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 “Broadening Our Landscape Vision: Ecology, Culture, and Art,” a series of virtual educational programs that runs from June to September 2021.

The program is developed by award-winning landscape designer and NDAL founder Larry Weaner. The series is organized into categories geared toward two audience groups:

1) Professional Practitioners – Topics range from ecology-based landscape design to culturally reflective landscapes, to the art of making “wild” landscapes legible.

2) Home Gardeners, Educators, and Students –  Topics include ways to create landscapes that are ecologically healthy, easily managed, and beautiful on residential and educational properties. NDAL is offering a FREE program for Seed Your Future and students who may be interested in the landscape professions.
Entering the Landscape Professions, Wednesday, June 23rd, 4 – 5:30 PM EDT

NDAL is offering a discounted registration price of $28 for AHS members on the following webinars:

Historical Ecology with Michael Gaige, Thursday, June 24th, 1 – 2:30 PM EDT

Close Encounters with Larry Weaner, Wednesday, June 30th, 1 – 2:30 PM  EDT

Organic Landscaping with Mike Nadeau, Monday, July 19th, 1 – 2:30 PM EDT

Native Meadows with Larry Weaner, Thursday, August 12th, 1 – 2:30 PM EDT

“Like Painting a Picture” with Abra Lee, Tuesday, August 17th, 1 – 2:30 PM EDT

AHS members can login for an exclusive code to save $7 off the regular price! AHS is proud to be a co-sponsor of this series.
For program information and registration, visit


News & Press

2021 Great American Gardeners Award Winners Announced


American Horticultural Society 

Announces 2021 Great American Gardeners Award Winners 


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 18, 2021) — The American Horticultural Society (AHS) today announced the distinguished recipients of the 2021 Great American Gardeners Awards. Individuals, organizations, and companies that receive these annual 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, horticultural therapy, and teaching.  

Among this year’s winners is Lucinda McDade, PhD, of the California Botanic Garden, who is receiving the AHS’s highest honor—the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award—for her lifetime accomplishments as a scientific researcher, plant explorer, professor, author, and public garden administrator. 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. 

Lucinda McDade, PhD, Executive Director & Judith B. Friend Director of Research, California Botanic Garden, Claremont, Calif. 

* 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. 

Keith A. Mearns, Director of Grounds, Historic Columbia, Columbia, S.C.  

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

North Carolina Botanic Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C. 

* HORTICULTURAL THERAPY AWARD – Recognizes significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy.
Naomi A. Sachs, Assistant Professor, Plant Science & Landscape Architecture and 

Founding Director, Therapeutic Landscapes Network, College Park, Md. 

* 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. 

Larry Weaner, Principal & Founder, Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, Glenside, Pa. 

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.  

Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago, Garden Podcaster and Radio Show Host, San Juan, P.R.  

* FRANCES JONES POETKER AWARD – Recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public.
Lisa WaudFloral Artist, Detroit, Mich. 

* 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. 

Rowen WhiteFounder and Creative Director, Sierra SeedsNevada City, 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.   

Washington Youth Garden, Washington, D.C. 

For more information on this year’s recipients, please visit our 2021 Award WinnersPhotographs of the award winners and additional information about the awards program are available upon request by contacting Katherine Somerville at or calling (703) 768-5700, ext. 121. 

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News & Press

New Member Benefit: Discount on Rosa: The Story of the Rose, by Peter E. Kukielski,

AHS members receive a 30% discount on a new publication, Rosa: The Story of the Rose, from Yale University Press. AHS members can now log in to access the special promo code. This promotion is valid on orders placed on the publisher’s website through the end of April.

While working with the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, author Peter Kukielski realized that people loved hearing the stories behind the roses (rather than dates or data). In Rosa he brings these incredibly varied tales and associations to the foreground, telling the stories of roses throughout history. Follow along as Kukielski traces the story of the rose from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to the modern era including bite-sized stories from Nero’s excess exemplified in a rainstorm of rose petals to the rivalry of English noble houses that led to the War of the Roses to the ‘Green Rose’ as a marker of safe houses along the Underground Railroad. Rosa offers an abundance of stories and more than 140 color illustrations in which roses appear as key players in love stories, yes, but also in religion, poetry, painting, literature, science, politics, and medicine. If ever there was a question about the rose’s preeminent place in the world of ornamental horticulture, Kukielski quiets any dissenters with his thoroughly-researched work.

