Nominations for 2023 Great American Gardeners Awards Open!
AHS is proud to announce nominations are now being accepted for the 2023 American Gardeners Awards. The deadline is October 24, 2022. More information here
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.
COVID-19, and its accompanying stay-at-home orders, self-quarantine measures, and breakdown in food supply chains, has given rise to a new cohort of home gardeners. While gardening fits the bill as productive domestic activity that will, in the coming months, yield edible results, are there other benefits to digging in the soil and nurturing plants? Horticultural therapists across the country sound a resounding “Yes!” and Catharine McCord, recipient of the AHS’ 2020 Horticultural Therapy Award adds her voice to the chorus. Read on as Catharine answers our questions and describes the myriad mental and physical health benefits to gardening.
In your words, what is horticultural therapy?
Horticultural therapy is the practice of using plant-based activities, where participating in the activity itself is considered therapeutic. At Denver Botanic Gardens, we focus on social and emotional enrichment through active or passive involvement with our activities. We design our programs with a focus on promoting socialization and stimulating memory recall.
This field is founded on connecting people to themselves through plants, but it is also important to note that we can connect with each other through plants. We all have stories that can be shared through interacting with plants and talking about plants with others. The more we share our stories and hear others tell their stories, the more we connect to each other and feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. The more we feel part of something bigger than ourselves, the bigger the difference we can make.
Generally, how can plants and gardens contribute to positive mental health during this time of anxiety, grief, and social distancing?
This is no doubt an unprecedented and stressful time in our lives and we are all looking for healthy coping mechanisms and ways to process what’s happening in our world. Passive interactions (just simply being) in a garden can restore our ability to focus and assess how we’re feeling physically and emotionally. Studies indicate that spending just ten minutes in a garden can improve our moods and reduce blood pressure. When we actively nurture our plants, we can also take notice of how we tend to our needs and ourselves. Research shows that physical activity, like weeding and digging in the soil, helps to activate parts of our brain to process our thoughts, feelings, and emotions effectively.
Your Therapeutic Thursday webinars with the Denver Botanic Gardens focus on certain plant groups – trees, thorny plants, and aquatic plants. What are the therapeutic lessons inherent in these particular plants?
We can look to plants as guides in how to adapt to our surroundings and situations. In forests, trees communicate their needs through their roots and respond to each other by sending nutrients and other resources. This vast underground network of connectivity is similar to our social networks and helps us to remember that we are not alone right now; we can reach out and be seen and heard and connect with so many others.
Thorny plants like those in the rose family teach us about setting boundaries and to take care of ourselves and protect our hearts and what we hold dear. They remind us to be kind to ourselves and take time to give ourselves the love and support we often give to others as caretakers, but don’t necessarily give to ourselves.
Grief, suffering, and resiliency are inherent in all of our lives, but for many are uncomfortable to talk about. When we look at the beauty and delicate nature of a water lily, it’s easy to overlook its humble beginnings. As other aquatic plants, emerging through murky and muddy waters, while seemingly less-than-ideal conditions, these are essential to producing the beautiful blooms.
What advice would you give to the parents or caregivers of children who are struggling with the “new normal”?
If you and your children are having trouble focusing on schoolwork or any other indoor tasks, take a break to look out a window or go outside and allow your senses to explore. Move around outside with your whole body and make some loud noises. Take walks, jump around, be playful! Unstructured time outdoors will help your mind to refocus when necessary.
Try planting seeds together! Basil grows well on a sunny windowsill. By growing a plant from seed you are making a plan for the future and that is one of the most hopeful activities you can do. Nurturing a plant teaches us life lessons about patience, anticipation, and delayed gratification. Harvesting the basil to prepare a meal together can cultivate a sense of connection. Just rubbing basil leaves and smelling the oils that are released help us to slow down and feel calm. This simple act of breathing and noticing our senses can help us to regulate or uplift our moods. Something fun about plants in mint family like basil, lavender, and rosemary, is that their stems will feel square between your fingers.
Gardening is often an individual activity that contributes to self-care and self-sufficiency. What can a home gardener do at this time to support a collective effort or assist others in need?
Sharing in any capacity promotes connectivity. Share seedlings with friends and family if you’ve started some. Post on social media and build your social and emotional network by sharing photos and stories of what you’re growing. A colleague at the Gardens has been making seed mixes with her children and sharing with neighbors to help brighten their spirits and their neighborhood. My nephew in Georgia loves marigolds, so I planted some in my garden and sent the rest of my seed packet to him. Now we can both grow the same plant, half a country apart. We plan to share pictures and talk about how they are growing in our different climates. At the end of the season, we can save the seeds for next year.
What does winning an AHS Great American Gardeners Award mean to you?
This award is a tremendous honor. I’ve always known that I wanted my work to be of public service to others and chose to pursue my degree in landscape architecture to focus on therapeutic gardens to be an advocate for mental health awareness. This led me to study horticultural therapy and herbal medicine as a way to create immersive experiences in gardens. Sensory and therapeutic gardens can function as safe spaces for those coping with stress and trauma, those who have experienced loss, and veterans- like my father who died by suicide. The combination of my personal experience with loss, my education, and work experiences have given me a unique perspective on garden design.
