Save the Date: 2023 AHS Gala
Mark your calendar for the 2023 AHS Gala celebrating 50 years that AHS has called River Farm “home.” The Gala, to be held on September 23rd, 2023 at River Farm, will be the perfect opportunity to show your support for AHS and River Farm, visit our treasured headquarters, connect with fellow supporters, and enjoy a magical evening of good food, drink, entertainment and conversation.
AHS & River Farm Closed in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree today.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, American Horticultural Society and River Farm will be closed on January 16. We encourage our staff and AHS members to volunteer to improve their communities on this National Day of Service.
Together, we are a family of gardeners sharing and planting seeds of hope, compassion, acceptance, equity, and peace.
~ The AHS Team
Ring in the New Year with More Member Discounts to Garden Shows!
Two more great reasons to be a member of AHS!
- Discounts to garden shows
- Educational opportunities on horticulture’s relationship with environmental wellness
AHS members will receive discounts to the following three flower and garden shows (in addition to shows produced by MarketPlace Events). These shows will be presenting the AHS Environmental Awards which recognize exhibits of horticultural excellence that best demonstrate the bond between horticulture and the environment. Exhibits will be judged by the criteria of design, aesthetics, plant material, and environmental stewardship.
We are pleased to be a part of the environmental movement and to share these benefits with our AHS members.
Last Call to Donate During Matching Campaign
This is the last week your tax-deductible donation will double its impact! In honor of our 100th Anniversary, AHS’ generous leadership has agreed to match your donation dollar for dollar – up to $55,000 – through December 31, 2022.
Because of our members and supporters, thousands of gardeners across the nation have access to educational programs, awards, publications, and horticultural resources. AHS can connect more gardening enthusiasts to the art, practice, and enjoyment of horticulture.
Please help AHS champion and promote the critical role of plants, gardens and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities.
Great American Gardeners & Book Awards Ceremony Going Virtual
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:
- Blocks in Bloom, a community outreach program in Rochester, NY instilling neighborhood pride through planting
- Landon Reeve, IV, longtime supporter of the AHS through a position on the Board of Directors and grounds maintenance by Chapel Valley Landscape Company
- Catharine McCord of Denver who designs garden spaces for children suffering from mental health issues or trauma
- Steve Castorani whose Philadelphia-area North Creek Nursery was an early champion for the power and utility of native plants.
- Ciscoe Morris, Seattle’s beloved Garden Guru and longtime grounds manager for Seattle University
- Jessica Turner-Skoff, a treeologist at the Chicago-area Morton Arboretum inspiring the next generation of green collar workers with her Planted podcast
- Charles “Chipper” Wichman whose 40 year career at Hawaii’s National Tropical Botanical Garden has been dedicated to the discovery and conservation of tropical plants
- Dan Heims, President of Portland, OR’s Terra Nova Nurseries, breeder of over 1,000 new plant varieties
- Nancy Ross Hugo who, through her floral design workshops, encourages participants to appreciate the unique beauty of every plant
- Michael Balick, preeminent ethnobotanist working to preserve traditional plant knowledge and healing practices
- Grow Dat Youth Farm, teaching leadership and work skills through growing to urban teens in New Orleans
- Leslie Bennett who combats gentrification and displacement in Oakland, CA by creating culturally-relevant garden sanctuaries
- James Folsom whose leadership, dedication, and vision have ensured The Huntington’s place as one of the country’s premier public gardens
- Barry Fugatt, longtime educator in the Tulsa, OK garden community motivated by the desire to “sow seeds into the hearts and lives of people”
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.
Join Our Membership Month Challenge
May is Membership Month at the American Horticultural Society (AHS), and all month long we’re recognizing friends like you for all you do to help promote sustainable gardening and build a community of responsible caretakers of the Earth.
During Membership Month, we’ve set a goal of expanding our AHS family by 100 members by May 31 to bring our programs and resources to more people across the country. To show our gratitude, when you join AHS in May 2020 with a donation of $25 or more—a savings of $10 off the regular membership rate—we’ll send you a FREE reusable, foil-insulated lunch bag!
You’ll also receive all the benefits of membership, including a free subscription to The American Gardener magazine, seed and plant discounts, book discounts, and more.
Support our Membership Month Challenge by joining today!
Five Tips for Buying Great Gardening Gloves
For many years, I preferred doing gardening tasks barehanded. Not only did I enjoy the feeling of getting my “hands in the dirt,” but I often found that working with gloves reduced my ability to handle small, delicate plants with care. As I’ve gotten older, and the daily wear and tear takes more of a toll on my hands, I prefer to work with gloves, albeit the thinnest gloves possible.
