Janet Meakin Poor

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Janet Meakin Poor
Janet Meakin Poor circa 2009
Born November 27, 1929
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Nationality American
Occupation Landscape design specialist
Known for plant conservation

Janet Meakin Poor (born November 27, 1929 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a landscape design specialist based out of Winnetka, Illinois. She is the great great niece of the famous American impressionist painter Lewis Henry Meakin.


She has been vice president of the Garden Club of America, vice chairman on the board of trustees of the Center For Plant Conservation,[1] chair of Open Days; 1989–2000, a showcase of hundreds of American gardens by the national organization The Garden Conservancy, advisor to the historic country estate at the Filoli Center near San Francisco, on the awards committee at the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate in Delaware, a board member with the American Horticultural Society, and a member of the advisory council of the United States National Arboretum, an appointment by the United States Secretary of Agriculture. She is also an advisor on the McKee Botanical Garden.

She is a driving force behind saving and conserving our planet’s botanical heritage. At 40, she decided to pursue her passion for plants in earnest. She cobbled together a landscape architecture degree from three different schools, traveling as far away as the University of Wisconsin–Madison to study.

The mother of two then launched a career that led her to the forefront of plant conservation and landscape design locally, nationally and internationally, including serving as board chair of the Chicago Botanic Garden,[2] where she has headed an ambitious program to collect seeds from the world’s endangered plants. The Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) has taken a leading conservation role nationally and internationally under Poor’s leadership. She encouraged CBG into its participation in the international Millennium Seed Bank Project. By 2010, seeds from thousands of the world’s rare and threatened plants will be stored, some of them in Glencoe.

Currently, she is playing a major role in the development of the new Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center at CBG, which provides laboratories and teaching facilities for more than 200 PhD scientists, land managers, students and interns. It opened in September 2009.

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Edward King Poor III, a partner in a recruiting firm and a keen golfer who served in the U.S. Army in World War II. He died in 2002. She has two sons; E.King Poor a partner in a Chicago law firm and Thomas Meakin Poor owner of the Bin 66 Fine Wine and Spirits Stores.[3]


She was the editor of two books:

Janet Meakin Poor Symposium[edit]

The Janet Meakin Poor Symposium at the Chicago Botanical Garden was created to highlight the increasing need for a cooperative international plant conservation effort to better understand the impact of climate change on plants. Some of the best plant conservation research, practice, and outreach from around the globe will be highlighted. Internationally recognized experts will discuss global strategies for plant conservation through science and education. The Symposium is partially endowed by the friends of Janet Meakin Poor.


Poor's many awards include:[2]

  • Catherine H Sweeney Award from the American Horticultural Society[6]
  • Hutchinson Award from the Chicago Horticultural Society
  • Creative Leadership Award and Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America
  • American Horticultural Society Book Award (for Plants That Merit Attention: Shrubs)[7]
  • Chicago Botanic Garden Horticulture Society Medal


  1. ^ "Plant Conservation" 20 (1). Center for Plant Conservation. Summer 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b Poor, Janet Meakin (1984). Plants That Merit Attention, Volume I: Trees. Portland, Oregon, USA: Timber Press. ISBN 0-917304-75-6. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  3. ^ "Rhododendron & Azalea News – People & Events". American Rhododendron Society. 1998–2010. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  4. ^ "Plants That Merit Attention – Trees". Open Library. 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  5. ^ "Plants That Merit Attention – Shrubs". Open Library. 2009-12-15. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  6. ^ "AHS – National Awards – Past Winners". American Horticultural Society. 1998–2010. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  7. ^ "Book awards: American Horticultural Society Book Award". LibraryThing. 2008. Retrieved 2010-03-13.