19th Annual Gala in the Garden to honor President/CEO Julian Duval


The San Diego Botanic Garden’s (SDBG) 19th annual Gala in the Garden will be held Saturday, Sept. 8 from 5 -11 p.m. This year’s theme is “Inspiring the Nature within Us.”

Julian Duval, president/CEO of San Diego Botanic Garden, will be honored with this year’s Paul Ecke, Jr. Award. Duval was selected in recognition of his horticultural contributions through his service in leading the Garden over the past 24 years. Duval will be heading into his well-earned retirement in January 2019.

Julian Duval, president and CEO of the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.
((Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune) )

Duval shared, “It is hard to believe that 24 years have gone by so quickly! Leslie and I are so grateful for the many friendships we have developed during our time here. SDBG has truly become the public garden that is today because of the dedication of our amazing volunteers, members and caring donors. I am very humbled to be chosen as a recipient for this year’s Paul Ecke, Jr. Award, considering the many impressive individuals we have honored thus far.

“I hope you will choose to come to our gala because what makes it so special is that it is outside in this beautiful place. And, of course, we just know how to throw a very fun party with plenty of entertainment, food and libations! Always, with a few surprises too. People often tell me it is the one gala they cannot miss each year!”

The annual Gala in the Garden provides the necessary funding to support this beautiful Encinitas public garden, helping to fulfill its mission of inspiring people of all ages to connect with plants and nature. Not only do guests enjoy a lovely evening in nature but they also raise significant funds to help meet operational needs and provide funding for a chosen project through their fund-a-need project. This year the project chosen aligns directly with Duval’s interest in horticulture and conservation by establishing this new fund to advance both program areas in the years to come. In addition, an Honorary Host Committee is being formed in honor of Duval, chaired by Jim and Judy Farley, Martin and Carol Dickinson, Mo Ecke, Tony and Sue Godfrey, Frances Hamilton White, Ron Moss, and Joyce Wilder.

While exploring various gardens, guests will enjoy fine wine, craft beer, signature cocktails and the best dishes from local restaurants as well as live entertainment (five bands) throughout. In addition, renowned florist and Gala Artistic Director René van Rems will once again lead a team of local floral designers to create lavish floral displays for the evening. It takes more than 10,000 stems to create these magnificent displays. Garden trustee and former Board Chairman Jim Ruecker returns as the Gala Committee chair. Gala in the Garden is SDBG’s largest fundraiser, last year grossing more than $600,000.

For more information about Gala in the Garden, visit SDBGarden.org/gala. For sponsorship opportunities, please call (760) 436-3036, ext. 216. Tickets to the event are $225 per person. Tickets are available online at SDBGarden.org/gala.