Sarah Carter Roberts was recently honored for her work at the Atlanta History Center with the National DAR Conservation Award.

The Lilburn resident received the award from the Philadelphia Winn Chapter DAR. Roberts was nominated for the many diverse projects implemented or enhanced during her tenure at the Atlanta History Center.

Roberts is the Olga C. de Goizueta Vice President of Goizueta Gardens and Living Collections. Goizueta Gardens preserves native and historic landscapes, and uses the landscape to tell the stories of the region’s unique horticultural and agricultural history.

Goizueta Gardens is a 33-acre public garden that includes period gardens around historic Smith Farm and Swan House, and gardens dedicated to Georgia’s native plants, and those that highlight ornamental plants from other regions that are characteristic of the southern landscape. It is located at the Atlanta History Center at 130 W. Paces Ferry Rd. in Atlanta.

Olguita’s Garden (2018), was the first new garden in decades. Roberts said she was inspired by her design training in England to offer a place of beauty for quiet reflection with year-round blooms and fragrant plants — a memorial to Goizueta Gardens namesake Olga “Olguita” C. de Goizueta.

Support from the Goizueta Foundation, local garden clubs and other donors helped transform Goizueta Gardens.

“Her talented and hard-working team developed many integrative projects such as a composting program, shifting to natural and organic pest and disease control, increasing pollinator habitat, supporting and protecting wildlife in the gardens, among others,” DAR officials said of Roberts.

The new Entrance Gardens were also Roberts’ conception, for the plantings wrapping the road frontage of the newly relocated Cyclorama, Atlanta History Museum, and Kenan Research Center. In the New Perennial Movement style, seen in New York City’s High Line and Chicago’s Lurie Garden, she incorporated a palette of 80% native Georgia plants and pollinator plants utilizing this naturalistic style of design.

Before the Entrance Gardens could be planted, the compacted urban soil was remediated by growing and tilling cover crops into the poor soil. This old farming technique restored life to the soil, making future plant growth possible.

Roberts’ interest in gardening and improving the environment began when she was a child, gardening alongside parents and grandparents. She has spent most of her life in Gwinnett County and is a graduate of Parkview High School. With a horticulture degree from Berry College, her gardening experiences prior to returning home to Georgia included time abroad at the University of Reading, UK Garden Design School, and Dorney Court Blooms of Bressingham, and five years as Curator of Herbaceous Plants and Outdoor Gardens at the New York Botanical Garden.

Those experiences with public gardens came into play as Roberts and her team elevated the established landscaping of the AHC into a public garden that has become a destination in its own right.

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