On March 16, 2013, Montgomery Botanical Center dedicated its newly upgraded nursery complex for Loyd Kelly, long time Member and Board Member.

On behalf of Montgomery, Patrick Griffith, MBC Executive Director, welcomed the large group of supporters, friends and family, who turned out to honor Loyd for his decades of service, support and commitment. The new and upgraded plant propagation complex is vital to Montgomery. Each plant here begins its life in the nursery. The upgrade to the 1932 facilities will better meet plant requirements and provide more space. The project was carefully planned, designed, sited and built to allow more numerous and diverse palms, cycads and conifers. This fundamental work – growing seedlings – is the first step in conserving imperiled plants.

Chad Husby, MBC Collections Manager, spoke to highlight how the new facility enables MBC to do so much more. Modern advances in greenhouse design and plant propagation technology will give the young plants the best care available.

Walter Haynes, MBC Treasurer, spoke about the great legacy Loyd created for Montgomery. Loyd’s tenure as President (1990-1996) following Nell Montgomery’s death laid the foundation for our current successes. Loyd’s talent for leadership and organization renewed the team and set clear vision and direction. Loyd organized the restoration of facilities and collections following Hurricane Andrew, and hired MBC’s first Executive Director and Biologists. After 20 years of service the Board reluctantly accepted his retirement, and elected Loyd as Director Emeritus. Walter spoke:

“Do we miss you Loyd? Well––Yes and no. Yes, we miss you––because every day we miss your wise counsel. No, we do not miss you––because every day as we look around, we see what you made possible to achieve here. We will never forget what you have done here.”

Patrick then recognized the supporters of the Loyd G. Kelly Conservation Nursery – Kelly Foundation, The Batchelor Foundation, National Science Foundation, Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, Helen C. Frick Foundation, and Boy Scout Troop 457 – their generous support made this project possible!

Nick Kelly, MBC President, also thanked everyone for their generosity, support and colleagueship. To demonstrate the importance of the new facility, Nick held up several small seeds, and had the audience compare them to the large palms nearby.

“Everyone can appreciate the beauty of a giant palm, but getting from a seed to a big tree takes a lot of effort and care. And that’s what this facility is all about.”