On January 9, 2023, the Garden Club of America honored Staci Catron with the GCA Historic Preservation Medal of Merit awarded for outstanding work in the field of preservation and/or restoration of historic gardens or buildings. As director of the Cherokee Garden Library at Atlanta History Center since September 2000, Staci has been responsible for every aspect of the library’s collection as it has grown from 8,500 to over 34,000 objects. When Cherokee Garden Club member Anne Carr (who was also a charter member of Southern Garden History Society) first conceived of the library in 1973, she hoped it would become the leading resource in the Southeast for the study of gardens, their design, history, ecology, and illustration. By choosing Staci as Director, Anne ensured that dream became reality.
Staci has also contributed to every aspect of the growth of the Southern Garden History Society. Upon becoming president in 2012, Staci initiated the establishment of the Flora Ann Bynum Fund, an endowment fund to support garden history scholarship. During her two-year term, she oversaw the revision of the bylaws, the redesign of the website, and the organization of two key annual meetings, in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Savannah, Georgia. As associate editor of Magnolia since 2008, she has helped shape the journal’s content as well as contributing numerous articles, including a recent beautiful article on Cherokee Garden Library 2021;XXXIV.2:1.
Perhaps the culmination of Staci’s contribution to garden history scholarship is Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens, published in 2018 and written by Staci and Mary Ann Eaddy. Their research on almost two-hundred gardens as part of the Georgia Historic Landscape Initiative is held at the library and is incorporated into the gardens spotlighted in Seeking Eden.
Staci’s intelligence, scholarship, and energy have shaped the study and understanding of garden design and history in Georgia and throughout the South. Her deep knowledge, which she shares through her writings and her work, has enriched our understanding of the past. She is deeply deserving of this important recognition of her contributions to garden history and preservation.
Here is a link to the announcement with all the 2023 Garden Club of America Medalists.
Photograph courtesy of Staci Catron