AHS News & Blog

American Horticultural Society Unveils the 2019 Great American Gardeners

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) today announced the distinguished recipients of the 2019 Great American Gardeners Awards. Individuals, organizations, and companies that receive these awards represent the best in American gardening and horticulture. Each has contributed significantly to fields such as plant research, garden communication, landscape design, youth gardening, community greening, and teaching.

Among this year’s winners is Dr. Kayri Havens, who is receiving the AHS’s highest honor—the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award—for her achievements in plant conservation. The AHS applauds all of this year’s recipients for their passionate commitment to American gardening and their outstanding achievements within their area of expertise.

This year’s Great American Gardeners Award recipients are:

* LIBERTY HYDE BAILEY AWARD – The American Horticultural Society’s highest award, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award is given to an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to at least three of the following horticultural fields: teaching, research, communications, plant exploration, administration, art, business, and leadership. 
Dr. Kayri Havens, Director of Plant Science and Conservation, and Senior Scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden.

JANE L. TAYLOR AWARD – Given to an individual, organization, or program that has inspired and nurtured future horticulturists through efforts in children’s and youth gardening. 
Sally McCabe, Associate Director of Community Education, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

* COMMUNITY GREENING AWARD – Given for exemplary contributions by an individual, institution, or company that demonstrate the application and value of horticulture to creating livable communities that are greener, healthier, and more equitable.
The Horticultural Society of New York.

* EMERGING HORTICULTURAL PROFESSIONAL AWARD – Given in the early stages of an individual’s career, this award recognizes significant achievements and/or leadership that have advanced the field of horticulture in America.
Rizaniño Reyes, Owner, RHR Horticulture and Landwave Gardens, Seattle, Washington.

* LANDSCAPE DESIGN AWARD – Given to an individual whose work has demonstrated and promoted the value of sound horticultural practices in the field of landscape architecture.
Suzanne Edney, Founder, Custom Landscapes, and Harriet Bellerjeau, Landscape Architect (posthumously awarded). For volunteer work at JC Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, North Carolina.

B.Y. MORRISON COMMUNICATION AWARD – Recognizes effective and inspirational communication—through print, radio, television, and/or online media—that advances public interest and participation in horticulture. 
Dr. Gary Bachman, Extension/Research Professor of Horticulture, Mississippi State University.

* PROFESSIONAL AWARD – Given to a public garden administrator whose achievements throughout his or her career have cultivated widespread interest in horticulture.
Dr. John Wott, Director Emeritus, Washington Park Arboretum and Professor Emeritus, Urban Horticulture, University of Washington. 

* TEACHING AWARD – Given to an individual whose ability to share his or her horticultural knowledge with others has contributed to a better public understanding of the plant world and its important influence on society.
Dr. Charlie Hall, Professor and Ellison Chair, Texas A&M University.

* PAUL ECKE JR. COMMERCIAL AWARD – Given to an individual or company whose commitment to the highest standards of excellence in the field of commercial horticulture contributes to the betterment of gardening practices everywhere. 
Ira Wallace, Co-Owner, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Mineral, Virginia.

* MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD – Recognizes a past Board member or friend of the American Horticultural Society for outstanding service in support of the Society’s goals, mission, and activities.
Marthe Haubert, Volunteer, American Horticultural Society (posthumously awarded).

On Friday, June 21, 2019, the AHS will honor these award recipients during the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet, held at the Society’s headquarters in Virginia.

For more information on this year’s recipients, please visit our 2019 Award Winners. Photographs of the award winners and additional information about the awards program are available upon request by contacting Erika Christ at (703) 768-5700 ext. 138 or echrist@ahsgardening.org.

About the American Horticultural Society

The American Horticultural Society, founded in 1922, is an educational, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that recognizes and promotes excellence in American horticulture. One of the oldest and most prestigious gardening organizations, AHS is dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens. Its mission is to open the eyes of all Americans to the vital connection between people and plants, to inspire all Americans to become responsible caretakers of the Earth, to celebrate America’s diversity through the art and science of horticulture, and to lead this effort by sharing the Society’s unique national resources with all Americans.