Founding member and longtime advocate of the Oregon Garden, Verl Holden retired from his position as a member of the Oregon Garden Foundation Board on Tuesday, February 14.
An OAN Hall of Fame nurseryman, horticultural innovator and owner of Holden Wholesale Growers Inc., Holden first joined the Oregon Garden Foundation Board in 2018. After five years of faithful service, he has chosen to make his position available to a new generation of Oregon Garden advocates.
Holden played an instrumental role in the success of the Oregon Garden dating back to its inception more than 25 years ago. It was Holden who first mowed down the pasture grass on what had previously been an Arabian horse farm, paving the way for the construction of the Oregon Garden. He also used his tractor to dig the larger-than-life outline of the State of Oregon to celebrate the Oregon Garden’s groundbreaking in 1997.
Holden has been a tireless proponent of the Oregon Garden, using his 2022 induction ceremony into Oregon State University’s Agricultural Hall of Fame not to highlight his own achievements, but to share about the beauty and importance of the Oregon Garden. In speaking with him, it’s clear that the Oregon Garden holds a large piece of his heart, so much so that his late wife Florence is honored with a memorial bench there.
In his outgoing remarks during a recognition ceremony at his final board meeting, Holden shared a portion of a poem written by Florence, etched on a granite monument beside her bench: “So I tie on my hat and sally forth with clippers, trowel and hoe, to the work that brings me joy.”
The Oregon Garden Foundation Board and staff are incredibly grateful for the support and generosity Holden has shown the Oregon Garden over the years, and will continue to look to him for guidance and partnership on projects beyond his board service.
Holden’s board seat was filled by Ken McVicker, sales and marketing manager for Woodburn Nursery and Azaleas.