San Diego Botanic Garden’s 15th Annual Gala in the Garden will be held on Saturday, September 6, from 5-9:30 pm. The theme of this year’s event is “Right in Our Own Backyard.” The 2014 Paul Ecke, Jr. Award of Excellence honoree is Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

 

Larson is being recognized for his valuable and important work in San Diego County’s agricultural industry. As well as his leadership of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, the Carlsbad Municipal Water District, the San Diego County Water Authority, Carlsbad City Council, and the Encina Wastewater Authority. Larson’s efforts to promote the growth of agriculture in San Diego County align with San Diego Botanic Garden’s mission to “inspire people of all ages to connect with plants and nature.”

 

“I have long admired Eric for his formidable knowledge of the great array of agriculture that finds its home in San Diego. He not only has this knowledge, but few people I know have the ability to express and share what he knows so eloquently,” says Julian Duval, president and CEO of San Diego Botanic Garden. “I am a big fan of Eric, and the San Diego agricultural community is very fortunate to have his talent and ability to depend on,” adds Duval.

 

In recognition of his more significant contributions to the agricultural community, Larson was honored with both the Solana Recyclers Environmental Leadership Award and North San Diego County Magazine “Visionary” in 2003. In addition, Larson was named San Diego County Flower and Plant Association’s “Person of the Year” in 1996.

 

Gala is the Gardenis San Diego Botanic Garden’slargest annual fundraiser. Guests have the opportunity to explore garden trails, enjoy fine wine, craft beer, and the best dishes from local restaurants; listen to live entertainment; and view exquisite floral designs. Renowned florist and gala artist director, René van Rems, will once again lead of team of local floral designers to create lavish floral displays for the evening. On average over 10,000 stems are used to create these magnificent displays.

 

Garden trustee and former board chairman Jim Ruecker will return as the gala committee chair, and will be joined by Maureen “Mo” Ecke as the 2014 honorary chair. Tickets to the event are $200 per person. (760.436.3036, ext. 218, www.sdbgarden.org)

 

Botanical Garden: Photography by Luci Dumas