The Garden Club of America recently presented Southern Highlands Reserve the Zone VIII Horticulture Commendation. The commendation was awarded with appreciation for SHR’s dedication to horticulture, preservation, conservation and education in the uniquely beautiful native plant gardens of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and beyond.
Lifelong outdoor enthusiasts, Reserve founders Betty and Robert Balentine aspired to bring their children closer together in the mountains of their own youth when they noticed their big-city, big-kids suffering from what they call “nature deficit disorder.” This love for the nature of family and the family of nature has evolved into The Southern Highlands Reserve—integrating roll your sleeves up, hands-on research and education based on conservation of the rare ecology of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
The Balentines received the award on behalf of the organization at an awards banquet in March in Palm Beach, Florida, presented by The Garden Club of Palm Beach. Robert Balentine said, “Through two generations of our family’s involvement, I have long admired the work of the Garden Club of America. Receiving the Zone Horticulture award on behalf of Southern Highlands Reserve was a very special honor for Betty and me.”
The purpose of The Garden Club of America is “to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening; to share the advantage of association by means of educational meetings, conferences, correspondence and publications; and to restore, improve and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement.” Among the other Zone VIII award recipients were the Garden Club of Palm Beach, the Late Bloomers Garden Club, the Reed Mountain Garden Club, and also The King Library.