Every year it’s our privilege to host a wonderful celebration at our River Farm headquarters recognizing the Great American Gardeners Award recipients. This year however due to extraordinary times, we’re pleased to honor our Award Winners virtually on the web and across social media platforms. Follow the American Horticultural Society on social media where, beginning in mid-June, we will be sharing video messages from this year’s horticultural champions about the inspiring work that they do. It is our hope that by honoring our award winners in the online sphere, it will provide more exposure to their accomplishments.
Created in 1953, the AHS awards program recognizes exemplary professionals and organizations in horticultural fields, and outstanding garden-related authors and publishers. Each of our honorees is selected from nominations across the country for their efforts to advance and celebrate the art and science of horticulture. The 2020 honorees include:
For more information on the 2020 honorees, please see ahsgardening.org/awardwinners. Celebrating the successes of our award winners brings attention to the important role that horticulture plays in the health and wellbeing of people and the planet and highlights career pathways for younger generations. Please consider supporting the AHS’s Awards program. Your gift will help us honor America’s best and brightest in the horticulture field and further spread the word about their important work.
The American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) associate director for horticulture Dan Scott and AHS board member Amy Bolton attended The Philadelphia Flower Show in late February 2020 to select the winner of the AHS Environmental Award, which recognizes horticultural excellence best demonstrating the bond between horticulture and environmental impact.
The winning exhibit was “The Olfactory Pathway” by Refugia of Narberth, PA. Refugia’s designs focus on native and edible plantings to create landscapes that are both beautiful and ecologically functional.
Other winners of AHS Environmental Awards to date include:
* “Between Every Two Pines Is a Doorway to a New World” by Plant Man LLC at the Southern Spring Home + Garden Show in Charlotte, N.C.
* Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery’s 18th century abandoned mine in New England, which now is home to bats and a regrown forest with wildlife. The exhibit was featured at the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show in Hartford, Conn.
Learn more about the AHS Environmental 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.
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 AWARD – Recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public.
Nancy Ross Hugo, Floral Designer, Ashland, Va.
* H. MARC CATHEY AWARD – Recognizes 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 AWARD – Recognizes significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy.
Catharine McCord, Horticultural Therapist, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colo.
* LUTHER BURBANK AWARD – Recognizes 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 email@example.com.
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 https://ahsgardening.org.
American Horticultural Society (AHS) Environmental Awards will be presented at seven flower and garden shows across the nation in 2020:
The awards recognize exhibits of horticultural excellence best demonstrating the bond between horticulture and the environment, and inspiring viewers to beautify their homes and communities through skillful design and appropriate plant material. Exhibits will be judged by the criteria of design, aesthetics, plant material, and environmental stewardship.
AHS members receive discounts at many of these shows. Learn more here.
Alexandria, VA (March 26, 2019). Over the last two decades, the American Horticultural Society (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, accuracy, and design quality.
A total of 46 books published in 2018 were submitted for consideration this year. The three award recipients are:
• Designing with Palms by Jason Dewees, photographs by Caitlin Atkinson (Timber Press).
Artfully blending horticultural information with design concepts, this definitive guide to designing and caring for palms was praised by judges for being “beautiful, compelling and scientifically accurate.” Dewees is a horticulturist and palm expert at Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco. He also volunteers at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, provides consulting and training services, and conducts lectures.
• The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone (Dutton Books).
This book details how American botanist David Fairchild, who traveled the world around the turn of the 20th century in search of fruits, vegetables, and other intriguing plants, forever changed the landscape of the United States with his discoveries. Judges deemed it “a wonderful story and fascinating piece of history relevant to anyone who eats.” Stone—a Washington, D.C. resident—writes about environmental science, agriculture, and botany for leading media outlets and teaches environmental policy at Johns Hopkins University.
• Niki Jabbour’s Veggie Garden Remix by Niki Jabbour (Storey Publishing).
Praised for its clean, inviting presentation, beautiful photography, and fresh approach to vegetable gardening, this book will “inspire anyone to experiment and to have some fun with off-the-wall but rewarding veggies,” in the words of one judge. Jabbour, a resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is an award-winning author and social media maven who speaks on food gardening topics at events and shows throughout North America. She also hosts “The Weekend Gardener” radio show.
AHS’s 2019 Book Award Committee was chaired by Mary Ann Newcomer, a garden communicator based in Boise, Idaho. Other members were: William Aldrich, past president and Fellow ofGardenComm in Springfield, Missouri; Catriona Tudor Erler, a garden writer and book author based in Charlottesville, Virginia; Augustus “Jenks” Farmer, garden book author and plantsman based in the Columbia, South Carolina area; Nancy Rose, horticulturist and former editor of Arnoldia, published by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; Brian Thompson, manager and curator of the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle; and Deb Wiley, garden writer, editor, book project manager, and Fellow of GardenComm in Des Moines, Iowa.
The 2019 AHS Book Awards will be presented on Friday, June 21 during the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet at River Farm, the AHS’s national headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. For more information about the awards, please visit our AHS Book Awards landing page.
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.