Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship September 2017:

Sold-Out Crowd Enjoys 1st Annual Horticulture Lectureship  Honoring the Late Ian Robertson
A sold-out crowd enjoyed the 1st Annual Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship on September 30, 2017, with every seat filled for the presentation by C. Colston Burrell, an award-winning author, nationally renowned landscape architect, and lecturer in the University of Virginia’s Landscape Architecture Department.  
The McIntire Botanical Garden Board and the Friends of Ian Robertson formally and publicly united to sponsor the annual Lectureship which honors the late Ian Robertson and creates a fundraiser for the future McIntire Botanical Garden in Charlottesville. Through the generosity of sponsors, in-kind gifts from underwriters, and other donations, the event exceeded fundraising goals. 
Hosted at the White Hall Vineyards in Crozet, Virginia, thanks to the generosity of owners Tony, Edie, and Lisa Champ, the attendees enjoyed wine and hors d'ouvre under a perfectly clear blue evening sky. A Pimento Catering provided delicious light fare, displayed beautifully with autumn floral arrangements by Florabella Gardens. Harpist Eve Watters entertained during the outdoor cocktail hour, and a tour was given around the grounds of the Vineyard. The garden of all native plantings, designed by Ian Robertson and installed in 1996, is beautifully mature now after so many years. 
Guests gathered inside the Vineyard’s meeting room for opening remarks, updates on the McIntire Botanical Garden’s progress by MBG Board President Dorothy Tompkins, and a remembrance of Ian Robertson. During his lecture, C. Colston Burrell shared his design inspirations from gardens around the world. After the intermission, Judy Robertson thanked the crowd, our sponsors, and the organizations, and announced that the 2nd Annual Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship will be held at Morven Farm in Albemarle County on September 29, 2018. 

Thank you to everyone who attended the 1st Annual Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship and special appreciation to the generous sponsors: Anonymous, Bella Terra Landscapes, Grelen Nursery, Ross and Deborah Grossman, Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards, Robertson Landscapes, Better Living Inc., Blue Ridge Builders Supply and Home Center, Florabella Gardens, Frederick Block Brick and Stone, Instant Shade Tree Nurseries and Landscaping, Jill Trischman-Marks Landscape Architect, J.W.Townsend Landscapes, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Robertson Renovations, Weatherseal Insulation Co., and Wilkinson Wealth Management.  
To stay apprised about the future McIntire Botanical Garden, please visit the Garden's website at: http://mcintirebotanicalgarden.org/about/

SAVE THE DATE! September 30th, 2017, Saturday evening

First Annual Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship at Whitehall Vineyards, Crozet VA

The Friends of Ian Robertson (FIR) has teamed up with the McIntire Botanical Garden (MBG) to honor Ian Robertson with a two part gift. The primary aspect of the gift is an educational series in Ian's name. This educational series will also stand as a fundraiser for the Garden (MBG).

The second part of the gift is to be a physical structure and/or planting within the garden, and is currently under discussion.

Meanwhile, please SAVE THE DATE of September 30, 2017, in the evening, for our 1st Annual Ian Robertson Legacy:Lectureship to be hosted by Whitehall Vineyards. Our keynote speaker will be C.Coleston Burrell, accalaimed garden designer and award-winning author. Additionally, a garden tour through the Vineyards will be a feature, giving guests a rare opportunity to enjoy walking through one of Ian Robertson's garden designs. We look forward to seeing you there.

For more information please keep checking in with the McIntire Botanical Garden website: http://mcintirebotanicalgarden.org/about/ or MBG's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mcintirebotanicalgarden/ and the Friends of Ian Robertson facebook page can be found here:https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofIanRobertson/.   Thank you for your continued interest!

For more information about Whitehall Vineyards please click here: https://www.whitehallvineyards.com/



Representatives of Ian's family and several members of the Friends of Ian Robertson met with the Board of the McIntire Botanical Garden (MBG) to explore the possibilities of coordinating our efforts to remember Ian with the goals of the Botanical Garden. Based on our earlier meetings with representatives of MBG, we presented two possible alternatives for a gift in Ian's name. One option was a planting and/or physical structure to be created within the Garden. Considering the early stages of the development of the McIntire Botanical Garden this option may be exercised in the future but is not applicable at this time due to timing, logistics and security issues.

The second option was an endowed educational lecture series. One of our criteria in giving this type of gift is that series must be used as a fund raising tool for MBG. As Lesley Sewell said during our meeting, "education is a critical element in the mission statement of the Garden" and the entire MBG Board was excited about our suggestion that the funds FIR raised might be used for educational programming in Ian's name.

