News & Press

Introducing Conversations with Great American Gardeners

The American Horticultural Society introduces conversations with Great American gardeners

The American Horticultural Society is pleased to announce a new national speaker series featuring current and past Great American Gardeners Award Winners and Book Award Winners. Since 1953, the AHS has been using these award programs to recognize and celebrate horticultural champions that represent the best in American gardening. The launch of this new dedicated webinar series will provide an additional spotlight on these outstanding individuals.

The 2021-2022 speakers include Karen Washington (2018 Urban Beautification Award), Michael J. Balick, Ph.D. (2020 H. Marc Cathey Award honoring excellence in scientific research), and Shane Smith (2012 Professional Award honoring excellence in public garden administration). The series will launch with the first conversation on Friday, October 8. Each live program will be hosted by Holly Shimizu, former executive director of the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. and an AHS board member, who will lead a lively and engaging conversation with speakers that will tap into their knowledge and experience. The interactive program format will allow audience members to ask questions of the guests.

2021-2022 Speakers

Friday, October 8 at 4:00 pm (eastern) Karen Washington

Washington has been a community gardener and activist in New York City since 1985. As a New York Botanical Garden trustee, she currently works with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into gardens. In her earlier role as an advocate and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, she championed garden protection and preservation. She’s also active with the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, helping to launch a City Farms Market to bring fresh vegetables to the community. She serves as a board member of organizations such as Why Hunger and Just Food, often leading workshops on food justice and growing food. Washington is also a co-owner and farmer at Rise & Root Farm. In 2012, Ebony magazine voted her one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the country. In 2014, she was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award.

Thursday, January 27,  2022, at 7:00 pm (eastern) Michael J. Balick, Ph.D. 

A world-renowned ethnobotanist and book author with the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), Balick works with indigenous cultures to document plant diversity, preserve knowledge about traditional uses for plants, and helps these communities sustainably manage their resources. In the course of this work, he evaluates the potential of these botanical resources for broader medical or pharmaceutical applications. His most recent project focuses on the tropical Pacific Islands in Micronesia and Melanesia, where he is documenting the diversity, local use, and management of plant resources in support of a region-wide conservation plan. Balick is currently vice president for botanical science at NYBG, where he has worked since 1980.

Thursday, April 21, 2022, at 7:00 pm (eastern) Shane Smith
Shane Smith was the founding director of the award-winning Cheyenne Botanic Gardens from its inception in 1977 until 2018. Currently, he serves Wyoming’s only public garden as the director emeritus. In addition to his AHS award, Smith has received the Wyoming Governor’s Community Hero award; the 2011 Award of Merit from the American Public Garden Association; and the 2012 National Garden Clubs Award of Excellence for his contributions to gardening and horticulture. He continues to mentor other public gardens and tend his state-of-the-art greenhouse in western Colorado.

Registration is now open for the October 8th conversation. The cost is $10 for AHS members and $20 for non-members. Visit the Conversation with Great American Gardeners homepage to learn more.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to support the speaker series. For more information email


News & Press

Coming Soon – AHS Member Survey

The American Horticultural Society will be celebrating its Centennial in 2022.  As we look forward to this milestone and into the future, we want to get your thoughts on ways we can improve our educational programs and member benefits to better achieve our national mission.  


We are requesting member feedback on a short survey that will help us better understand which of our current programs are most effective, what other kinds of programming might be useful to you, and, most importantly, how these educational programs can be effectively delivered to the broadest spectrum of our membership. The results of this survey will help inform our plans for developing garden programs, enhancing our national outreach, and securing new member benefits in 2022 and beyond.

Later in August surveys will be en route to mailboxes across the United States. If you prefer to complete the survey online, members will receive a direct link emailed to them the week of August 23rd.



News & Press

AHS Partners with Heygo to bring live garden tours direct to you!

This August, Heygo is going full bloom with interactive live-streaming tours of the world’s best gardens. Even better, they’re guided by the expert gardeners who grew them and will field your questions as you go. From Gaudi’s green oasis in Barcelona, to a hidden bamboo temple in Kamakura, Japan – Heygo is bringing the wonders of the natural world straight to your screen with the Botanical Gardens Festival. All August on

Join AHS RAP Gardens Toronto Botanical Garden and Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, CA for tours of their stunning grounds.

At Toronto Botanical Garden, Dianne—a pharmacist by training and a volunteer with the Toronto Master Gardeners—will walk you through their fascinating history starting with the ice age, through to the early settlers of Toronto and now with the creation of award-winning gardens. Tour will be held August 12 at 10:00 AM EST and August 13 at 8:00 AM EST.

Over at Gamble Garden, take in their magnificent collection of heritage apple trees and have all your burning apple questions answered by their in house experts. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a sneak peek into Elizabeth Gamble’s historic home all decked out in apple-themed decor. Tour will be on August 14, at 8:30 AM PST.

