In Memory of Diane Wyse Jackson

Diane Wyse Jackson passed away on December 10, 2023. She was the daughter of the late Robert Allen Nolan and Claudia Nolan (Ireland). Diane is survived by her husband of 38 years, Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, her sons Robert (Emily) of London, England and Thomas of Philadelphia and daughter Alice (Duncan) of Seattle and four grandchildren, Joyce, Caitlin, Fionn and Leah, her sisters Robin Bryan and Julie Deignan, both of Dublin, Ireland, and nieces and nephews. 

Diane was a native of Dublin, Ireland and moved to St. Louis in 2010 when her husband, Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, became president of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

After Diane completed a B.A. degree in economics and geography from Trinity College Dublin, she entered the developing world of computer technology and later obtained a Master’s degree, also from Trinity, in Systems Analysis. She subsequently served as IT Manager for the American Embassy in Dublin, followed by Head of Computer Systems and Databases at Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) in London for 18 years. At BGCI, she created two pioneering international online databases, GardenSearch, on the botanic gardens of the world, and PlantSearch, on the extensive plant collections of botanic gardens worldwide. She was the lead author of Botanic Garden Recorder, the ground-breaking open source software package that botanical gardens used to record their collections. With Peter, she traveled the world for their work in conservation, and she presented on plant informatics at a range of international conferences. When Peter returned to Dublin in 2005 to become director of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Diane was appointed company secretary of the Irish Museums Trust. 

Diane was the author of several books on plant conservation data and wrote scholarly articles, including A Checklist of the Families and Genera of Vascular Plants in Cultivation in Botanic Gardens, published by BGCI, as well as, in recent years, a series of articles for the Garden Club of America. She served as co-chair of the conservation section of the Saint Louis Garden Club (Garden Club of America). 

Over the years, Diane was an avid reader, subaqua diver, hiker, cyclist, swimmer, horse rider, tennis player, and an active volunteer for Washington University’s Butterfly Garden. She loved adventuring and traveling, but particularly enjoyed fixing-up and winding-down at her and Peter’s family homes in Ireland in Counties Kerry and Wicklow.  

She was beloved by many—her hundreds of friends throughout the world, as well as Missouri Botanical Garden members, staff and visitors. She always preferred to shine the light on others, but the Missouri Botanical Garden surprised her by naming a rare tree species from Madagascar after her, Melanophylla dianeae

Her greatest love was her family—her husband, Peter, her children, and their families, along with many beloved pets. When her house was full, so was her heart. 

A celebration of Diane Wyse Jackson’s life will be held in the spring of 2024. Contributions preferred to the Missouri Botanical Garden at 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110 or online