Nancy Kartes discovered the joys of public gardens through student internships while earning a bachelor’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. After graduation, Nancy joined the development staff of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii, where she was later promoted to assistant director.
Returning to the Mainland, she was hired by the City of Bellevue’s Parks & Community Services Department in Washington State to transform the dreams of local community organizers into a flourishing botanical garden. Under her leadership, the Bellevue Botanical Garden has grown from a 36-acre property to 53-acres with curated living collections managed in partnership with nine horticultural organizations. In addition to collections — enjoyed by over 200,000 visitors annually — the Garden has a thriving garden shop and espresso bar and hosts community building events year-round. Nancy manages the partnership with the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, a nonprofit that provides educational programming, hosts events and raises funds on behalf of the Garden.
Nancy offers insight into the needs of small public gardens and experience in community building, public/private governance and identifying and leveraging diverse resources. She has a special interest in encouraging young people and emerging professionals toward careers in public garden administration and leadership.