News & Press

Setting the Record Straight About the Sale of River Farm

For nearly 100 years, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) has called Alexandria, Virginia home. Our national nonprofit, dedicated to sharing the art and science of growing plants throughout the country, was founded in Alexandria in 1922. In the early 1970s, we purchased and moved our headquarters to River Farm, former farmland that, centuries ago, was owned by George Washington. We feel privileged to be among the stewards who have owned and cared for this property. This past September, due to our organization’s financial challenges, we announced River Farm would be put up for sale.

Since that announcement, there have been widespread rumors and misstatements of fact which we feel compelled to correct.

Contrary to many recent reports and statements, our desire is to not sell River Farm for future subdivision or development, but rather for it to remain a single-use property, preferably with continued opportunities for public access and enjoyment going forward.

We would also like to clear up questions that have been raised about the existence of binding obligations connected to the generous donation from former AHS Board Member Enid Haupt, which allowed us to purchase River Farm for our headquarters. It was at her request, but not a requirement or condition of the donation, that the public could have free access to walk and explore the grounds of River Farm during regular operating hours. While we have found no documents that create an obligation, we have been happy to honor Ms. Haupt’s wishes and have welcomed the community to enjoy AHS’s River Farm grounds at no charge since we established our headquarters here nearly 50 years ago.

Our purpose in selling River Farm is to pay expenses and create an endowment for our long-term survival. Like many small nonprofits, AHS has struggled financially in recent years and the pandemic has all but stopped essential revenue streams needed to maintain our day-to-day operations and our mission-focused programming while also shouldering the tremendous maintenance costs for the early 20th Century homestead at River Farm and its 27 acres of land. These serious financial challenges, among others, led to our board’s decision this fall to sell River Farm. The funds raised will allow our nonprofit to create an endowment that will ensure our organization and our programs can continue indefinitely

We understand the uneasiness our neighbors feel not knowing what the sale may mean for River Farm.  Contrary to published reports, we have worked diligently to be as transparent as possible and to have an open constructive dialogue with community leaders. In fact, we have been in – and continue to have –  ongoing bi-weekly conversations with Mount Vernon District Supervisor Daniel G. Storck and Paul Gilbert of NOVA Parks, among others, who have been working to put together a purchase offer that could meet both AHS’s objectives and those of the community. We have voluntarily extended timelines and been flexible with other considerations to support these community efforts to protect centuries-old River Farm.

We in turn ask for the community to recognize and support our efforts to protect our century-old, Alexandria-born nonprofit as we strive to keep our national mission alive for the next 100 years.

 

 

 

Terry Hayes, Board Chair
American Horticultural Society

 

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 “Ecology-Based Landscapes,” a series of virtual educational programs that runs from January to March 2021. Developed by award-winning landscape designer and NDAL founder Larry Weaner, the series is organized in categories geared toward two audience groups: 1) landscape practitioners (landscape architects and designers, restoration ecologists, and horticulturists) and 2) home gardeners, educators, youth, and prospective professionals.

Topics to be covered range from natural landscape design and management to green roofs and gardens, community-based landscapes, the use of seed in native landscape and restoration projects, creating biodiverse schoolyards, and fostering native habitats in home gardens. Professional and non-professional audiences alike will be eager to join the room — virtually, of course — as Weaner interviews influential designers such as Piet Oudolf and Darrel Morrison one-on-one in “Prairie-side Chats” —NDAL’s version of fireside chats.

For registration and information, visit ndal.org.

News & Press

The January/February 2021 issue of The American Gardener magazine will be Digital Only

The January/February 2021 issue of The American Gardener magazine will not be mailed to members but will be available via our digital magazine platform. This cost-saving measure, necessitated by revenue losses resulting from the pandemic, dovetails with the AHS’s goal of environmental sustainability by saving paper, ink, and the fuel used in shipping those magazines to homes around the country. Regular mailing of the printed copy of the magazine will resume with the March/April 2021 issue.

If you are a current member and have not previously accessed the online version of the magazine, you will simply need to create a username and password if you have not done so already. If you cannot remember, try resetting your password first.