Our original goal for memorializing Ian as an educator and horticulturalist was to create a horticulture scholarship at PVCC. Though not the same structure as a scholarship, the intent of funding an educational series seems an appropriate option for using our funds towards the important goal of horticultural education and it has the potential of reaching a great many more people. Prior to getting ill, Ian was supporting the efforts towards creating the McIntire Botanical garden and we are very excited that FIR may play a supportive role in its creation in Ian's honor.

Everyone interested is invited to discuss how best to set up the educational fund & coordinate our efforts with the goals of McIntire Botanical Garden.

Please join us Chez Robertson:

Wednesday, October 12th at 5:30

102B Overlook Drive, Charlottesville 22903

 More information about McIntire Botanical Garden can be found here:


 Thank you for your continued support and interest. We hope to see you on the 12th!



Ian Robertson taught horticulture and landscape design classes at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, Virginia (http://www.pvcc.edu/) from 1997 through the fall of 2013. Shortly after he became ill in 2014, his friends contacted PVCC to gather information about establishing a scholarship in Ian's honor, to be called the Ian Robertson Horticultural Scholarship. At PVCC Ian had taught classes such as: horticulture, plant identification, landscape design, and landscape business.

Friends of Ian Robertson established a fund for the Scholarship and donations came in. Though our intent, originally, was to set up the horticulture scholarship at PVCC, on further exploration it became evident that a more permanent way of remembering Ian would be to design and create an Outdoor Classroom that could be used by PVCC students and the community alike. One of Ian’s greatest pleasures was sharing his vast knowledge of horticulture and landscape design. Quite frequently he brought his students outside the walls of a classroom to visit plants in local gardens, arboretums and campuses; to explore the gardens and the plants as they existed on site. He had a strong reverence for nature and a concern for the environment. A design was created by Buddy Spencer, A.S.L.A., and the Friends of Ian Robertson were delighted when it was approved by the president and staff at PVCC.   


We were at the point of getting prices to determine how much construction of the outdoor classroom at PVCC would cost so we knew how much more fund-raising would be required. Once we had the majority of the prices together we learned that the engineer who had sized the building components didn't feel confident in their ability to do so and requested we find another engineer. We found another engineer experienced in sizing aluminum, only to find out that what had been previously priced was incorrect, so we started the pricing process all over again.

As you are all aware, our initial gift to PVCC of a scholarship to the horticulture department was abandoned because the future of the horticulture department at PVCC is questionable. When Friends of Ian Robertson re-trenched and made the offer of an outdoor classroom at PVCC, we told PVCC that we wanted to give the Outdoor Classroom as a built gift, not the cash.

Ian was a man who inspired people to give and do their best. As a result, many of our donations come in the form of labor and building materials from Ian's friends and colleagues in the construction industry. Utilizing these donations made the outdoor classroom goal more attainable, and the spirit of the gift, more Ian. But recently we learned that PVCC was required to put the outdoor classroom construction out to bid to the lowest bidder.

Giving the outdoor classroom as anything but a gift is not negotiable for the Friends of Ian Robertson, so we formally withdrew our offer to honor Ian's memory with a gift to PVCC. We asked that the funds from PVCC be transferred to our Open Hands account & got a favorable response from PVCC:
"…Thanks for your note and for all you have done to honor Ian's memory. Each of you who have given of your time and resources to determine the best way to do so are to be commended. As stated at the meeting two years ago after the decision to end the horticulture program, the college would respect and support your decision where the funds previously raised for scholarships should go."

Because of the generosity of many of the donors we have already raised some funds through checks donated directly to PVCC and through donations made to Open Hands. All donations previously sent to PVCC have been rolled over to Open Hands for safe keeping until such time as a decision has been made in how to best honor our friend.

A potential new recipient we are exploring as a place to honor Ian’s memory is the McIntire Botanical Garden in Charlottesville. You can learn more about the McIntire Botanical Garden on their website: http://www.mcintirebotanicalgarden.org/ . The Friends of Ian Robertson has been invited to meet with the Board of the McIntire Botanical Gardens to discuss our ideas in late September.
We have many ideas about the shape and form the new gift can take, it doesn't have to be the outdoor classroom. And we may return to some form of educational support.

We apologize for the many bends in the road we have encountered trying to honor Ian's memory, but we want to get it right. It's really been an adventure, and we thank you all for your enduring patience, encouragement, and assistance thus far.


mail to:FriendsIanRobertson@gmail.com    

DONATIONS:   A link for donations can be found above and below.

Please email us if you would like to help, donate or with any other questions:

mail to:FriendsIanRobertson@gmail.com                                              Thank you for your interest!

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