A lifelong native of the Washington, D.C. area, Bill traces his interest in horticulture to earliest childhood. Initially uninterested in reading, his parents bought him plant books; within days he was bringing plant parts home for identification and learning to pronounce their Latin names.
Assisting research at the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center performing cytogenetic enhancement of Medicago spp. while earning a B.S. in ornamental horticulture provided Bill a balanced perspective in the plant sciences. Initially hired as a horticulturist at the U.S. Botanic Garden shortly after graduation from the University of Maryland in 1986, Mr. McLaughlin worked with the cultivation of a vast array of accessioned plant species. In 1996 he was placed in charge of plant selection and design for a new project, the National Garden, a joint public-private project. In March 2005 he was hired as the Curator of Plants for the Botanic Garden, allowing him oversight of the entirety of the garden's plant-based content. In 2006 the long awaited three acre National Garden debuted, featuring roses and Mid-Atlantic native plants. Since that time, Bill has busied himself with refining the body of plant collections throughout the Botanic Garden to illustrate its scientific, aesthetic, and educational mission. As speaker, consultant, and advisor to professionals, researchers and publishers, Bill is able to extend the Garden's reach in horticultural expertise to the greater public.