News & Press

Gardening for Wellness While Homebound

The past few weeks have been challenging for many of us as we’ve been forced to change our daily routines and remain largely homebound. Despite the uprooting of our lives, plants continue to flourish around us, showing off their springtime blossoms and reminding us that planting season has arrived — or is coming soon — in many parts of the country.

Tending to plants and creating gardens or pollinator patches are some of the most healing and healthy ways to get through our homebound days. Here are some things you can do:

    • Learn from experts by watching free Good Gardening Videos, which have been curated for accuracy and quality
    • Get questions answered about plants and gardening specific to your geographic area by contacting the Master Gardeners program in your state. Note that there may be a delayed response, depending on their current work situation.
    • Learn about some of the best plants for supporting our critical pollinator population by reading related articles from AHS’s The American Gardener. 
    • Consider ordering seeds for butterfly and/or hummingbird gardens via Renee’s Seeds, which donates part of its sales back to the nonprofit American Horticultural Society. 
    • Clear invasive plants from your yard and learn what native plants are best for your area by contacting your state’s native plant society.
    • Are you an AHS member? Make sure to take advantage of your member benefits by exploring our seed discounts and book discounts. Not a member? Read about the benefits of joining today.

News & Press

American Horticultural Society Names Winners of 2020 AHS Book Awards

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) has selected the three winners of its annual book awards program recognizing outstanding gardening literature.

A total of 50 books published in 2019 were nominated for consideration this year. The three award recipients are:

• The Scentual Garden by Ken Druse with botanical photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp (publisher: Abrams Books).
Designed to reveal the world of sensory experience of plants–including how to sample botanical fragrance, design for it, revel in it, and even capture it—this book was praised by judges for being “engaging, beautiful, and well written with rich descriptions.” Druse is a celebrated lecturer and an award-winning author and photographer from northwestern New Jersey who has published more than 20 garden books over the last quarter century. This is his fourth AHS Book Award.

• The Melon by Amy Goldman with photographs by Victor Schrager (publisher: City Point Press).
This book is a comprehensive and definitive work that includes portraits in words and photographs of 125 extraordinary varieties of melon, expert advice on cultivation and seed saving, and delicious melon recipes. Judges deemed it “scrumptious and luscious” with wonderful storytelling. Goldman—a Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based author, heirloom gardener, and artist—is a passionate advocate for seed saving, plant breeding, and heirloom fruits and vegetables. This is Goldman’s fourth AHS Book Award.

• Fruit Trees for Every Garden: An Organic Approach to Growing Apples, Peaches, Plums, Citrus and More by Orin Martin with Manjula Martin (publisher: Ten Speed Press).
Praised for its botanical illustrations and information on pruning, this book is a full-color guide covering everything you need to know about organically growing healthy, bountiful fruit trees. Martin, the manager of the Alan Chadwick Garden at the University of California at Santa Cruz, is a respected master orchardist, horticulturist, and teacher. This is Martin’s first AHS Book Award.

Over the last two decades, the AHS has recognized outstanding gardening books published in North America with its annual Book Awards. Books are judged by the AHS Book Award Committee on qualities such as writing style, authority, originality, horticultural accuracy, and design quality.

AHS’s 2020 Book Award Committee was chaired by Deb Wiley, a garden writer, editor, and and book project manager in Des Moines, Iowa. Other members were: William Aldrich, founder and former editor of Chicagoland Gardening, from Springfield, Mo.; Kim Toscano Holmes, a garden communicator, educator, and designer based in Stillwater, Okla.; Susan Eubank, a horticultural librarian at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in California; Amy Campion, a freelance garden writer, photographer, and blogger in Portland, Ore.; Catriona Tudor Erler, a garden writer, photographer, and book author based in Charlottesville, Va.; and Nancy Rose, a horticulturist, writer, and former educator and research — based in Jamaica Plain, Mass.

The 2020 AHS Book Awards will be presented on Thurs., June 18 during the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet at River Farm, the AHS’s national headquarters in Alexandria, Va. For more information about the awards, please visit our AHS Book Awards landing page.

News & Press

Five Gardens Join AHS’s Reciprocal Admissions Program

Five more gardens have joined the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP), which provides AHS members with special admission privileges and discounts at more than 330 gardens throughout North America.

You’ll find information on all five of these gardens on our searchable RAP map. Please make sure to call ahead or visit the websites of RAP gardens before planning a visit, as many of them are closed for the time being.

The newest RAP gardens include:

News & Press

American Horticultural Society Reveals the 2020 Great American Gardeners

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) today announced the distinguished recipients of the 2020 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 James P. Folsom of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, who is receiving the AHS’s highest honor—the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award—for his achievements in botanical garden and public horticulture leadership. 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. 
James P. Folsom, Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, 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. 
Grow Dat Youth Farm, New Orleans, La.

* 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.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County’s Blocks in Bloom program, Rochester, N.Y.

* 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.
Jessica B. Turner-Skoff, Treeologist-Science Communication Leader, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Ill.

* 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.
Leslie Bennett, Principal, Pine House Edible Gardens, Oakland, Calif.

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. 
Ciscoe Morris, Garden Communicator, Gardening with Ciscoe, Seattle, Wash.

* PROFESSIONAL AWARD – Given to a public garden administrator whose achievements throughout his or her career have cultivated widespread interest in horticulture.
Charles “Chipper” Wichman, Jr., President, CEO, and Director, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kalaheo, Hawaii. 

* 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.
Barry Fugatt, Director of Horticulture, Tulsa Garden Center, Tulsa, Okla.

* 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. 
Steve Castorani, Owner and Chief Financial Officer, North Creek Nurseries, Inc., Landenberg, Pa.

* FRANCES JONES POETKER AWARDRecognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public.
Nancy Ross Hugo, Floral Designer, Ashland, Va.

