Bobby J. Ward lives in Raleigh, North Carolina . He is a native North Carolinian and received an undergraduate degree in biology from East Carolina University and masters and doctorate degrees in botany and plant physiology from North Carolina State University. He worked for 25 years as an environmental scientist with Carolina Power & Light Company and is now retired.
He is co-editor of "A Garden of One's Own," a collection of the garden writings of North Carolina writer Elizabeth Lawrence who lived in Raleigh and Charlotte (UNC Press, 1997).
Bobby is the author of "A Contemplation Upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature" (Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 1999 and paperback 2005 ). The book is a literary survey of how plants and flowers have been referred to or mentioned by writers from ancient Greece and Rome to the early 20th century. The book also traces the origins and meanings of plant names from Latin or Old English and other languages as well as the "language of flowers." It earned the Quill & Trowel Award from the Garden Writers Association of America.
He is also the author of "The Plant Hunter's Garden: the New Explorers and Their Discoveries" (Timber Press 2004). The book profiles 32 of today's prolific plant hunters, all of whom are nurserymen/women in the private sector. It provides an overview of these nursery owners and some of the plants they have collected or introduced in the post-Cold War era of plant hunting. Included are such nursery people as Jim and Jenny Archibald, John Watson, Chris Chadwell, Josef Halda, Dan Hinkley, Tony Avent, Sean Hogan, Don Jacobs, Barry Yinger, Darrell Probst, Robert McCartney, etc. They are from the U.S., Canada, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Chile.
Bobby's latest book is "Chlorophyll In His Veins: J. C. Rauston, Horticultural Ambassador" (BJW Books, 2009), a biography of the founder of the arboretum at N. C. State University and its director for 21 years.
He has also written the foreword to "Alpine Plants of North America" by Graham Nicholls (Timber Press 2002) and was consultant for "The Gardener's Atlas" by John Grimshaw (Firefly 1998).
He has written for "Horticulture" and "Carolina Gardener" magazines, as well as for the Scottish Rock Garden Club, the Rock Garden Quarterly of the North American Rock Garden Society, and the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer. Bobby was made a contributing editor at "Horticulture in 2009.
Bobby gives lectures on all his books. He has given past talks at such venues as Smith College (Northampton, Mass.), Mount Holyoke College (Hadley, Mass.), the Philadelphia Flower Show, San Francisco and Seattle flower shows, Charleston (S.C.) Horticultural Festival, numerous chapters of the North American Rock Garden Society, the Alpine Garden Society in British Columbia and in the United Kingdom, JC Raulston Arboretum, North Carolina Arboretum (Asheville, N.C.), Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens (Columbia, S.C.), Duke University's Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the Eden Project (Cornwell, U.K.), California Horticultural Society, and the U.S. Botanic Garden.
He is past president of the North American Rock Garden Society and is currently its Executive Secretary. Ward earned the Award of Merit in 2004 from the North American Rock Garden Society for contributions to the society, both at the national level and the local Piedmont Chapter in North Carolina.