Here are five tips on buying garden gloves based on my personal experience:
- Invest in a variety of gloves. You’ll want to own both thick and thin gloves, depending on the nature of the work you’re performing. Thin gloves are affordable and great for quick tasks like carrying bags of soil, while thicker gloves hold up nicely for a day of working in the garden and can be worn under other work gloves when the soil is cold and wet.
- Select gloves with nitrile coating. I like nylon-knit gloves with the palm and fingers dipped in nitrile coating since it makes them waterproof and puncture resistant.
- Purchase gloves in bulk packs. Hand protection only works when you wear it, and it doesn’t do you any good if your sole set of gardening gloves is wet or in the laundry. Bulk packs ensure you have enough pairs on hand and provide better value as well.
- Minimize use of disposable gloves. For sustainability purposes, it’s best to avoid disposables. I try not to use them for routine tasks.
- Reserve heavy leather gloves for heavy-duty activities. Thick gloves tend to make my hands cramp up, so I only use them for tasks like moving stones.
Dan Scott is the Associate Director for Horticulture & River Farm at the American Horticultural Society.
AHS Update on Public Visitation Hours at River Farm Headquarters
As a safety measure based on recent COVID-19 developments, the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm will be closed to the general public until further notice. The manor house will remain open for previously scheduled meetings. If you have related questions, please contact our Rentals office at 703/768-5700, x114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, we would be grateful for any contributions you can make to the American Horticultural Society, which owns and maintains River Farm, and which has lost substantial revenue from cancelled events and programs. Your support will help River Farm reopen as strong and vibrant as ever, once it is safe to do so. Thank you for donating now.
11 Sustainable Gardening Hacks for Your Home Garden
If you’re part of the new wave of home or apartment dwellers looking for resources on starting an edible garden, you’re not alone. While the American Horticultural Society encourages supporting local garden centers, there are lots of ways you can start a garden without buying special materials. Here are some of our favorite sustainable gardening hacks using readily available items.
- Save your citrus rinds and eggshells. Thoroughly cleaned of citrus pulp and egg whites, nature’s cups make great tiny pots.
- Another option is to use cardboard egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls as mini vessels. If the plants’ roots are growing through or out of the cardboard at the time of transplant, just put the whole thing in the ground. If not, soak the cardboard to remove it before transplanting the plant. Small plastic containers such as K-cups or yogurt cups can also be given a second life as seed starting vehicles, but when transferring seedlings to your garden bed, be sure to remove them from the cups.
- With a little extra work, newspaper and junk mail can also be crafted into little pots.
Garden Bed Construction
- For traditional gardens, create a nutrient-rich base layer by collecting yard waste like grass clippings and raked leaves. Scout for bags of leaves left out by the curb!
- If using a planter or container with a large hole at the bottom, cover the hole with a coffee filter and elevate it about ½” off the ground with a small piece of wood. This will allow drainage while keeping soil intact and preventing staining of hardscapes.
- Looking to create a raised bed garden or portable garden boxes? Try using wine crates, old wooden soda crates, plastic bulb crates lined with cardboard, or other topless wooden crates. Just make sure they have proper drainage.
- Determine what nutrients your soil needs via a soil test. Test kits are often available through your county extension office, but you can perform a simple pH test with vinegar and baking soda.
- If you don’t compost at home, applying certain kitchen scraps directly to your soil will help boost nutrients. Eggshells contain calcium; coffee grounds are a great source of nitrogen; and banana peels provide potassium.
- Water plants evenly (e.g., from a watering can instead of a cup). Create a DIY watering can by making small holes in the top of a juice, milk, or detergent jug.
- If you’re unable to water regularly, create a slow release watering system from wine bottles and insert them in damp soil.
- After cooking eggs or vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain. Some nutrients from these cooked foods will leech into the water and can be used to feed plants.
New AHS Member Benefit: 30% Discount off Gardening Books
Thanks to Princeton University Press, we’re able to offer members of the American Horticultural Society (AHS) a new benefit that’s ideal for garden planning and planting season.
Effective immediately, AHS members receive a 30% discount off all gardening books from the publisher. This includes The Gardener’s Botanical: An Encyclopedia of Latin Plant Names, written by horticulturist Ross Bayton and published in February 2020. Other discounted books include ones focused on pollinator gardening and wildflowers, among other topics.
To take advantage of this new member benefit, AHS members can log in to the member portal and access the discount code. Non-members can join the AHS to start enjoying member benefits!