Queens Botanical Garden celebrates honorees during virtual ‘Rose Gala at Home’

A Virtual Rose Garden created by Rose Gala @ Home 2020 attendees on Zoom by holding up roses.
Photo courtesy of Queens Botanical Garden

Queens Botanical Garden celebrated this year’s QBG Rose Gala 2020 honorees on June 4 with a musical performance and video highlights virtually on Zoom. 

Special guests at the event included Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee and New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, who shared remarks thanking QBG for its role and offerings in the community. 

The event kicked off with a heart-warming piano performance by Nick Fanara of “Lean on Me” that was dedicated to essential workers and included a special thanks to Lavender Rose Sponsor, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. 

QBG’s Rose Gala raised over $121,000 to support the garden’s flowers and trees, education and gardening programs for kids, cultural events and art exhibitions.

Guests stepped up to the occasion by creating a “Virtual Rose Garden” during the event by holding a real rose or an image of one they created. 

Susan Lacerte, QBG’s executive director, shared a video highlighting the staff member’s favorite moments of QBG @ Home, the garden’s transition to making programming available virtually on the website and social media channels due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19. 

Thereafter, along with comments by QBG Board Chair Neil Fleischman, videos of the Rosa Gala honorees were shared, followed by live acceptance speeches and a video tour of the Rose Garden by QBG Gardener Colin Kirk. 

The QBG 2020 Rose Gala Honorees include: 

Pat Shanley

Pat Shanley, Rose Gala Award (Photo courtesy of QBG)

Pat Shanley, the immediate past president of the American Rose Society (ARS). Shanley is a past vice chair of the Queens Botanical Garden Board of Trustees, currently serving on their Advisory Board.  

She lives and gardens in Glen Cove, where she grows approximately 250 roses.

Shanley is the founding and current chair of American Garden Rose Selections (AGRS), the national testing program for new rose varieties. She is the founding and current president of the Manhattan Rose Society; founding chair of the New York Metropolitan Rose Council; and founding chair of the Great Rosarians of the World™ East (GROW™) Award Lectureship;

Shanley is an ARS Horticultural Judge; ARS Arrangement Judge; ARS Master Rosarian; Recipient of the ARS Bronze Honor Medal, the ARS New York District Silver Honor Medal, Outstanding Judge Award, and Outstanding Consulting Rosarian Award.

Shanley was the guest editor of the 2012 ARS Annual and guest co-editor of the 2018 ARS Annual.  She is also the co-editor and a contributing author of “The Sustainable Rose Garden – A Reader in Rose Culture” 2010, published by Newbury books, (an imprint of Casemate Publishers) which received the World Federation of Rose Societies Literary Award for 2012 and was accepted into the Library of Congress in July 2017. 

Shanley has traveled extensively, both national and international, to promote the Rose, including leading two ARS Delegations to China in 2013 and 2015, to promote the relationship between the American Rose Society and the China Rose Society.

During her term as ARS President she oversaw the establishment of the first ARS Species Garden (for roses) at Edisto Memorial Gardens, Orangeburg, SC, and the signing of an International Sister Garden Relationship between Zijing Park in Changzhou, China and the American Rose Center, Shreveport, LA.

 In 2017, under her leadership as ARS President, she initiated the Great Garden Restoration of the gardens at the American Rose Center.

Joyce and Edward Morrill

Joyce and Ed Morrill, Community Leadership Award (Photo courtesy of QBG)

After leaving a career in social work in 1996, Joyce’s longtime love of photography and aversion to chemicals drew her to the digital darkroom. She studied photography and photoshop at The International Center of Photography in New York and works in her home studio. Joyce is a member of Professional Women Photographers and was featured in ‘Who’s Who in America.’ 

Ed has been an active member of the Jamaica Estates Civic Association since 1972, continuously serving as chair of the Parks & Landscape committee, many leadership positions and currently as chair of the board of directors.

Following a successful career in corporate design and branding, Ed was fortunate to retire at a relatively young age and be able to focus his creative energies on photography, computer design and digital imaging. Time to take extensive digital imaging courses at the International Center for Photography, time to devote to family and to travel widely with Joyce. He took the opportunity also to contribute his time, management and creative skills to a variety of worthy organizations that are important to the local community.

Travels in India inspired Joyce and Ed to collaborate on a traveling exhibition shown in four venues including The Durst Organization and the United Nations.

Their work has been exhibited in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Polish Consulate, Chelsea Market, Chrystie St. Gallery, Queens Hospital Center, Atrium Gallery, Chelsea Gallery Space, Manhattan Borough President Gallery, Macy’s Herald Square, National Arts Club, Maine Coast Artist Gallery, Atlantic Gallery, and of course, Queens Botanical Garden.

 Their India photography was published in the October 2008 Departures magazine “India Now” special issue.

 They are longtime members of Queens Botanical Garden, founding members and guest curators of the art gallery committee, currently serving on the Advisory Council. Along with exhibiting their show “Infinite India,” they made a significant contribution to QBG in creating and producing the “Harvesting Our History” exhibit in 2015, which is now in the QBG permanent collection.

Together, they formed Morrill Support, which offers Photography, Digital Imaging, Fine Art Printing, Graphic Design for sale of fine art prints to galleries in Manhattan, the Hamptons, New Mexico and Maine as well as to private collectors.

Fred Gerber 

Fred Gerber, Environmental Education Award (Photo courtesy of QBG)

Gerber resides in Flushing and is interested in art, animals and science fiction and fantasy.

Gerber has been interested in plants and gardening since his childhood in New Jersey.  He obtained a B.A. in Secondary School Biology Education from Rutgers, and an M.A. in Botany from Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut.  He has taken further courses at Audubon Camp, New York Botanical Garden, and Arden House. 

Gerber started working at Queens Botanical Garden in 1970 and helped form the Education Department.  He was very instrumental in developing many of the workshops that are part of the curriculum still taught today. Gerber became director of education and remained in the position until retiring in 2001, when he became education director emeritus.  He continues to work part-time as an instructor in the QBG Education Department, sharing his immense knowledge of nature – especially botanicals – with adults and children alike.  He has inspired tens of thousands of people over these 50 years.

Gerber is a member of Hortus, an organization for people in horticulture, the Metro-Hort Group, and is a member of the Board of Voelker-Orth Historic House Museum, Victorian Garden and Bird Sanctuary.

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