AHS History

 

Founded in 1922, the non-profit American Horticultural Society (AHS) is one of the most longstanding, respected national gardening organizations in North America.

AHS is proudly celebrating its Centennial year in 2022!

Scroll down to learn more about the some of the key people, projects, and events that have contributed to the AHS legacy.

View a more comprehensive timeline of American Horticultural Society history here.

American Horticultural Society History

1922

American Horticultural Society founded

American Horticultural Society founded

American Horticultural Society (AHS) and National Horticultural Society (NHS) founded in Washington, D.C., and Henning, Minnesota, respectively. The first edition..Read More

1946

American Horticultural Congress

American Horticultural Congress

The first American Horticultural Congress—a precursor to AHS’s annual conference—was held in Cleveland, Ohio. This meeting also launched “United Horticulture”..Read More

1953

Honoring Excellence

Creation of the AHS’s National Award Program, which is now called the Great American Gardeners Awards. Four awards were given..Read More

1960

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map developed

The AHS and the AHC cooperate in developing the first published version of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

1973

AHS purchases River Farm

AHS purchases River Farm

AHS purchases River Farm as its headquarters through the generosity of philanthropist Enid A. Haupt. The official opening ceremonies are..Read More

1993

First Children’s Gardening Symposium

First Children’s Gardening Symposium

AHS hosts the first Children’s Gardening Symposium (later renamed the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium), held in Chevy Chase,..Read More

1996

The American Gardener

The American Gardener

The American Gardner is the official publication of the American Horticultural Society and is published six times per year. Members..Read More

1997

Heat Zone Map developed

Heat Zone Map developed

Introduction of the AHS Plant Heat Zone Map, developed by AHS President Dr. H. Marc Cathey.

2004

White House gates installed

White House gates installed

Discovery of a set of former White House gates at River Farm by Board member and architectural historian William Seale...Read More

How We Got Started 

AS THE American Horticultural Society enters its 100th year, it’s instructive to place the organization’s founding in some historical context. In 1922, insulin was first successfully used to treat diabetes; Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy; the Egyptian tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun was opened by British archaeologists; James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses was published; and U.S. President Warren G. Harding made the first ever presidential speech broadcast on radio.

It was in this period between the two great wars and prior to the Great Depression that two separate groups of idealistic gardeners— both professionals and amateurs—came together to form an organization dedicated to improving horticulture in America both as a science and an art form. The originating organizations were the American Horticultural Society (AHS) and the National Horticultural Society (NHS), which were founded the same year in Washington, D.C., and Henning, Minnesota, respectively. Continue reading for more of the AHS story.

Celebrate with us!

Want to help us celebrate the Centennial?  Plan to attend one of our upcoming Centennial events.