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

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.

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