Mt. Cuba Center welcomes George Coombs as Director of Horticulture for the 1,083-acre botanical garden. After a wide-ranging search, Coombs was promoted to the role on December 10.
Coombs came to Mt. Cuba center in 2012 as the Trial Garden Assistant after years in the nursery industry, bringing with him a rich experience in connecting consumers to high quality plants. In his work with Mt. Cuba Center’s Trial Garden as Assistant and later as Manager of Horticultural Research, he produced award-winning reports on native plant research and introduced four new Coreopsis cultivars – including Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’—all while cultivating relationships within the nursery industry.
“George has overseen every aspect of our horticultural research program and has done a phenomenal job making Mt. Cuba’s horticultural research program a valuable resource for the nursery industry and for gardeners,” said Jeff Downing, Mt. Cuba Center’s Executive Director. “As Director of Horticulture, George will be able to apply his thoughtful creativity to enhancing our gardens and landscapes to inspire guests and motivate pro-environmental behaviors. He’s a rising star and we’re excited to see him take on this new role.”
Coombs, who grew up on a family farm, developed an appreciation for plants and research early and studied Plant Science at the University of Delaware, graduating in 2007 with a focus in landscape horticulture. Internships at Longwood Gardens and the Chicago Botanic Garden introduced him to the field of public horticulture.
“Mt. Cuba Center has a reputation for horticultural excellence and awe-inspiring beauty,” said Coombs. “I am looking forward to building on that legacy and sharing this beautiful place with more people as we implement the new master plan.”
As Director of Horticulture, Coombs will lead a team of more than 25 horticulturists who cultivate and improve formal and naturalistic gardens and will play a pivotal role in the implementation of Mt. Cuba Center’s long-range master plan.