2013-2014 Annual Report

 Notable Accomplishments

  • 75th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser, “An Evening in the Garden with Earthly Delights” raised $91,000 and won the 2014 ISES Charger Award for Best Event Decor and Creative Theme. Over 600 guests attended.
  • 17 year Executive Director, Donald R. Buma retires
  • NBG welcomes new President and CEO, Mr. Michael P. Desplaines
  • 75th Anniversary Grand Prize Wedding giveaway, October 2013
  • Summer Exhibit, Mission Monarch: Project Milkweed to bring attention to the critical monarch butterfly decline.
  • Best of Reader’s Choice Award: Southside Gold Award for Best Places to Hike/Walk & Best Local Attraction.
  • North American Plant collections Consortium (NAPCC) accreditation of NBG’s Crapemyrtle collection.
  • 46 trees added to State Champion Tree list bringing our totalto 61 champion trees.
  • First Orchid Exhibit; collaboration with Tidewater Orchid Society and Old Dominion University.
    Capture pie 1

 Vital Statistics

Total Attendance

  • Total memberships: 8,325
  • Children’s Program Attendance: 15,861
  • Number of Children’s programs: 608
  • Adult Program Attendance 6,699
  • Number of Adult Programs; 900
  • Volunteers: 1801 (groups count as one)
  • Volunteer Hours: 21,046
  • Website visitors:
  • Number of Regattas: 5Capture pie 2
  • Number of Runs: 5
  • Plant Society Shows and Meetings: 49
  • Number of Weddings: 97
  • Number of tram Tours: 1803
  • Number of boat tours: 776

Visitor Services and Special Events

  • 1st Annual Shakespeare in the Garden (Traveling Players Ensemble), August 2013
  • Attended Longwood Garden’s “Guest Services Academy Pilot Program,” 1 of 13 applicants selected from Gardens across the country – September 2013
  • International Passport to Fun Program – with Visit Norfolk, advance ticket purchase through Travelocity, etc., November 2013Capture people

Donor Relations:

  • 2,702 new families joined the Garden this year.
  • 21 new Garden Patron Donors joined our donor program this year.

Event Sponsorships:

  • Our partnership with Dominion continues for the Dominion Garden of Lights drive through light show. A special thanks to Food Lion & Pepsi for their sponsorships.
  • Almost 4,000 military families took advantage of our Monday Military Appreciation Nights sponsored by USAA.
  • Million Bulb Walk:  For the third year, over 5,000 guests enjoyed walking through the lights for this fundraising event.  Thanks to Dollar Tree as the lead sponsor along with USAA & USA Discounters for military discounts.
  • New Year Run: The Garden launches its first fundraising walk/run through the lights with over 600 participants.
  • Five families purchased a teak bench naming opportunity at the $5,000 and $10,000 levels.
  • For the fourth year, The Virginian-Pilot sponsored 10 homeless ForKids children for the 2013 NBG summer camp.
  • Planned Gifts: The Garden receives $200,000 from a long time member to be used for the Rose Garden.
  • Over 1,000 children enjoyed a “Day of Nature” through our scholarship fund for underprivileged children to visit the Garden at no cost.
  • Thanks to a matching gift opportunity, we raised $35,000 to support our ongoing children’s programs and activities.
  • WVEC-TV 13 sponsors our 75th anniversary year with 30 & 15 second commercial advertising for our plant sale, Million Bulb Walk, Dominion Garden of Lights, Family Fitness with Fido and a general commercial about the Garden.
  • Moses Ezekiel Sculpture Restoration Campaign:  The Garden has raised over $250,000 toward our $500,000 goal to restore the sculptures and renovate the Statuary Vista landscape.


  • Youth staff served as committee chair for South Hampton Roads Museum Forum to organize and host Museum Open House program for all public and private school educators.
  • Received Gary Fund at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation grant for Mission Monarch: Project Milkweed Summer Exhibit 2014 activities.
  • New sinks installed in WOW restrooms
  • Lifelong Learning revenue: $123,230
  • Floral Design Certificate Program: 29 graduates
  • Offered  50 new Green programsCapture butterfly
  • Ongoing programming partnership with Old Dominion University including Phenology Network, Orchid Exhibit, Mission Monarch: Project Milkweed, and student fieldtrips ad research.
  • Held 3 major symposia.

Marketing & Public Relations

  • Facebook: 18,164
  • Facebook Postings: 293
  • 8 video blogs posted
  • 5 television commercials
  • Cell Tour: 2,164 calls, Total Minutes: 3,787
  • AcquaFire: successful new event, fall and spring.
  • Completed first SEO, eight month marketing campaign.
  • Participation in Norfolk International Airport’s full scale emergency procedure Operation Shore Bird with our NBG Water Response. Plan.

Capture photosHorticulture

  • Seasonal color hayrack planters were installed on Rose Garden and NATO bridges to celebrate 75th Anniversary.
  • A water curtain was installed under NATO Bridge for the 2013 season.
  • Large decorative pots were installed on the stone triangle at the base of Rose Garden Bridge.
  • An Edible Demonstration Garden was begun in the Children’s Garden at Discovery Peak with assistance from a grant from Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) through Virginia Tech.
  • The Living Wall in WOW was completed.
  • The infinity Garden arbor was painted, the stonework completed and the memorial plaque for former Garden director Peter Frederick was installed.
  • The Mirror Lake interpretive signs were installed in April 2013
  • Glass sculpture by Craig Mitchell Smith installed in the Reflection Garden.
  • The new plant database system Iris BG is active.
  • Garden Explorer, a web-based NBG plant collection search is active and accessed by the public using a web browser on a PC, tablet computer or Smartphone.
  • Construction of new Holiday Light storage building and accompanying landscape installed.
  • Installation of Emergency Generator systems-Propagation and Nursery Greenhouses.