By Dr. F. Todd Lasseigne Executive Director To me, one of the joys of visitors…
Dr. William E. Barrick, Executive Director of Bellingrath Gardens and Home, has been selected to receive the American Horticultural Society’s 2015 Liberty Hyde Bailey Award.
The prestigious Liberty Hyde Bailey Award is part of the Society’s annual national awards program, initiated in 1953. The honor is given to an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to at least three of the following horticultural fields: teaching, research, communications, plant exploration, administration, art, business and leadership.
At Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Dr. Barrick manages the 65-acre historic estate and serves as a trustee for the Bellingrath Morse Foundation, the estate of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath. Under his direction, the Gardens and Home have become a major tourist destination on the Gulf Coast, attracting 125,000 visitors each year.
His initiatives include the redesign of the annual Magic Christmas in Lights attraction, which will mark its 20th anniversary this year. In December 2014, USA Today included Bellingrath Gardens and Home’s Magic Christmas in Lights in its list of the “10 Best Public Light Displays in America.”
Dr. Barrick has been Bellingrath’s Executive Director since 1999. Before that, he was Executive Vice President and Director of Gardens at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., for nearly twenty years.
“Bill brought an exquisite sense of design that is unparalleled in our experience,” Edward C. Callaway, chairman and CEO of Callaway Gardens, wrote in his nomination letter to the awards committee. “He is an artist who uses plants as his paint and the living world as his canvas. He is remarkably gifted in his ability to imagine and create guest experience in gardens.”
Dr. Barrick is a past Chairman of the American Horticultural Society and has been active in numerous horticultural organizations, including the American Association of Arboreta and Botanical Gardens, of which he is a past President; the American Public Garden Association; the board of the Southeastern Flower Show in Atlanta; The National Wildflower Research Center; The National Arboretum Advisory Council; and the visiting committee of Longwood Gardens.
He is a 1994 recipient of the Arthur Hoyt Scott Horticulture Medal and the 2012 Governor’s Tourism Award from the Alabama Tourism Department. He is a graduate of Leadership Georgia, Leadership Mobile and Leadership Alabama.
He is the author of the American Horticultural Society’s 75 Great American Garden Plants, co-author of the American Horticultural Society’s Southeast SmartGarden Regional Guide and a contributing writer for How to Achieve A Heaven on Earth.
Dr. Barrick received BS and MS degrees from Auburn University and a PhD in Landscape Horticulture from Michigan State University. After graduation, he served as an Assistant Professor in Ornamental Horticulture at the University of Florida. Dr. Barrick is also an affiliate professor in ornamental horticulture at Auburn University and has served on the Auburn University Agricultural Advisory Committee.
Dr. Barrick serves on numerous boards of civic and community organizations, including the board of Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he currently serves as Vice-Chairman; the board of the South Mobile County Tourism Authority, as a founding member and Chairman; the Providence Hospital Foundation and the Festival of Flowers; the Downtown Mobile Alliance; and Dauphin Way United Methodist Church. Most recently, he was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to the Alabama Coastal Advisory Committee.
Dr. Barrick will receive the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award at the Great American Gardeners Awards ceremony on June 4 at River Farm, the American Horticultural Society’s National Headquarters in Alexandria, Va. All of the 2015 Great American Gardeners Award recipients have been officially announced in the March/April 2015 issue of The American Gardener magazine.