William (Ned) Friedman, Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, announced today that Rodney Eason has been hired as the Director of Horticulture and Landscape for the Arnold Arboretum. Eason is a leader in the public gardens field with over 25 years of experience growing plants and managing garden landscapes. He will start his role at the Arnold Arboretum on December 4, 2023.
Eason is currently the Chief Executive Officer at the Land & Garden Preserve in Mount Desert Island, Maine, where he has worked since 2015 to transition 1,400 acres of land adjacent to Acadia National Park from private ownership to welcoming public spaces. He also led the successful incorporation of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, designed by Beatrix Farrand in the late 1920s, into the portfolio of the Preserve. During his tenure, Eason collaboratively led the organization to a revised vision, mission, strategic plan, and new master site plan.
Eason previously served as Director of Horticulture and Plants Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and as Display Division Leader at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. He received a Master of Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University. His outstanding contributions to horticulture and botanic gardens were recently recognized with the Silver Honorary Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
“Rodney brings experience from some of the finest public gardens and has a talent for envisioning how plants can come together beautifully and harmoniously in a thoughtfully designed landscape,” says Director Friedman. “He is just the person to help the Arnold Arboretum develop and implement its landscape vision for the 21st century.”
Eason is excited to take on the new role. “Being the Director of Horticulture and Landscape at the Arnold Arboretum is a position my career has prepared me for, at a renowned institution that I have always admired,” he says. “I could not be more excited about the opportunity to work with the incredible team at the Arnold Arboretum on this magnificent and historic landscape.”
At the Arnold Arboretum, Eason will work with colleagues in the Horticulture and Plant Production Department and across the institution, developing a long-term vision for the 281-acre landscape that maintains and enhances the design originally developed by Frederick Law Olmsted. He will work closely with Michael Dosmann, Keeper of the Living Collections of the Arnold Arboretum, to ensure that the magnificent museum and scientific collection of 16,000 woody plant accessions continues to thrive, educate, and inspire. “I have known Rodney for over 20 years and his experience and reputation in the industry is second to none,” Dosmann says. “There is no one I would rather work with to plan and implement the vision for the Arnold Arboretum’s landscape and collections.”
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a living museum. A 281-acre preserve in the heart of Boston, the Arboretum stewards one of the world’s most comprehensive and best documented collections of temperate woody plants, with particular focus on the floras of eastern North America and eastern Asia. The living collections, herbarium, and library and archives support research both in our own laboratories at Weld Hill and by scholars around the world. Free and open every day, this jewel in the Emerald Necklace park system was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and engages the public through educational opportunities and programs for all ages.