The McIntire Botanical Garden’s 2nd Annual


Saturday, September 29, 2018, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Morven Farm, Albemarle County, Virginia

Richmond Magazine Article: In the Crook of Comfort

Photo Credit: Jeff Saxman  |  “The reason why communities need gardens is not so straightforward, though. It’s a question Robinson says he’s answered “a thousand times” but rarely the same way.”
Read more…

“Building a Botanical Garden” 

Delivered by Frank L. Robinson | President Emeritus of
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The presentation will focus on the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of building a new botanical garden in a community—with a good dose of humor, in the tradition of Ian Robertson. Anyone interested in gardens and the process ahead for McIntire Botanical Garden will enjoy the lecture. In addition, there will be ample opportunity for questions and answers.

Ticket Price for the event is $175* 


Seating is limited.  To ensure a place, please register early.


Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres from A Pimento catering, wines from local vineyards, and music by the Piedmont Chamber Players.


7:15 p.m. — LECTURE
Building a Botanical Garden
Frank L. Robinson
President Emeritus of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden




Photo Credit: Morven Programs

*In addition to the lecture, this price includes the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll throughout the gardens of Morven Farm.


The Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship  is McIntire Botanical Garden’s annual horticultural lecture series. It fulfills the Garden’s educational mission while honoring the late Ian Robertson, an internationally known and beloved horticulturalist who lived in Albemarle County, Virginia. The Lectureship also serves as a fundraiser: initially for the design and construction of the Garden and in future years to help sustain the Garden.

In March 2017, the Board of McIntire Botanical Garden and the Friends of Ian Robertson formalized a partnership to endow this annual educational lecture series and to build a structural element in the future Garden to recognize Ian’s numerous contributions to horticulture, landscape design, and education.


Frank Robinson joined Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (LGBG) in Richmond, Virginia, in 1992, after serving as director of the American Horticultural Society. Prior to that time, Frank had been estate manager at Albemarle House, the estate then owned by John W. Kluge. It was there that Frank first met Ian Robertson, who was engaged as a consulting horticulturist for the numerous gardens being created at Albemarle House.  

First as executive director, and later as president and CEO of LGBG, Frank oversaw the development of more than 50 acres of themed gardens in addition to a visitor center, education complex, classical conservatory, and other facilities. During his tenure, LGBG grew from a local garden attraction to one of the top five botanical gardens in North America. Now retired, Frank continues to share his leadership skills by serving on multiple nonprofit boards. 

When Frank took over the leadership at LGBG, he asked his colleague and good friend Ian Robertson to join him in creating the LGBG’s first major initiative —The Henry M. Flagler Perennial Garden. Ian developed the planting plan and oversaw the installation of the $1 million project, and then stayed on to design the West Island Garden (bog garden) and the initial garden at the Robins Tea House. It is fitting that Frank Robinson was chosen to speak at this year’s lecture.  Frank gave Ian the opportunity to help build one of the greatest botanical gardens in North America. Ian’s legacy will help build Charlottesville’s own McIntire Botanical Garden, and Frank’s lecture will assist us along the way.


Photo Credit: Morven Programs

Morven Farm is a lovely 2,913-acre tract of land in southeastern Albemarle County, about seven miles from downtown Charlottesville. The land is part of a gift made to the University of Virginia Foundation in 2001 by the late John W. Kluge, media entrepreneur and philanthropist. Throughout the year, Morven hosts events and programs with educational and charitable purposes.

The property, which currently includes forty-three buildings, dates back to the 18th century. The grounds boast the “three-room” Formal Gardens, first created by landscape designer Annette Hoyt Flanders in the 1930s, and the Japanese Garden, constructed by John and Maria Kluge, in the 1990s. Both are legendary for their beauty.

While teaching at Piedmont Virginia Community College, Ian Robertson often brought students to the Morven Farm gardens for outside horticulture lessons.


Ian RobertsonThe late Ian Robertson was a master horticulturalist and internationally known garden designer who left his mark on gardens all over the globe. He was especially proud of his work at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia, where he designed the Henry M. Flagler Perennial Garden, among others.

Educated at Edinburgh University, Ian found his spiritual home in Scotland. He was an avid intellectual, a talented and enthusiastic educator, and an accomplished writer. He was a lecturer of horticulture and landscape design at Piedmont Virginia Community College as well as an instructor at the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs Landscape Design Institute and at Master Gardeners and the Virginia Native Plant Society. His book, Six Thousand Years Up the Garden Path, carries the reader through a whimsical yet scholarly history of gardens.

Ian is fondly remembered for his effervescent charm, sparkling wit, boundless enthusiasm for nature and the environment, and his deep love for his family. Ian considered his ​greatest creation was the building of his wonderful family, and he took great joy in his close-knit and ever-growing tribe.

Ian was a rare and special person who touched the lives of so many others. On November 4, 2014, at the age of 76, Ian passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. On that day, the world lost a master horticulturalist, but Ian’s legacy remains in the many seeds he planted both of trees and in the lives of those he loved.

The McIntire Botanical Garden Thanks our Sponsors of the Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship

A Special Thanks to our Underwriters:

A Pimento Catering, Florabella Gardens, MS Events, John LeMasney, Jefferson Vineyards, Rob Gardner, Margaux and Company, Gabriele Rausse Winery, and Piedmont Chamber Players