In her foreword to Rosa, Judith Tankard calls Peter’s work revitalizing Beatrix Farrand’s original rose garden at the New York Botanical Garden “truly inspired.” She adds, “Peter’s readable and engaging volume, an undertaking of many years, is sure to inspire new generations of rose lovers.”

If Rosa inspires readers to begin a rose garden of their own, Kukielski ends with words of wisdom and encouragement. “This book has told stories of the rose’s resilience. Its millions of years of survival provide a foundation for its future. The timeless nature of the rose is safe because it is not a whim.”

Peter Kukielski was curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden from 2006 to 2014. He now lives in Portland, Maine, but his career has its roots in Atlanta, where for over ten years he owned and operated a rose garden design/maintenance business called The Rose Petaler, Inc.

Today Peter is widely recognized for his work toward sustainability and disease resistance in rose gardens, and is author of Roses Without Chemicals: 150 Disease-Free Varieties That Will Change the Way You Grow Roses (Timber Press, 2015) and co‑editor of The Sustainable Rose Garden (Newbury, 2011).

News & Press

American Horticultural Society Declines NOVA Parks Offer for River Farm

(March 1, 2021) – The American Horticultural Society board of directors has voted to decline a proposal submitted by NOVA Parks, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and their partners to purchase an option to acquire AHS’s headquarters property, River Farm, on the banks of the Potomac River.

AHS has listed the 25-acre property for sale so the proceeds could be used to further AHS’s national mission and programs and create a significant endowment to ensure its long-term financial future. “We deeply appreciate the interest of NOVA Parks in River Farm and their proposal to purchase an option on the property, which if exercised, would involve payments to AHS over several years. We deliberated carefully over the proposal and its terms and concluded that their offer as currently written simply does not meet AHS’s needs. So, with thanks to them for their interest, the board declined the offer,” noted AHS Board Chair Terry Hayes

The American Horticultural Society has made its national headquarters at River Farm for decades, according to Vice Chair of the Board, Bob Murray, and has realized that the future of the Society lies in expanding its national impact by selling River Farm, investing the proceeds in national programs and the endowment. River Farm remains on the market. The sale is being handled by real estate agent Sue Goodhart of Compass Real Estate Group in Alexandria, VA.

Bob Brackman, Interim Executive Director, noted that the COVID pandemic has been especially hard on AHS affecting its donors and staff, dramatically reducing many valued programs that were financially important to AHS, and reinforced the urgency of putting AHS on a solid, permanent financial foundation. Brackman added, “Once River Farm is sold, AHS will determine the best location for its headquarters to serve and build our national audience.”

The AHS Board will continue to review and consider offers. Board Chair Hayes reiterated that AHS’s strong preference is that the buyer of the property would maintain it for single use and not subdivide it and ideally continue to allow the public to access the property as much as possible. The Board welcomes further dialogue with NOVA Parks to the extent they are interested in submitting a different proposal.


News & Press

How Green is Your Garden? Take our quiz!

Take our 10-question quiz then click on the link on your results page to learn how you can #growagreenerfuture with sustainable gardening practices.

If you’re ready to #growagreenerfuture, sign up for regular email updates from the 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

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, 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 for assistance.

Happy Reading!

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

News & Press

Full STEAM Ahead: Introducing Youth to Careers in Horticulture

Seed Your Future logoWhen you picture someone who works professionally with plants, gardeners, plant breeders, and landscape designers probably come to mind. However, digging a little deeper, you’ll find that green-collar careers (those in the environmental sector of the economy) can be found in the art, science, technology, and business of plants. In partnership with Seed Your Future, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) recently assembled a group of individuals representing careers that are not exactly top-of-mind when one thinks of plant-related work. As pre-teens and teens begin to consider post-secondary education and career possibilities, it’s important that they see the range and diversity of positions that combine STEAM skills with an appreciation for plants, nature, and the environment.

