A Defining Moment for Mobile Botanical Gardens – Foreword by Andrew Saunders, MBG President
It was a beautifully sunny spring afternoon last Saturday when a large crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of our newly created Aromi Native Azalea Garden. Remarks by Gina Gregory, Aromi family members, and special guests were warm and welcoming. It seemed a great day and a fine event; then, Maarten van der Giessen took the microphone, and the world shifted.
Maarten is an accomplished horticulturalist and nurseryman, well-known regionally in the trade. He is a perennial leader of Mobile Botanical Gardens — past president (2006-07); currently, Chair of the Horticultural Committee and Executive Committee member.
A few minutes into his talk, Maarten had the crowd sighing in awareness that we were hearing powerful words and elevated concepts, eloquently spoken. He covered the history of Dr. Aromi — his extraordinary life and work. He described our Aromi Garden — its concept, its funding, its construction.
Then, Maarten brilliantly, poetically made the case for the importance of a botanical garden to any major city. He made the case for the importance of our Mobile Botanical Gardens to our City of Mobile as a refugium of both culture and horticulture — a refugium that is singular and invaluable to a city and its citizens — a place and a process of preservation for the generations.
As always, Come Here to Grow,