News & Press

New AHS Board Members!

We are grateful to announce three new members of the American Horticultural Society Board of Directors! Doug Barker, Dr. Larry Deaven, and Philip Tabas bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the organization. Our Board’s diverse range of talents and expertise help guide AHS’ mission and exemplify commitment to innovation and excellence in horticulture. 

Read more about these outstanding individuals and their passion for gardening, ecological health, and nonprofit work below!   


Doug is a strategic advisor for Barker & Scott Consulting which assists leading regional, national, and international nonprofit organizations with leveraging the power of information technology for organizational advancement and mission success. He is passionate about helping nonprofit organizations fundraise to connect more deeply with supporters and achieve greater impact. Prior to co-founding Barker & Scott, Doug was Vice President and Chief Information Officer for The Nature Conservancy and the nonprofit industry lead for the consulting practice of Arthur Andersen in Washington DC. Doug resides in DC where he is active in local environmental causes including an initiative in his community to remove invasive plants and restore ecological health through planting native plants. He loves nature, gardening, starry night skies, travel, hiking, canoeing, and biking. 


Larry is a distinguished scientist and horticulturist. Larry was the Director of the Center for Human Genome Studies at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and he has received numerous honors for his work. Larry has had a passion for horticulture all of his life and most recently grew plants from seed and developed extensive gardens at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center in New Mexico. He designed, installed, maintained, evaluated, and supported these gardens. He is one of the leading experts in ClematisPenstemon, and Agastache. Larry has been a regular traveler and supporter for American Horticultural Society as well as writing for The American Gardener. 


Philip is Special Advisor with the North American Conservation Region of The Nature Conservancy.  He served as the Conservancy’s General Counsel from 2003 to 2013. Philip has been involved in land conservation, water resource protection and compatible economic development projects for TNC, particularly involving the use of conservation easements and tax incentives. Prior to TNC, he worked as an attorney for the New England River Basins Commission, an intergovernmental water resources management agency, and was an attorney with an environmental consulting firm. Philip is a tax lawyer and a land use planner by professional training. He is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers; a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Herring River; a former Board member of The Potomac Conservancy; a co-author of Comprehensive Planning and the Environment, published by Abt Books; and he has taught a summer course entitled “Ecosystem Conservation Strategies” at the Vermont Law School. 


News & Press

Make 2024 Your Year to Explore the World’s Top Gardens

Register for your 2024 AHS Travel Study destination now! The upcoming year promises jet-setting to some of the world’s most amazing gardens. Whether you visit the luscious mountains of Scotland, beautifully manicured gardens of France, the seaside landscapes of Portugal or set sail to explore the flora and fauna of the Caribbean, our programs are designed for garden enthusiasts who love to explore horticultural wonders around the world. Joining an AHS Travel Study program offers an opportunity to travel deeper and connect with fellow AHS members, horticultural experts, and passionate garden hosts. 

At AHS Travel Study, ensuring the health and safety of our guests is our top priority. New this year, we have added Health & Safety Information and Travel Study Activity Level Descriptions for each destination. We have also vetted a Flight and Travel Arrangement Service and Travel Insurance Provider to simplify the booking process and help put our guests at ease.   

Your participation in an AHS Travel Study program supports the AHS’s nonprofit work to increase knowledge among gardeners, inspire passion for plants and the natural world, and encourage responsible stewardship of the earth. 

Space is limited and our travel programs often sell out, so reserve your spot today! Read more.  

Terre-de-Haut Island, Les Saintes, Guadeloupe archipelago


Natural Wonders of the Caribbean with AHS Expert and Host Holly H. Shimizu
January 28 to February 5, 2024 

Take an unforgettable journey in the heart of the most enchanting islands in the Caribbean Sea aboard Le Bellot, including Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados, and explore breathtaking island flora and fauna. This nine-day getaway features thoughtfully planned excursions focused on Caribbean gardens and the natural world. Read the program brochure here 




Ponta Delgada, Azores Islands

Blooming Paradise: Gardens of Northern Portugal and the Azores with AHS Hosts Christine and Tim Conlon
March 14 to 23, 2024; Post-trip extension to Madeira: March 23 to 27, 2024

Join us for a captivating journey through some of Portugal’s most enchanting landscapes, featuring the vibrant city of Porto, picturesque São Miguel Island in the Azores, and the coastal gem of Lisbon. We’ll discover the unrivaled splendor of Portugal’s finest camellias. We will also be offering an optional post-trip extension to the paradise island of Madeira, offering breathtaking landscapes and lush botanical gardens. Read the program brochure here. 