The panel discussion, convened as part of the AHS’s National Children & Youth Garden Symposium, introduced outside-the-box plant-related positions and the paths that led our panelists to them. Do you know a child who likes climbing trees and tinkering with mechanical parts? He or she could grow up to be a drone pilot like Colby Borchetta at the Morton Arboretum’s Center for Tree Science. Maybe you know someone who likes digging in the dirt, but also has a fierce sense of style. Abra Lee is a horticulturist and designs her own line of garden attire. Aurélie de Rus Jacquet combined a love of plants with an education in biology to become an ethnopharmacologist. She studies the traditional uses of plants as medicine in her quest to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Brad Austin grew up loving flowers and had a strong eye for color and design. He is an Emmy award winning floral designer whose work can be seen in over 60 films and 25 TV shows. From chefs to urban planners to sports turf managers, there are so many entry points into the world of plants and for every interest, skill set, and personality, there is a corresponding plant job.

Unsurprisingly, each panelist described taking different, and sometimes winding, pathways to arrive at their current position. These types of jobs probably wouldn’t be any child’s immediate answers to that favorite adult question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” So how do you as a parent, educator, or caregiver help expand a young person’s notion of what green collar careers look like? Here are some ways:

  • Do you or someone you know work with plants? Adults who love their jobs may be interested in talking with or mentoring young people. The Seed Your Future website has a list of over 100 plant-related careers.
  • Tune in together to the Morton Arboretum’s podcast Planted: Finding Your Roots in STEM Careers or have young people take their Canopy Career Chronicles quiz to find out which career path is best suited to their interests and skills.
  • Does your local school have a club for students that are interested in horticulture, agriculture, or the environment? The National Junior Horticultural Association, 4-H, Junior Master Gardener, and National FFA are just a few national examples.
  • Look for opportunities to volunteer on local environmental projects such as community garden tending, clearing invasive species, or participating in a Citizen Science project.
  • For the highly motivated teen, check out horticulture-themed summer camps and internships on the Seed Your Future website.

News & Press

Keeping organized with DIY garden markers

You’ve started your seeds indoors in your tiny DIY pots and prepped your soil with a hearty offering of compost. Congratulations! You are well on your way to a productive garden this season. Before you transfer any seedlings or direct sow any seeds into the ground, take time to create the tools that will help keep your garden organized. Keeping track of plantings in a very small garden may be simple, but if your plot contains several different plants (and even more so, different varieties of the same type of plant) an organizational system becomes key. 

Garden markers are a great tool that can identify your plants, track growing information, assist in weed identification, and add a little color or style to your garden beds. Here are some ideas for DIY garden markers, ranging from straight up functional to arts and crafts project.

Aluminum tags – Avoid purchasing pricy plant labels by creating your own long-lasting tags from aluminum beverage cans. A can, a razor blade, and tin snips or old scissors are all you need, although a straightedge will help keep your labels uniform.  Be sure to wear eye protection and cut resistant gloves!  Etch your info into the front of the aluminum, or for a more finished look, etch it from behind.  Attach labels to stakes or plants with wire.


Painted found materials – Every good shed or garage has materials lying around that can be turned into garden markers. Bricks, smooth rocks or cut stone, or even broken terra cotta pots will work. Use any acrylic craft paint to label and decorate your marker and, once thoroughly dry, cover it with a clear UV-resistant waterproof topcoat. For the potshard labels below, we used industrial paint markers, which do not need additional weathering treatment. Bright colors look right at home in a family garden plot but this style can be elevated or, with large surfaces or fine-tip paint markers, accommodate additional planting information.


Stakes – These are the horizontal version of the painted rocks above – a simple label sticking upright out of the ground that made from a variety of materials. Natural materials, including branches and logs or bamboo fit nicely in a rustic garden bed. For a more modern look, roll air-dry clay into a ¼” slab and slice into ¾” stakes. Rubber alphabet stamps make the lettering uniform and markers or paint add a pop of color.  

Tips and tricks:  

  • Paint markers work best on smooth surfaces. If you are writing on rough surfaces, consider buying extra replacement tips for a fraction of the cost of new markers.
  • Paint markers contain solvent that can smudge painted materials.  Use only on unpainted surfaces.
  • Topcoat your creations with UV resistant clear gloss spray paint to extend the life of your masterpiece.

Share your #GardenMarkerCreations with us on Facebook and Instagram.