More tours from gardens participating in the AHS Reciprocal Admissions Program are coming soon, stay tuned as tours at these gardens and more get scheduled:

Goodwood Museum and Gardens, FL
Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve, SC
Snug Harbor, NY
Trinity Eco Prayer Park, SD

Dig into the Garden Festival!

News & Press

2021 Growing Good Kids Book Award Winners

The Junior Master Gardener Program and the American Horticultural Society honor engaging, inspiring works of plant, garden and ecology-themed children’s literature through the “Growing Good Kids – Excellence in Children’s Literature Awards” Program. Each year, book winners are announced at the AHS’s annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium  (NCYGS).
Join us in congratulating the 2021 Growing Good Kids Book Award Winners!
  • One Little Lot: The 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden

    By Diane C. Mullen
    Illustrated by Oriol Vidal
    Published by Charlesbridge
  • Mae the Mayfly

    By Denise Brennan-Nelson
    illustrated by Florence Weiser
    Published by Sleeping Bear Press
  • Butterflies Belong Here 

    By Deborah Hopkinson
    illustrated by Meilo So
    Published by Chronicle Books
Learn more about each of the winners at

News & Press

AHS Announces New Sponsorship With Cultivating Place Podcast

The AHS is proud to sponsor the popular Cultivating Place podcast with host Jennifer Jewell from July through September. Each episode of the podcast will feature thoughtful conversations with growers, gardeners, naturalists, scientists, artists and thinkers.

Tune in via Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher or online at A new episode launches every Thursday! 🌿🌿🌿
Happy Listening!


About Cultivating Place:

Gardens are more than collections of plants. Gardens and Gardeners are intersectional spaces and agents for positive change in our world. Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden is a weekly public radio program & podcast exploring what we mean when we garden. Through thoughtful conversations with growers, gardeners, naturalists, scientists, artists and thinkers, Cultivating Place illustrates the many ways in which gardens are integral to our natural and cultural literacy. These conversations celebrate how these interconnections support the places we cultivate, how they nourish our bodies, and feed our spirits. They change the world, for the better. Take a listen.

News & Press

AHS Cosponsors Webinars with New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL)

The AHS is pleased to announce we’ve joined with New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL) to cosponsor “Broadening Our Landscape Vision: Ecology, Culture, and Art,” a series of virtual educational programs that runs from June to September 2021.

The program is developed by award-winning landscape designer and NDAL founder Larry Weaner. The series is organized into categories geared toward two audience groups:

1) Professional Practitioners – Topics range from ecology-based landscape design to culturally reflective landscapes, to the art of making “wild” landscapes legible.

2) Home Gardeners, Educators, and Students –  Topics include ways to create landscapes that are ecologically healthy, easily managed, and beautiful on residential and educational properties. NDAL is offering a FREE program for Seed Your Future and students who may be interested in the landscape professions.
Entering the Landscape Professions, Wednesday, June 23rd, 4 – 5:30 PM EDT

NDAL is offering a discounted registration price of $28 for AHS members on the following webinars:

Historical Ecology with Michael Gaige, Thursday, June 24th, 1 – 2:30 PM EDT

Close Encounters with Larry Weaner, Wednesday, June 30th, 1 – 2:30 PM  EDT

Organic Landscaping with Mike Nadeau, Monday, July 19th, 1 – 2:30 PM EDT

Native Meadows with Larry Weaner, Thursday, August 12th, 1 – 2:30 PM EDT

“Like Painting a Picture” with Abra Lee, Tuesday, August 17th, 1 – 2:30 PM EDT

AHS members can login for an exclusive code to save $7 off the regular price! AHS is proud to be a co-sponsor of this series.
For program information and registration, visit


News & Press

2021 Great American Gardeners Award Winners Announced


American Horticultural Society 

Announces 2021 Great American Gardeners Award Winners 


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 18, 2021) — The American Horticultural Society (AHS) today announced the distinguished recipients of the 2021 Great American Gardeners Awards. Individuals, organizations, and companies that receive these annual 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, horticultural therapy, and teaching.  

Among this year’s winners is Lucinda McDade, PhD, of the California Botanic Garden, who is receiving the AHS’s highest honor—the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award—for her lifetime accomplishments as a scientific researcher, plant explorer, professor, author, and public garden administrator. 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. 

Lucinda McDade, PhD, Executive Director & Judith B. Friend Director of Research, California Botanic Garden, Claremont, Calif. 

* 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. 

Keith A. Mearns, Director of Grounds, Historic Columbia, Columbia, S.C.  

* GARDEN STEWARDSHIP – Given to a public garden that embraces and exemplifies sustainable horticultural practices in design, maintenance, and/or programs. 

North Carolina Botanic Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C. 

* HORTICULTURAL THERAPY AWARD – Recognizes significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy.
Naomi A. Sachs, Assistant Professor, Plant Science & Landscape Architecture and 

Founding Director, Therapeutic Landscapes Network, College Park, Md. 

* 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. 

Larry Weaner, Principal & Founder, Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, Glenside, Pa. 

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.  

Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago, Garden Podcaster and Radio Show Host, San Juan, P.R.  