Treasures of Japan: Gardens, Art, and Architecture with AHS Host Holly H. Shimizu
May 11 to 21, 2024 – SOLD OUT

At its core, Japan is a place of tranquility and spirituality, where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoiled. Tour the Land of the Rising Sun via a beautifully appointed small ship and experience some of the most serene and breathtaking gardens in the world. This Travel Study program is sold out. Please contact the AHS Travel Study department at or (703) 768-5700 ext. 117, to inquire about future AHS Travel Study programs to Japan. 


Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Grandeur: Châteaux and Gardens of the Loire Valley and Versailles with AHS Host Laura Dowling
June 1 to 10, 2024   

A once-in-a-lifetime exploration of the Loire Valley and Versailles, featuring the awe-inspiring gardens of royal châteaux including Chenonceau, Villandry, and Chambord. We’ll delight in the hidden gems of private gardens, accompanied by their passionate owners, and immerse ourselves in the grandeur of Château du Lude’s Fête des Jardiniers, with Versailles as the magnificent grand finale. Read the program brochure here. 



Cawdor Castle and Gardens, Nairnshire, Scotland

Secrets of the Scottish Highlands: From Castle Grounds to Highland Glens with AHS Host Katie Tukey
June 12 to 20, 2024   

Join us for an extraordinary expedition through the unspoiled landscapes of Scotland’s Grampian Mountains and The Highlands, beginning with a visit to the vibrant city of Edinburgh and the hidden gems of Fife’s secret gardens. We’ll explore some of the Highlands’ finest gardens and conclude our journey on the picturesque shores of Loch Lomond. Read the program brochure here.  

News & Press

Growing Good Kids Book Awards Announced!

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. 

From growing strawberries to poetry for a greener world and mysterious neighborhood garden adventures, the 2023 awardees inspired our imaginations! Check out this year’s winners below, who were announced at the 2023 National Children & Youth Gardening Symposium in Knoxville, TN:


Rooftop Garden by Danna Smith 
Illustrated by Pati Aguilera
(Barefoot Books)


Sun in My Tummy by Laura Alary
Illustrated by Andrea Blinick
(Pajama Press)


I Love Strawberries! By Shannon Anderson
Illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett
(Feeding Minds Press)



Maybe You Might By Imogen Foxell
Illustrated by Anna Cunha


The Garden Next Door by Collin Pine
Illustrated by Tiffany Everett
(River Horse Books)






News & Press

Planting Veggies for Fall Harvest!

Mid to late summer is the perfect time to start thinking about your fall harvest! We’ve come up with some tips for a delicious fall veggie season.

How do I prepare?

  • Remove any plants that won’t do well in the cooler weather or that are past their harvesting prime. Warm season crops, like tomatoes and peppers, should all be starting to slow down.
  • Weed your garden. Weeds will steal nutrients and moisture from your new growing plants. Clear them out so your new crops can thrive.
  • With a clear garden, now would be a good time to lay down some compost for extra nutrients.

When’s the right time?

  • Fall brings the year’s first frost. You’ll want to be sure to give your cool season veggies time to grow before it hits. Consult The Old Farmer’s Almanac frost calendar by region for the specific timing of your area’s frost.
    • The key is to find your region’s first frost date and then count backwards to see how many days are left in their growing season. If you are sowing seeds, you also need to count in how many days before those seeds germinate.  If you are planting seedlings from a garden center, then don’t need to count germination time.
    • For example, if you’re planting radishes from seed. You need 30-40 days for them to mature, plus five to seven days to germinate the seed if you are using seeds. So, you need to plant them at least 35-45 days before the first frost date.
    • Some crops, like cabbage and collards, will tolerate light frosts, so you can build in a little more time for them beyond the first frost date.

What do I plant?

  • Fall veggies can grow really fast, for example, radishes can mature in as few as 30 days. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a planting calendar which helps determine when and where to grow your favorite fall vegetables.
  • Different plants will thrive in different zones, so be sure to research which vegetables would go best with your region’s climate. Here’s is a list of what is typically enjoyed in the autumn months:
    • Collards
    • Beets
    • Carrots
    • Swiss Chard
    • Kale
    • Endive
    • Kale
    • Bibb Lettuce, Leaf Lettuce
    • Kohlrabi
    • Cabbage
    • Radish

Photo by Pauline Bernard on Unsplash 

News & Press

50 Year Celebrations Continue with River Farm Anniversary Picnic on August 24

The American Horticultural Society will celebrate 50 golden years at its beloved River Farm headquarters with the River Farm Anniversary Picnic featuring live music from the band, Soulfire.  The community picnic will be held on Thursday, August 24, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and is FREE and open to the public.  

Guests are encouraged to pack a blanket and picnic basket with food and beverage favorites and find a comfortable spot on River Farm’s welcoming lawn where relaxing will never be easier. As the sun lowers on the historical property, you will enjoy the music, stunning gardens, and spectacular views overlooking the Potomac River.  

Register Now on Eventbrite! 