If you create a new username and password, you will receive an automated email that tells you it may take up to two business days for us to link your username with your membership. If you do not receive this email, check your spam or clutter folders. If you still need help, contact membership@ahsgardening.org, there may have been a typo when you entered your email address.

If you create a new username and password but you already had one in our system, you will get an email back within two business days telling you the username that you previously created with a prompt to help you reset your password if needed.

Once you have successfully logged in, you will see a screen that says My AHS Homepage. Simply scroll down to the paragraph that begins Because you are a member and the first item you will see is accessing The American Gardener magazine archives. If you do not see this paragraph, it means your username is not connected to your membership, please email membership@ahsgardening.org for assistance.

Happy Reading!

News & Press

AHS moving in exciting new direction

 

October 20, 2020

Dear AHS Community,

Last month, the board of the American Horticultural Society shared with you that we were exploring the possibility of merging with the American Public Gardens Association (APGA). Our goal has been to look at a variety of possibilities and identify the best solution that would allow for the continuation of our national programming during very difficult financial circumstances for AHS. The solution has had to be proactive, deliberate, and dramatic in the face of the pandemic and its effects on our revenue streams.

We have greatly appreciated your outreach and input, which the AHS board has heard and taken to heart. The resounding sentiment has been that we are proud of AHS’s century long legacy and greatly desire to find a solution that allows our mission – and the AHS name – to live on in the future with an increased national presence.  Our mission demands that we seek opportunities which expand geographic accessibility and programs that resonate with diverse communities across the United States from Alaska to Florida and from Maine to Hawaii.

With that in mind, rather than moving forward with a merger with APGA, our board has committed to maintaining AHS as an independent national nonprofit with its own board, staff and headquarters. The board is now working diligently to further develop a sustainable business model that would allow AHS to streamline expenses and continue operating as an independent national nonprofit organization for the next 100 years. The charge is to develop a model that would allow the varied programming and resources that our members across the United States know and enjoy to continue while adding new programming to keep AHS relevant and help it make a connection between people and plants. As part of this new model, we are focused on building collaborative relationships with APGA and other like-minded organizations who have a shared interest in building and expanding horticultural programming and other initiatives across the country.

In order to move forward with this renewed vision, we are dependent on the proceeds from the sale of River Farm. These funds would create a significant endowment that has been the missing link in our financial viability. Our hope is to find a buyer – a new steward – for River Farm who will work to preserve this beautiful and historic property.

Thank you for your past support which has been invaluable to AHS.  Your continued support and input is important and graciously received as we move in this exciting new direction.

Warmly,

 

 

 

 

Terry Hayes, Board Chair
American Horticultural Society

News & Press

AHS Public Statement

American Horticultural Society Explores Options for Future

For nearly a century, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) has served as one of our nation’s premier gardening organizations, connecting people to nature, introducing children to plants, and sharing earth-friendly and sustainable gardening practices. Our vision remains focused on highlighting the critical role plants, gardens, and green spaces play in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet.

Today we find ourselves at a critical crossroad. Financial challenges on a number of fronts, greatly magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, require us to carefully explore options for how the AHS mission can continue to live on for the next 100 years, and beyond.

A committee made up of several AHS board members is exploring opportunities. One possibility is a merger of AHS with the American Public Gardens Association

To accomplish this, AHS would sell our 25-acre property and home to our headquarters, River Farm. Proceeds from the sale of River Farm coupled with other AHS assets would provide for the continuation of AHS as part of APGA by supporting an enhanced range of gardening and sustainability programs long into the future.

It is important to the AHS board that, should River Farm be sold, the buyer would be one who respects the surrounding neighborhoods as well as the conservation and historical value of the property.

During this time, AHS and River Farm will continue operations and ongoing programs following COVID-19 health guidelines and respecting the safety of staff, volunteers, and members

Our goal is that the mission and name of the American Horticultural Society lives on, long into the future. The AHS Board of Directors will have greater clarity about viable next steps in the coming weeks and months.

For questions please contact us via email at Community@AHSGardening.org.

News & Press

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Great American Gardener Awards

Once a year, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) solicits nominations from the general public for the nation’s top individuals and organizations in gardening/horticulture, and presents awards to the “Horticultural Champions” in a variety of categories. We’re proud to honor these Great American Gardeners.

