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Red Butte Garden names Jimmy L. Turner as new executive director

Experienced horticulturalist to join the U from the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia

Jimmy L. Turner has accepted the offer to serve as executive director of Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah, effective March 23, 2020. Turner replaces Gregory Lee who will retire from the Garden after 17 years of leadership.

“Jimmy joins the Red Butte Garden team with 30 years of experience as a leader in horticulture. He is an innovator, a skilled administrator and communicator, and the ideal person to build on the tremendous legacy of this Garden’s past leaders,” said Laura Snow, University of Utah Chief of Staff.

Turner is currently the director of horticulture management at the Royal Botanic Garden & Domain Trust in Sydney, Australia, the country’s oldest botanic garden and scientific institution, as well as Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, and Centennial Parklands. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in plant and soil sciences at East Texas State University, and completed a Master of Science at The Pennsylvania State University.

“Red Butte Garden is a space beloved by people from Utah and throughout the Intermountain West. It fills many purposes ranging from display and demonstration gardens, to botanical research, to a shared space for community gatherings and a world-class concert series,” said Tory Magleby, chair of the Red Butte Garden advisory board. “We are thrilled that Jimmy will be bringing his experience and leadership to take the Garden to new heights in the coming years.”

Turner is credited with creative horticultural displays that have increased visitor engagement, including a carnivorous plant exhibit that has driven record visitation to the Royal Botanic Garden. Previously, he served as senior director of gardens at the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden in Dallas, Texas for over a decade, where he created one of the largest and most successful plant trials in North America. He is one of the biggest horticultural social media influencers in the world and shares his enthusiastic dedication to plants with more than 230,000 Twitter followers around the globe.

“Since I was a small child, plants have been my passion. It has been my life’s work to share my knowledge and love of horticulture with others,” said Turner. “Red Butte Garden is well respected and I look forward to joining this wonderful team and vibrant community.”