While River Farm is most widely known as part of George Washington’s farmland, its exciting, memorable history with the AHS is truly one for the books. 50 years ago, a generous philanthropist, Enid Haupt, donated the purchase price of River Farm to the AHS. This gift saved River Farm from being sold to Russian diplomats during the Cold War of the 70’s and ensured River Farm as the home to the AHS in perpetuity. In 2020, River Farm once again was saved from being sold thanks to the rallying cries of the community and the terms of Haupt’s agreement. The River Farm Anniversary Picnic celebrates these joyous occasions, all the memories in between, and the future of River Farm as a local and national treasure.   

Save the Date! In addition to the Anniversary Picnic, the AHS is celebrating its 50th golden anniversary at River Farm at its annual gala. This year’s theme, Simple Pleasures of the Garden, features renowned interior and garden designer Charlotte Moss. The event will be held on September 23, 2023. Details and tickets can be found at More exciting details coming soon! 



News & Press

International Monarch Monitoring Blitz Citizen Project!

The distinctive monarch butterfly, known for its orange wings interlaced with black lines and white dots border, is famous for their seasonal migration from the United States and Canada to warmer climates in California and Mexico. Their migration across the continent provides an invaluable pollination service which is essential for many ecosystems to thrive. Recently making the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM as Endangered, monarchs are threatened with widespread habitat loss.  

You can help protect and conserve the monarch butterfly by joining this year’s International Monarch Monitoring Blitz now through 6 August 2023! Data collected by volunteers each year supports trinational efforts to better understand the monarch butterfly’s breeding productivity, range and timing in North America.  

To take part in the Blitz, share your observations through one of the community science programs below: 


Mission Monarch 



Correo Real Program 

United States: 

Journey North 

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project 

Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper 

In addition to the Blitz, Shubber Ali, CEO of Garden for Wildlife provided his tips on how we can help save the monarchs.  

  • Plant a diverse range of keystone native plants suited to your eco-region. Milkweed is important, but by planting nectar across three seasons you support hundreds of species, longer. 
  • Encourage local leaders to join the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge. 
  • Engage in community conservation actions such as native habitat restoration, education and outreach and local policy changes to benefit monarch butterflies. 
  • Enroll in monarch conservation, community-based science opportunities in local communities. 
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides. 
  • Create and Certify Your Wildlife Habitat: Create an outdoor space using native plants that attract monarchs and other pollinators. Once you’ve incorporated all the elements of a wildlife-friendly habitat—food, water, cover, and places to raise young—be recognized by certifying your space through Garden for Wildlife’s signature Certified Wildlife Habitat program.   
  • Check the Native Plant finder to see what varieties grow for your zone. There are several dozen species of milkweed plants native to North America, and it is important to be sure to know your zone to choose the right one for your region. 

 Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash 

News & Press

Do Your House Plants Need Summer Vacations?

When summer rolls around, everyone deserves a vacation, including your houseplants! After a winter indoors, many houseplants will benefit from some time outdoors when the weather is right. The right light exposure, increased humidity, and fresh air can stimulate new growth and sometimes enhance blooming. 

A red-margined rainbow plant (Dracaena marginata) in the back, fronted by a coleus (Solenostemon sp.) on the left and a begonia on the right.

Tips for moving indoor plants outside: 

  • Make sure the weather is right. Indoor plants shouldn’t go outdoors until night-time temperatures are consistently above 55°F. 
  • Avoid scorching foliage by starting houseplants in shady sites and gradually exposing them to more sunshine. Some tropicals will do best if kept in a shady location throughout the summer, while succulents will appreciate full sun after a gradual transition. 
  • Adjust watering needs based on ambient rainfall. Your indoor plants may need more water given the warmer environment, so monitor water levels and supplement as needed. Make sure you remove saucers from underneath plants so excess water will drain away.  
  • After a summer of active growth, some plants may need repotting before you move them back indoors.   

Tips for moving indoor plants back inside: 

  • Bathe, inspect, and evaluate. Give your plants a good dousing with a hose to remove webs, dust, debris and pests. Thoroughly check foliage front and back for signs of pests. When treating plants for pests, begin by using a mixture of manual removal, horticultural soap, and horticultural oil. However, if the infestation is severe, it might be a good idea to compost them rather than risk infecting other plants.  
  • Create a schedule. Most houseplants need two things in the winter: regular water and regular pest inspections. 

Barbara Pleasant, author of The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, shared some further tips to help your plants enjoy their summer vacation.  

  • For most medium and small houseplants, a summer outdoors in a shady spot gives them growing space and warmth, which most houseplants love. At my house, the sweet spot for summering houseplants is the bright shade beneath a second story deck.

