40 Under 40, Class of 2019

George Coombs


Mt. Cuba Center

Job Title

Director of Horticulture


  • Helped name and introduce new cultivars of native plants like Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’, Coreopsis integrifolia ‘Last Dance’, Oxalis violacea ‘Love in Vein’ and others.
  • Supervises a staff of more than 25 horticulturists and oversees the Center’s master plan as it constructs new facilities to accommodate its growing visitorship and involvement in conservation research.


He grew up on a potato farm in New Jersey; his favorite food is blueberry pie; and his preferred travel destination is Spain.

Fun Facts

George’s great, great grandfather, Henry Hettinger, invented several machines around the turn of the 20th century including a four-cylinder engine and an airplane only a few years after the Wright Brothers first flight.