Hilton Garden Inn™ Supports National Garden Month™ 2005 with Plans to Grow School Gardens Across the Country


Rose Getch
National Gardening Association
(800) 538-7476, ext. 129
e-mail: rose@garden.org

Agnes Sibal/Jeanne Datz Rice
Hilton Garden Inn Brand Communications
(310) 205-4545

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, (March 29, 2005) - Hilton Garden Inn™, the official hospitality sponsor of the National Gardening Association (NGA), is proud to support National Garden Month, a program of NGA that is celebrated each April. The call to action for this year's National Garden Month campaign - "Give a Garden™ - Add Beauty to Life" - encourages everyone to grow gardens, give plants to others, and help beautify our communities. Fun educational activities, public events, and garden center seminars all help build a steady stream of awareness and participation from coast to coast.

"Through Hilton Garden Inn™ hotels' 'Grow A School Garden' project, participating Hilton Garden Inn hotels donate a garden education package to a school in their community. In addition, a dedicated team of staff provides support and hands-on work to grow the gardens with the students and teachers," said Mark Nogal, Vice President - Marketing, Hilton Garden Inn. "The project gives students the experience of planting seeds and seeing flowers, herbs, and vegetables grow. It shows them first-hand how gardening can be a growing experience that links to classroom subjects like literacy, math, science and nutrition."

"National Garden Month is NGA's vehicle for raising public awareness by bringing together businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies that embrace plant-based education as a tool to enhance every aspect of our lives," says Mike Metallo, President of NGA. "The National Gardening Association is pleased to have the Hilton Garden Inn 'Grow A School Garden' program as part of the National Garden Month 2005 nationwide celebration."

Dr. Cynthia Klemmer, Director of Education at NGA, enthusiastically notes that, "Staff from Hilton Garden Inn hotels across the country will soon be planting gardens with children at schools in their communities. This creates a wonderful school-to-community tie that benefits students directly by creating a living outdoor classroom, and also enhances the school grounds."

Snapshot of a Garden Project
At Monte Vista Early Education Center in Los Angeles, the Hilton Garden Inn brand team and the brand's official Chief Gardening Officer, Charlie Nardozzi, joined the students in planting three new gardens in their school playground. In the spirit of the presidential election, the 120 students aged 2 to 6 years were asked to hold their own vegetable election and vote for their favorite vegetable candidate. The clear winner was lettuce with 56 votes, followed by the tomato (44 votes) and pepper (16 votes). And as it sometimes happens in elections, four students were unsure because they liked all three vegetables equally and couldn't decide! To commemorate the winning vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, and chili peppers were planted in the gardens along with a colorful array of mums and snapdragons. The Los Angeles planting party was a tremendous success thanks to the companies that contributed to the project: A.E. Schmidt trucked in the more than seven yards of soil and planter mix to the playground; the Ball Corporation shipped 100 orange and yellow mums; and the Scotts Company donated a pallet of potting soil. When people and companies come together, wonderful things can grow!

With more than 100+ hotel locations participating in the program, Hilton Garden Inn™ hotels and local schools are planting and growing gardens in all climates - from Portland, Maine to Tampa, Florida, and from Denver, Colorado to Garden Grove, California.

Hilton Garden Inn™ is award-winning mid-priced brand that is part of Hilton Hotels Corporation, recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company. Its portfolio includes many of the world's best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton™, Conrad™, Doubletree™, Embassy Suites Hotels™, Hampton Inn™, Hampton Inn & Suites™, Hilton Garden Inn™, Hilton Grand Vacations Club™ and Homewood Suites by Hilton™. To find out more about the "Grow A School Garden" project and Hilton Garden Inn hotels in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico or to make reservations, please visit our Web site at www.hiltongardeninn.com or call 1-877-STAY-HGI in the U.S. and Canada.

The NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION (NGA), founded in 1973, is a national nonprofit leader in plant-based education. Our mission is to promote gardening as a means to renew and sustain the essential connection among people, plants, and the environment. To fulfill this mission, we offer publications and programs focused on five core areas: education, health and wellness, environmental stewardship, community development, and home gardening. For more information, visit www.garden.org.

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