* H. MARC CATHEY AWARDRecognizes outstanding scientific research that has enriched the field of horticulture.
Dr. Michael J. Balick, Vice President for Botanical Science, Director and Philecology Curator, Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, N.Y.

* HORTICULTURAL THERAPY AWARDRecognizes significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy.
Catharine McCord, Horticultural Therapist, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colo.

* LUTHER BURBANK AWARDRecognizes extraordinary achievement in the world of plant breeding.
Dan Heims, President, Terra Nova Nurseries, Canby, Ore.

* 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.
J. Landon Reeve, IV, Founder, Chapel Valley Landscape, Woodbine, Md.


On Thurs., June 18, 2020, the AHS will honor these award recipients during the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet, held at the Society’s River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

For more information on this year’s recipients, please visit our 2020 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

About the American Horticultural Society

Founded in 1922, the American Horticultural Society is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to modeling, educating about, and advocating for earth-friendly and sustainable gardening practices. Our mission is to share with all Americans the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet. Since 1973, we have been headquartered at River Farm, one of George Washington’s original five farms that’s situated on a 25-acre site composed of gardens, meadows, and woodlands along the Potomac River in the Mount Vernon section of Fairfax County. To learn more, visit

News & Press

AHS Names Heather Prince Associate Editor

As the new associate editor of the American Horticultural Society’s bimonthly member magazine, The American Gardener, Prince is responsible for editing the magazine’s contributed content, as well as writing occasional stories.

Based in the Chicago area, Prince has a strong background and extensive experience in both communications and horticulture. She is a trained horticulturist specializing in trees, shrubs, and natives, with a passion for connecting people with plants. 

Besides writing articles for publications such as Chicagoland Gardening and The Landscape Contractor, she lectures and teaches gardening classes at a variety of venues, including The Morton Arboretum and Chicago Botanic Garden. Some of her current presentation topics include “Native Plants for Small Gardens,” “Rain Gardens 101,” and “Woody Plants for Butterflies.” She also blogs at

News & Press

AHS’s River Farm Launches Spring Educational Workshop Series

The American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) Programs department has unveiled a series of educational workshops taking place at our national nonprofit’s River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Va. this spring. The first two workshops — to be held this month — have already sold out; however, you can add your name to a waiting list by sending your contact information to

March 7: “Ceramic Garden Marker Workshop” with Persimmon Street Ceramics (wait list only)

March 28: “Gardening for Pollinators Workshop” with AHS’s associate director for horticulture and River Farm (wait list only)

April 4: “Kokedama Workshop” with FLORA Roots & Stems. Kokedama involves potting ornamental plants in a ball of moss for display in a dish or suspended in the air

April 25: “Introduction to Beekeeping Workshop” with the Northern Virginia Beekeepers Association

May 9: “Botanical Illustration Workshop” with artist and Huntley Meadows Park naturalist Margaret Wohler

All of these workshops — and details about pricing and registration — can be found on our AHS at River Farm Events Calendar.


News & Press

AHS Updates Vision and Mission Statements

American Horticultural Society logoMaking Americans aware about environmentally-friendly — or sustainable — gardening practices has long been one of the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) priorities, and now we’re pleased to say that this has been formalized in our national non-profit’s vision and mission:

Our Vision: A land of sustainable gardens, cultivated by a diverse population with a common passion for plants.

Our Mission: To share with all Americans the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet.

We will be striving to implement more sustainable gardening practices at AHS’s River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, VA. We hope you will support our work at the national and local levels, and consider how you can engage in sustainable gardening as well.

News & Press

February 2020 Featured RAP Garden: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

This month, we’re featuring Magnolia Plantation & Gardens in Charleston, S.C. as the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP) Garden of the Month. 

Founded in 1676, Magnolia Plantation is the oldest public gardens in America, having opened its doors to visitors 150 years ago. The gardens contain a variety of flowers, including camellias, daffodils, azaleas, and countless other species in bloom year-round.

On March 7, Magnolia will officially open the 2020 season of its Children’s Garden and kick off its Forest School series with an event called “Flower Power!” Among other activities, kids of all ages will hear from a flower scientist about the power of flowers to grow from seeds and about the parts of a flower.

One week later, Magnolia will hold its Spring Market & Symposium featuring the theme: “A Fresh Perspective: Gardens with a World of Inspiring Plants.” Visitors will enjoy workshops, demonstrations, a market, and plant sale.

AHS members residing at least 90 miles from Magnolia Plantation & Gardens receive free entry to the gardens, as well as discounts on educational programs and select special events.

News & Press

Restricted Public Access at AHS’s River Farm During Property Upgrades

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) has been making some much needed infrastructure improvements at its River Farm headquarters over the past few years to provide a better and safer visitor experience. We recently finished upgrading our 180-foot brick walkway on the river side of the manor house and are presently leveling and laying new brick at the Magnolia Terrace on the opposite side of the house. We’re excited to highlight these property improvements in coming months as we prepare for the spring growing season and the accompanying increase in visitors, garden tours, weddings, and other special events.

Our newest repair projects will require us to close off the formal gardens, including the Children’s Garden, during the week of Feb. 24-28. During that time, our aging and leaking underground water lines will be repaired, requiring the use of heavy machinery. For everyone’s safety and comfort, we will rope off those sections of the gardens and prevent public access. River Farm visitors may, however still freely stroll through the Meadow leading down to the Potomac.

Additionally, our manor house will continue to be open to the public for Rentals Office visits and art exhibition viewing from Feb. 24-26; however, we will close the manor house to the public from Feb. 27-28 for a private video shoot. The manor house will reopen to visitors on Mon., March 2.

News & Press

AHS Seeking F/T Groundskeeper & P/T Development Assistant