SLO Botanical Garden names new director

The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden has a new executive director.

Mike Bush, who was introduced to the community at a series of events Wednesday, will oversee the garden at El Chorro Regional Park.

The garden is governed by a 10-member board of directors and supported by a small paid staff and volunteers.

Most recently, Bush, who earned a botany degree from the University of South Florida, worked at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

There, he was responsible for overseeing the construction and operations of a $400 million horticulture conservatory, which will open in phases beginning in November.

He also has held executive positions at Santa Barbara’s Ganna Walksa Lotusland, the Bermuda Department of Agriculture-Botanical Gardens, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, N.C., and Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City.

“We are still amazed at the good fortune that found us conducting an executive director search at the very time Mike was exploring options for returning to California, said Ping Tsao, president of the local garden’s board, in a prepared statement.

Tsao noted that Bush was “impressed with our people, our plans and the progress we’ve made.”

Bush said that he and his wife are “ecstatic” to return to the Central Coast and to work in an area with such a “unique combination of mountains, ocean and Mediterranean climate.”

“The job, the people and the place were a match,” he said.

Bush’s appointment comes as the garden also announced Wednesday that it was awarded a $319,000 grant to develop a hardscape in a partnership with the county.

The garden, which started in 1989, is home to a variety of plants and is designed to educate the community and connect local people to nature and conservation.

It operates a demonstration garden, education center, greenhouse and Children’s Garden, and plans to expand to fill its 150-acre site.