* FRANCES JONES POETKER AWARD – Recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public.
Lisa WaudFloral Artist, Detroit, Mich. 

* 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. 

Rowen WhiteFounder and Creative Director, Sierra SeedsNevada City, Calif. 

* 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.   

Washington Youth Garden, Washington, D.C. 

For more information on this year’s recipients, please visit our 2021 Award WinnersPhotographs of the award winners and additional information about the awards program are available upon request by contacting Katherine Somerville at or calling (703) 768-5700, ext. 121. 

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News & Press

American Horticultural Society Declines NOVA Parks Offer for River Farm

(March 1, 2021) – The American Horticultural Society board of directors has voted to decline a proposal submitted by NOVA Parks, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and their partners to purchase an option to acquire AHS’s headquarters property, River Farm, on the banks of the Potomac River.

AHS has listed the 25-acre property for sale so the proceeds could be used to further AHS’s national mission and programs and create a significant endowment to ensure its long-term financial future. “We deeply appreciate the interest of NOVA Parks in River Farm and their proposal to purchase an option on the property, which if exercised, would involve payments to AHS over several years. We deliberated carefully over the proposal and its terms and concluded that their offer as currently written simply does not meet AHS’s needs. So, with thanks to them for their interest, the board declined the offer,” noted AHS Board Chair Terry Hayes

The American Horticultural Society has made its national headquarters at River Farm for decades, according to Vice Chair of the Board, Bob Murray, and has realized that the future of the Society lies in expanding its national impact by selling River Farm, investing the proceeds in national programs and the endowment. River Farm remains on the market. The sale is being handled by real estate agent Sue Goodhart of Compass Real Estate Group in Alexandria, VA.

Bob Brackman, Interim Executive Director, noted that the COVID pandemic has been especially hard on AHS affecting its donors and staff, dramatically reducing many valued programs that were financially important to AHS, and reinforced the urgency of putting AHS on a solid, permanent financial foundation. Brackman added, “Once River Farm is sold, AHS will determine the best location for its headquarters to serve and build our national audience.”

The AHS Board will continue to review and consider offers. Board Chair Hayes reiterated that AHS’s strong preference is that the buyer of the property would maintain it for single use and not subdivide it and ideally continue to allow the public to access the property as much as possible. The Board welcomes further dialogue with NOVA Parks to the extent they are interested in submitting a different proposal.


News & Press

You’re Invited: AHS Virtual Art Show & Sale

The American Horticultural Society’s Virtual Art Show and Sale is now open! Each year AHS’s River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, VA is fortunate to work with talented local artists who share their horticultural and nature-themed artwork at annual Art Shows and Open Houses throughout the year.

We are excited to host a Virtual Art Show this year so that anyone across the country can easily participate by making a purchase or a donation on our virtual platform. Browse a wide selection of garden and nature-themed art from our featured artists Nina Tisara, Nathan Leibowitz and Otari Shiuk.

The Virtual Art Show is open through June. A portion of all sales benefits the American Horticultural Society’s national programs and mission to share with all Americans the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet.

View the Virtual Art Show and Sale

News & Press

Offers Now Being Received for Purchase of River Farm

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) is pleased to announce that it has officially begun receiving offers from prospective buyers interested in purchasing the nonprofit’s historic property in Alexandria, Virginia. The pristine 27-acre River Farm was placed on the market in late 2020, with AHS setting January 4, 2021, as the date it would begin to receive offers from interested parties. No formal deadline for offer submissions has been established.

River Farm is located on the banks of the Potomac River and was once part of George Washington’s original farmlands. The property includes open fields, beautiful gardens, sweeping views of the river, and a stately 1920’s manor house which has served as AHS’s headquarters since the 1970s.

The sale offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for a new steward to take ownership of River Farm.  River Farm is listed for $32.9 million by Sue Goodhart of The Goodhart Group, Compass Real Estate. The listing price is based on fair market rates and was set following a competitive analysis of other properties for sale in the area. The AHS board will carefully review all offers submitted and hopes to identify a suitable buyer in the next few months. The ideal buyer will be a nonprofit, organization, or individual dedicated to preserving and maintaining the property’s historic integrity.

“River Farm is indeed a unique and special property and we are thrilled to now be receiving offers from entities interested in owning both the property and its legacy,” said Terry Hayes, AHS Board Chair. “We have had great interest from a number of potential buyers and welcome all interested parties to submit their offers in the coming weeks.”

AHS, a national nonprofit dedicated to sharing the art and science of growing plants throughout the United States, plans to utilize funds from the sale to establish an endowment for their nearly 100-year-old organization, which has faced difficult economic challenges in recent years, including lost revenue in event rentals and AHS programming during the pandemic, and the costs of maintaining River Farm. An endowment will provide essential financial stability to the organization and allow it to continue and grow its programming across the country.

Watch this video of River Farm
Details on the listing are available HERE.
For inquiries, contact Sue Goodhart at or (703) 362-3221