2009-2010 Annual Report

Notable Accomplishments

  • Repairs to the Canal bulkheadCompleted design and installation of the new Front Entrance
  • Completed replacement of bulkhead in the boat basin as part of the ongoing Canal Bulkhead Replacement project. Funded by a grant from the Beazley Foundation
  • Planned and opened the Summer Exhibit – Enchanted Storybook Forest
  • Won the PilotOnline.com Silver Award for Best Special Events Venue
  • Won The Knot 2010 Best of Weddings award (voted by local brides)
  • Hazel Harvie won “Custodian of the Year” at the Norfolk Tourism Rally

Vital Statistics

Total Attendance: 278,057 FY 2010 Income
Total memberships: 7,312
Children’s Program Attendance: 21,046
Number of children’s programs: 825
Adult program attendance: 2,854
Number of adult programs: 481 FY 2010 Expenses
Volunteers: 1,394
Volunteer hours: 25,450
Total Functions: 1,906
Total plants added to permanent landscape:
(does not include donated bulbs and 9,800 pansies and annuals)
Total Accessions: 1,037



  • Clearing the boardwalk in the Native Plant GardenPrepared and successfully opened the second season of the Butterfly House
  • Cleaned up damage from fall 2009 nor’easter including approximately 80 fallen trees
  • Completed fall and winter planting of over 51,680 spring blooming bulbs
  • Expanded relationship with ODU to increase collections of wild collected plants
  • Both native and hybrid Azaleas were positively identified and labeled throughout the Garden, as well as all garden Hamamelis (Witchhazels)
  • Completed rejuvenation pruning of the Osmanthus hedge in Statuary Vista
  • Planted 40 Swamp White Oaks and River Birches for canopy replacement
  • New beds were created along the canal in the Tropical Garden
  • Collecting plants with Old Dominion University faculty and staffBegan a program of planting bare-root trees based on continuing study of root structural problems with container grown trees
  • Built a new trellis at the boat dock
  • Finished the renovation of the nursery cold house from an equipment storage shed to a nursery winter plant storage structure
  • Began installation of vertical dry wells throughout the Garden to increase drainage in problem areas beginning with the Colonial Garden and Renaissance Court

Visitor Services

  • A group tour through the azaleasVisitor Surveys were implemented
  • Garden wide events that were coordinated by Visitor Services & Special Events include Garden of Lights, Grapevine, Plant Sale, WPA Memorial Celebration, Stiffler Memorial, Opening Day – Enchanted Storybook Forest
  • The facilities staff has set up and broken down over 750 classes, meetings, weddings and other special events for the Garden this year
  • Continued upgrading broken or worn out equipment and improving aesthetics of the garden facilities including entry rugs, chair dollies, picnic grills and new dispensers for paper towels, toilet paper and soap for all bathrooms and kitchens
  • Switched cleaning products to Envirosystems, a green cleaning system, for quality and cost effective cleaning products that will promote the Garden’s green initiative
  • Group Tour revenue $33,861.75 — a 10% increase over previous year
  • 169 weddings totaled $228,607.50 in revenue, serving 10,500 wedding guests
  • Participated in two large Bridal Shows and successfully hosted our first Bridal Open House
  • Designed and implemented a post-event evaluation form for customer feedback

Education & Communications

  • Summer camp kids having fun in Statuary VistaImplemented green activities for WOW visitors
  • Applied for and received a Virginia Green Attraction certification by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • New boats in first full year of operation served 13,031 passengers. Revenue exceeded budget by approximately $10,000
  • Redesigned Garden Map to provide current information to guests throughout the year
  • Offered/conducted first Peruvian Amazon travel program for the Garden
  • Continued the Partnership for Environmental Education and Conservation (PEEC). Partnered with Portsmouth Public Schools to complete outreach program for all 5th Grade classes
  • Expanded the NBG Express holiday program
  • Lifelong Learning programs exceeded budget by $12,546 during the current economic down turn
  • Floral Design Certificate Program produced 26 graduates with a Beginning Floral Design certificate and 5 graduates with an Intermediate Floral Design certificate
  • Floral Design class in the fallWeb site had 367,750 visits, viewing 1,540,595 pages. Top pages were the home page, eagle cam, plan your visit and calendar
  • Eagle Cam on WVEC.com had 4.7 million page views
  • Launched Social Media program in conjunction with web site. Initiated accounts for Facebook (2,239 fans; 22,980 views), YouTube (1,389 views), and Flickr (219 photos uploaded to our group page). Continued use of email campaigns – 156,853 emails sent via 67 eblasts
  • Volunteer Services created and implemented (with Visitor Services) the Garden Ambassador Program and in 4 months gave 317 hours
  • Public Relations coordinated monthly editorials consisting of scheduled TV news segments, event listings, class listings and feature articles on WVEC, WAVY, Norfolk Perspectives, Hampton Roads Show, Virginian-Pilot, Daily Press, Tidewater Parent, Tidewater Women and Hampton Roads Magazine
  • The Garden was featured on “In the Garden” with Bryce Lane on North Carolina Public Television

Donor Relations

  • We reached a major milestone this year with over 7,000 memberships
  • Eagle flying with nesting material by Mike InmanHosted 88 new potential donors through private lunch tours and after-hours donor events at the Garden
  • A new Garden Patron donor program was created to offer individuals exclusive hands-on opportunities to get more involved at the Garden
  • Doubled our annual children’s program donations, thanks to a matching gift opportunity by a generous donor
  • Tripled eagle cam donations over last year by offering a new incentive program which provides a professional eagle photograph as a thank you gift
  • Three new individuals joined our Evergreen Society by adding the Garden in their wills
  • A new incentive program was created to offer new and renewing members a free 1-year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine through the American Association of Public Gardens. Over 1,000 members benefited from this opportunity
  • Partnerships and sponsorships:
    • The Virginia Symphony Orchestra performed at the Garden last fall for “Music In The Garden”
    • Bon Secours is sponsoring the Garden’s first official walk highlighting the “Healthier You and Healthy Kids Too” program during Daffodil Month in March 2011
    • Food Lion will once again sponsor the Garden of Lights holiday light show
    • The Capital Group Companies sponsored the Enchanted Story Book Forest exhibit
    • Verizon sponsored a “NBG Goes Green Zone” during Mother’s Day Weekend
    • WVEC continued to sponsor several programs: the Eagle Cam, Garden of Lights and April Azalea Celebration public service announcements
    • Doubled net revenue for the annual Grapevine Wine Social through corporate gifts from Tidewater Home Funding, Suburban Management, TowneBank, Pilato and Counts Interior Design, Associated Distributors