationally known for public and private garden designs. Among his best-known works are several original gardens at Richmond’s Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, including the Henry M. Flagler Perennial Garden. He was also a lecturer of Horticulture and Landscape Design at Piedmont Virginia Community College, an instructor at the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs Landscape Design Institute, and an instructor for Master Gardeners and the Virginia Native Plant Society.

The McIntire Botanical Garden is a public landscape garden included in Charlottesville’s Master Plan for the eastern section of McIntire Park. The idea for the Botanical Garden originated 10 years ago with Albemarle County resident and MBG Founder Helen Flamini. In 2008, she formed McIntire Botanical Garden, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) to work in partnership with the City to bring the Garden to fruition. The MBG Board is now raising funds for the design and construction. “We couldn’t be more pleased and grateful about this joint venture,” commented Dorothy Tompkins, MBG Board president. “The garden element will honor Ian’s love of horticulture, and the annual lecture will pay tribute to Ian’s commitment to education while creating a revenue source to help create and sustain the future McIntire Botanical Garden.”

The inaugural Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship is planned for Saturday, Sept. 30, at White Hall Vineyards in Crozet, Virginia. C. Colston Burrell, twice winner of the American Horticulture Society Book Award and a lecturer for the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, will deliver the keynote address. Burrell is also principal in Native Landscape Design and Restoration and serves on the MBG Board. “The lecture series is an opportunity for Ian to continue to promote the love of horticulture to those who didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him in person,” said Jill Trischman-Marks with FIR. FIR member Judy Robertson added about her husband: “Ian had an utter and complete love of horticulture, and this advantageous partnership with the Botanical Garden creates a lasting legacy for him and his family.”

Additional details about the first lecture will be announced in coming months. Visit friendsofianrobertson.com for more information, or email us.


At the official MOU signing are, seated l to r, Jill Trischman-Marks and Judy Robertson with FIR and Dorothy Tompkins MBG Board President. Standing l to r: Susan B. Viemeister, Buddy Spencer, Katharine Hannigan and Jan Sievers Mahon with FIR and Linda Seaman MBG Board President-Elect. Not pictured: Robert, James, Matthew and Stuart Robertson with FIR, and Lesley Sewell and Peter McIntosh MBG Board members.