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APGA Service Award American Public Garden Association’s CEO Michelle Provaznik and Mary Brinegar, President Emerita of the Dallas Arboretum.

At the American Public Garden Association’s (APGA) annual conference in Dallas/Fort Worth, the organization awarded Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum retired president and CEO and now president emerita, with the APGA Service Award at a dinner held at the Dallas Arboretum on June 7.


According to APGA, “The Service Award is reserved for an individual who has shown selfless service to the organization through work that advances the Professional Communities, service on an Association Committee, and/or the Association’s Board of Directors.”


American Public Garden Association’s CEO Michelle Provaznik, “The Service Award is our highest honor, and we are pleased to honor Mary with it. In the past 28 years, she has set a goal of making the Dallas Arboretum—one of the largest public gardens in the nation— a garden for all to enjoy, an educational institution and a leader in plant trials and research. With her vision, her standard of excellence and her attention to detail, she has also shared her best practices with our members to help them achieve success.”


Will McDaniel, Dallas Arboretum Board chair, said, “Mary is deserving of this prestigious APGA Service Award. She has dedicated her life’s work to the Dallas Arboretum, and we are one of the nation’s top botanical gardens because of her efforts. During her tenure, the garden has developed 60 percent of its property and reworked the original gardens in place. She also fulfilled the last parts of the Dallas Arboretum’s mission by adding a strong education program and trial research program.”


Structural additions occurring during her tenure included the buildings of the Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion; the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden; A Tasteful Place complex with the Test Pavilion; the Margaret and Jay Simmons Lagoon and gardens; the Boswell Family Garden; the McCasland Sunken Garden; the Richard L. Grant Octagonal Fountain Garden; the Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade; the Henry Lindsley Shadow Garden; the Jan and Richard McMillan Fountain Renovation; the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill and the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn; the Jeanne L. Johnson Pavilion; the Tres Amigas garden; the Martha Brooks Camellia Garden; and Linda’s Pocket Garden.


Additionally, Brinegar helped guide renovations of the parking lots, updating of the DeGolyer House and Camp House; the renovation of major garden areas including the Lay Family Garden and Terrace; the Palmer Fern Dell; the Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden; the Dann Talley Kincheloe Courtyard and many other smaller areas. The Dallas Arboretum secured a loan for a parking garage, bought the land for a greenhouse and then built structures on it.


Major exhibits were added such as the Pumpkin Festival, The 12 Days of Christmas, the Dazzling Christmas Tree and the Pauline and Austin Neuhoff Christmas Village to boost attendance. In 2012, she helped bring a Chihuly sculpture exhibit to the garden—the first time attendance reached a million visitors. The Dallas Arboretum now has year-round activities and festivals for all interests, and has been named by many national sources as a major attraction in the city.


The Dallas Arboretum has been recognized extensively on a national basis with listings regularly among the finest gardens in America. Additionally Architectural Digest and others have named the Dallas Arboretum as one of the leading gardens in the world.


About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The garden is also home of the nationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. It is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum.  The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA, Channel 8 is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum.  Timed tickets are required and can be purchased online at or by calling 214-515-6615.


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