    A lacy-tree philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum) and a night-blooming cereus (Epiphyllum sp.) in the white pot to its left
  • I always move winter-blooming houseplants like holiday cactus, kalanchoe, and succulents outdoors for the summer. Exposure to long summer days followed by chilly fall nights encourages strong blooming. 
  • I observe September as houseplant month. Conditions are great for repotting plants outside where you can make a mess, and plants that are divided have time to recover under warm conditions. As plants are moved back indoors, each one gets a trim, a shower, and repotting if needed. 
  • Not all houseplants like an outdoor vacation, and very large ones can have problems adjusting back to indoor light after spending time outdoors. Tall houseplants are prone to toppling over in thunderstorms, so they require a very sheltered spot. African violets, orchids and a few other houseplants simply prefer staying in.

For houseplant and gardening expertise, check out more of Barbara Pleasant’s work. 



Photos courtesy of David Ellis, Editor of The American Gardener  

News & Press

2024 Great American Gardeners Awards Nomination Open!

Nominations are now being accepted for the AHS’s 2024 Great American Gardeners Awards. This is your chance to help recognize individuals and organizations from throughout North America for exceptional contributions to American horticulture and gardening. Six categories of awards (outlined below) will be recognized in 2024. Nominations will be accepted through September 29, 2023. Nominate today!

The Awards being offered in 2024 are: 

Liberty Hyde Bailey Award 

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. 

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. 

Garden Stewardship Award 

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

Horticultural Innovation Award  

Given to an individual or company whose innovations have made the field of horticulture more sustainable and accessible to all.

Marc Cathey Award

Recognizes outstanding scientific research that has enriched the field of horticulture. 

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. 

Nominate your “horticultural champion”—an exemplary sustainable garden, a thought leader delivering groundbreaking research, or the driving force behind horticultural innovation. Nomination form available here.  

News & Press

Cooking with Herbs

Summer is an excellent time to explore the culinary adventures your herb garden has to offer. Jim Long, of Long Creek Herbs, shared some of his tips for growing and cooking with herbs. 

Tips for Using Herbs:

  • The easiest way to learn unfamiliar herb flavors is to chop up some fresh herbs into either cream cheese or scrambled eggs. Both are relatively neutral flavors, which will allow you to fully experience the taste of an herb. 
  • Go beyond the basics – instead of sprinkling a few pieces of parsley on a dish, chop up some basil and thyme as well. 
  • When growing herbs, the nearer the kitchen the better. If you have herbs growing in containers just steps from the kitchen, you are more likely to use them.
  • Don’t be intimidated about using herbs in your cooking. It’s almost impossible to make a mistake when using cooking herbs. You may like some more than others, but that’s part of the learning process. 
  • Go bold. I once introduced a kids’ class to chocolate chip cookies with rosemary, to acquaint them with the taste of rosemary. It was a hit! Or use basil leaves in place of lettuce on a sandwich.  
  • When using fresh or dried herbs in cooking, add most of them about half or two-thirds of the way through the cooking process. Add a bit more at the very end. Cooking vaporizes the oils that carry the flavors of herbs, so they can either lose their flavor or become bitter during the cooking process. 

For more information on growing herbs, check out the July/Aug issue of The American Gardener Jim also has many recipes for herbs on his website, visit to explore what could be cooking in your kitchen next!

Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash 

News & Press

Eco-Friendly Summer Watering Tips

As we begin July and feel its infamous warmth, we need to remember to keep ourselves and our gardens hydrated. Good watering practices will help your garden stay cool while the sun brings the heat. Here are some of our tips to help your plants—and the planet— stay healthy.  

  • Check your soil for moisture near the roots of your plants. You can do this by feeling it with your fingers or using a soil moisture meter. If it feels dry one to two inches down, grab your hose!
  • Water early in the morning. Midday heat causes water to evaporate faster, so take advantage of cooler early morning hours.  
  • Water directly to the soil at the root zone. Roots absorb water quickly from the soil; water on foliage evaporates fast and could lead to fungal diseases like powdery mildew.  
  • Water slowly and deeply. Quick splashes of water won’t allow the water to get deep enough to the roots. If water is puddling, the surface soil may be too dry; soften the surface with water and let it sit for a few minutes before watering thoroughly. For containers, water until you see water coming out of drainage holes at the bottom. 
  • If your region gets above 85°F, expect to water vegetables and other new plantings daily if no soaking rain falls. If your plants are wilting in the middle of the day, check the soil before watering; some plants wilt to conserve moisture and recover in the evening.  
  • Plants in containers need more frequent watering than plants in the ground. Make sure to water your containers daily, especially those in full sun or exposed to wind.  
  • To conserve moisture (and as a bonus reduce weed growth), apply a layer of bark mulch or leaf mold on the soil surface around plants and in containers.  
  • Keep track of rain with a rain gauge to make sure you and Mother Nature are working together.  
  • The most common reason for foliage turning yellow or showing browning on its edges is overwatering. Make sure you allow enough time between watering your plants. 

Photo by David Ballew on Unsplash