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Great American Gardener Awards! Deadline to nominate is September 25, 2020.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to support an honoree or the awards program in general.

News & Press

Statement from the American Horticultural Society

 

 

The tragic death of George Floyd, and the heartbreaking stories of so many other Black Americans who have been victims of senseless violence, has been a call to action for all of us to participate in bringing about meaningful societal changes.  The Board and Staff of the American Horticultural Society support efforts to end the chronic cycles of social injustice, systemic racism, and physical violence against Black people. As part of our foundational values, we believe gardening and nature-based experiences connect individuals within and across cultures, communities, and abilities, and in so doing advance human dignity, inclusiveness, and equity. We pledge to do our part by encouraging and facilitating participation in the world of horticulture across cultures and communities; making the settings and systems in which we work more open and inviting; speaking up whenever confronted by racism or bigotry; and putting into daily action the principles of equity, justice, and respect for all people—but particularly marginalized communities.

News & Press

Remembering J. Landon Reeve, IV

It’s with great sadness we share news of the death of John Landon Reeve, IV, a longtime American Horticultural Society (AHS) Board member and a prominent leader of the horticultural industry in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Landon died Monday, May 25, 2020. He was 79 years old.

Landon’s career in horticulture started in high school with a part-time summer job at a nursery near his home in Baltimore County, Maryland. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in ornamental horticulture, Landon founded Chapel Valley Landscape Company in 1968. The company, based in Woodbine, Maryland, now employs more than 450 people and has regional offices in Dulles, Virginia, and Canton, Georgia. Over the years, Chapel Valley has been involved with many notable landscaping projects in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metro areas including

the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Baltimore Inner Harbor, the National Shrine, and the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

In addition to creating a thriving business, Landon sought out a leadership role, serving as the past president to the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (now National Association of Landscape Professionals), the Landscape Contractors Association: MD, DC, VA, and the Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association. He was instrumental in raising the professional standards of the horticulture industry by promoting quality workmanship, training and certifications programs, and safety. Even after retiring from Chapel Valley in 2015, he continued to give back to the community through service on the boards of the AHS and the Friends of the U.S. National Arboretum.

Landon became an AHS member in 1988 and served on the AHS Board of Directors from 2006 to 2019. As the organization’s treasurer for many of those years, he brought a level of great professionalism and upward momentum to the AHS that lives on today. He enjoyed sharing his love of plants and gardens with other AHS members and was a regular participant on the annual AHS President’s Council trips and international travel study program tours and at AHS’s major events throughout the years.

Another way Landon supported the AHS was through his company, Chapel Valley, which has been providing invaluable landscape maintenance at the AHS’s River Farm headquarters for many years as an AHS Corporate Member. He took great pride in contributing to River Farm’s care and was always supportive of events such as the annual Spring Garden Market, the Great American Gardeners Awards celebration, and the annual Gala. Earlier this year, Landon was named the 2020 recipient of the AHS’s Meritorious Service Award, which recognizes a past Board member or friend of the Society for outstanding service.

Our hearts go out to Landon’s family. It’s impossible to overstate Landon’s leadership and contributions over the years to the horticultural industry, but those of us who worked with him closely will always remember his passion for plants and the people who work with plants, his commitment to his family and community, and his generosity.

Because of restrictions related to the pandemic, a memorial service will be scheduled at a future date. Landon’s obituary can be seen here. We are humbled that the Reeve family has designated the AHS as one of the nonprofits to receive charitable memorial gifts, in lieu of flowers.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erich E. Veitenheimer
Board Chair
American Horticultural Society

News & Press

New Resources: Home Composting & Container Gardening Tips

If you’re looking for information on how to enrich your soil using household food scraps and yard waste, or tips on how to create a garden or enjoy plants in a small space, you’ve come to the right place.

Visit our new Resource pages on Composting at Home and Creating Container Gardens, featuring helpful articles from our bimonthly member magazine, The American Gardener.

Interested in other Resources you don’t see displayed? Send us an email at webmaster@ahsgardening.org.