About Don Hyatt and his Nursery
Donald W. HyattDonald W. Hyatt, or Don as most of his friends know him, earned his Masters degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech and spent most of his 33-year professional career in Fairfax County Public Schools as a Computer Science teacher. Don was the Computer Systems Laboratory Director at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology from the time the school opened in 1985 until his retirement. While at Jefferson, he developed many advanced courses never taught at the high school level and the students he coached won numerous national and international awards in computer science contests. One of the highlights of his career was when a team of his students won the largest prize ever awarded in an educational contest, a million dollar ETA10-P supercomputer in the 1988 SuperQuest competition. His students also received over $300,000 in scholarships and prizes in a web education contest called the International ThinkQuest Internet Challenge. Don's expertise as an innovative teacher was widely recognized; he was a finalist for Teacher of the Year in Fairfax County in 1989 and received many personal awards and honors as a technology educator.
Having started his first garden at the family home in Northern Virginia when he was only three, Don claims to be a "plant person" at heart rather than a computer scientist. The spectacular private garden he developed over 60 years (pictured to the right) has been on many garden tours. Don's Bachelors degree was in Horticulture with a double major in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech and he has always been active in the plant world despite his career as a computer science teacher.
Don Hyatt is pictured to the left standing next to 'Caroline', one of the larger rhododendrons in his garden. Don is recognized as a national authority on azaleas and rhododendrons and has served on the national boards of both the Azalea Society of America (ASA) and the American Rhododendron Society (ARS). He currently serves as the ARS District 9 Director for the Middle Atlantic Region. He is a popular speaker and has entertained many clubs and plant societies on both coasts. He has delivered keynote addresses at national meetings of the ARS and ASA, and has spoken at several international horticultural conferences in the UK and Germany.
Don received the Bronze Medal from the Potomac Valley Chapter of the ARS in 1978 and a second Bronze Medal from the Middle Atlantic Chapter in 2003. At the 2002 convention of the American Rhododendron Society in Atlanta, GA, he was honored with the Silver Medal citing his life-long passion for the genus Rhododendron and his many contributions to the ARS and its goals. In May of 2012 in Asheville, NC, the American Rhododendron Society presented Don with their presitgious Gold Medal. Here is a link to his Gold Medal citation.
In the Azalea Society of America, Don has recieved a number of awards, too. In 2009, he received the ASA's Distinguished Service Award. In 2001, the Brookside Gardens Chapter of the ASA awarded Don the Fredrick P. Lee Commendation for distinguished contributions in furthering the knowledge and appreciation of azaleas.
Don has written many articles for the Journal of the American Rhododendron Society as well as "The Azalean" which is the ASA's journal. In 2009, he was awarded "Best Article" in the Azalean for his piece, "Quest for the Evergreen Azalea" , in 2010 for "Snowmageddon 2.0", and again in 2011 for "Evergreen Azaleas: Sorting Out the Confusion". He has written for the Journal of the North American Rock Garden Society as well as State-by-State Gardening Magazines.
Don's artistic talents were encouraged by both his mother and grandfather who were commercial artists. For nearly 40 years, he has been painting botanical illustrations in watercolor and some of his favorite paintings as well as limited edition prints he offers for sale can be seen from his online Art Gallery. Don combines his artistic talent with horticulture knowledge in other ways too, specifically landscape designs featuring rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants for the shady garden.
Stonehouse Creek NurseryIn 1978, Don Hyatt obtained a commercial nursery license for Stonehouse Creek Nursery which he still maintains. However, many nursery activities have been restricted because of zoning restrictions at his private residence, as well as his commitment to the students he taught for so many years. The base for his nursery business is a 78-acre farm that he purchased in 1971 which fronts on Stonehouse Creek in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Amherst County, Virginia.
As part of his nursery business, Don propagates a small number of rare rhododendron, azaleas, and wildflowers. He is currently focusing on the preservation of hard-to-find native azalea species and natural azalea hybrids in the wild. Stonehouse Creek Nursery is not open to the public nor does it ship plants at the present time but Don does provide a contact point below for landscape design and limited local sales of plants. He has also sells azaleas and rhododendrons at local events in the Washington D.C. area.
Speaking EngagementsDon has been a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, as well as many local garden clubs. The following link shows the current list of talks he is giving: