Since returning as Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in November 2000, Holly Shimizu has led the Garden in many new and exciting directions. The Garden was accredited by the American Association of Museums in 2007 and has received numerous awards. With a staff of 67, Ms. Shimizu strives to ensure that the Garden continues to serve the nation as a leading visitor-centered plant museum.
Under her leadership, the USBG is experiencing a renaissance by opening the National Garden in 2006, publishing the history book A Botanic Garden for the Nation, renovating the historic Bartholdi Fountain in 2011 and continuing to create innovative exhibits and inspiring gardens. The U.S. Botanic Garden is gaining national recognition for work in sustainability, plant conservation and its national partnerships with botanical institutions. The Garden is one of the founding partners of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), the first voluntary national guidelines for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices, and Landscape for Life, a program on sustainable gardening for homeowners.
Prior to assuming her current position, Ms. Shimizu was the Managing Director of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. She previously served as Assistant Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden and as the Curator of the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. Her international experience includes working at public gardens in England, Germany, Belgium, France and Holland. Ms. Shimizu is well-known through her work as a host of "The Victory Garden" gardening show, which was broadcast internationally on public television stations. In addition, she can often be heard on National Public Radio, and has written and lectured extensively in her field.
Throughout her career, Ms. Shimizu has been awarded many honors her work, including the Pennsylvania State University Outstanding Alumna Award in 2010, the Thomas Roland Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Horticultural Education from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 2009, the American Horticultural Society Professional Award in 2008, the Architect of the Capitol Honor Award in 2007, National Garden Clubs, Inc. Award of Excellence in 2007, the Architect of the Capitol Award for Leadership in 2004, American Horticultural Society Distinguished Lecturer Award in 1997, International Herb Association Otto Richter Award for Outstanding Educator in 1996, and The Herb Society of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Horticulture in 1986.
Her horticultural expertise is sought after by public gardens around the world. Ms. Shimizu is quick to share her knowledge and passion for plants, and has advised many groups around the country. She is an Advisory Committee Member for Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania), on the Advisory Committee of the American Botanical Council (Austin, Texas). She served on the Board of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, U.S., based at the Chicago Botanic Garden and was a Board Member of the American Horticultural Society (Alexandria, Virginia). In addition, she has served as Director-at-Large for the American Public Gardens Association; panel reviewer for the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade; Honorary President of the Herb Society of America and as its National Chairman of Botany and Horticulture. She has also been a national and international flower show judge.
She received her Associate of Science degree in Horticulture and Landscape Design from Temple University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Pennsylvania State University and her Master of Science degree in Horticulture from the University of Maryland. In April 2009, Ms. Shimizu received an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.