Gardening

The National Garden Bureau Celebrates 100 Years

You could have knocked me over with a feather: the National Garden Bureau (NGB) is celebrating its 100thanniversary? I had no idea. Yet, I’ve been using information from the NGB for over 35 years, so, logically, it has to be older than that, right?

I first became aware of the NGB when I joined the Gardener Writers Association (now GardenComm) back in 1984. They were actively helping struggling garden writers, like myself, to find photos, ideas and general gardening information to use in our writing. If I had a question, I could ask them and they’d find an answer. I’ve published articles on their “Year of the” program since long before I started this blog, for example. The program has been running since 1980: 40 years!

And the general gardening public can use their resources too! You can go any time to their New Plants page and learn about the latest plant introductions. They have a blog and a Frequently Asked Questions page. Visit the National Garden Bureau Website: there’s so much there to discover!

Here’s a bit of the NGB’s history.

History of an Institution

A century ago, National Garden Bureau (NGB) was conceived by James Burdett in the wake of World War I. Because of his unique background as both a former journalist and as a seed company’s advertising manager, he appreciated the role of the media in public education. He pioneered the idea of enlisting horticultural writers and broadcasters in the noble effort of mass education to create a population of gardeners. 

The Bureau really came of age during World War II when the American government encouraged homeowners to grow Victory Gardens. By means of posters promoting “Beauty and Abundance in Your Garden” and other promotional materials, NGB promoted gardening on the home front. The postwar years saw an emphasis on community beautification and the Bureau responded with a film, brochures, programs and information sheets to help gardening communicators further this cause among the public. Incorporation as a not-for-profit organization soon followed.

Fast forward to 2020 and much of what Mr. Burdett put in place 100 years ago still remains. 

Today, National Garden Bureau continues to work with horticulture writers and broadcasters, now called garden communicators. The promotion of gardening takes place primarily in the digital realm and in the world of social media, but also at events such as industry trade shows and consumer flower shows. Educating and inspiring home gardeners to indulge in all types of gardening remains a top priority for NGB. NGB members range from seed breeding companies to individual garden book authors and the number of members continues to grow.

2020 marks NGB’s 100th year and it invites the entire industry and gardening community to help it celebrate all year with fun, educational and inspirational activities each month. Look for more information on the National Garden Bureau Website as well as email and social media channels including FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest.

Kudos to the National Garden Bureau! Long may you live!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “The National Garden Bureau Celebrates 100 Years

  1. Thank you to all the gardeners! ❤️🦋🌀🌱🍀

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