News & Press

AHS Announces 2022 Great American Gardeners Award Winners

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 16, 2022) — The American Horticultural Society (AHS) today announced the distinguished recipients of the 2022 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, community greening, youth gardening, horticultural therapy, and teaching.  

 Among this year’s winners is Bart O’Brien, of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden (RPBG) in Berkley, California, who is receiving the AHS’s highest honor—the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award—for his lifetime accomplishments as a conservationist, scientific researcher, plant explorer, author, and public garden administrator.  

 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. Bart O’Brien, Garden Manager, Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Berkley, CA 

 * DR. H. MARC CATHEY AWARD – Given to an individual for outstanding scientific research that has enriched horticulture and plant science. Elizabeth J. Mitcham, PhD, Professor of Extension and Center Director, Postharvest Technology Center, Davis, CA  

 * 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. Atiya Wells, Founder & Executive Director of Backyard Basecamp, Inc., Baltimore, MD  

* 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. Daria McKelvey, Supervisor, Kemper Center for Home Gardening, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO and Sam Keitch, Design and Procurement Project Manager, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia, PA 

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

 * HORTICULTURAL INNOVATION – Given to an individual or company whose innovations have made the field of horticulture more sustainable and accessible to all. Bob Cantisano, Nevada City, CA, awarded posthumously. 

 * HORTICULTURAL THERAPY AWARDRecognizes significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy. Derrick Stowell, PhD, HTR, CTRS, Education and Horticultural Therapy Program Administrator and Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN  

 * MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD – Recognizes outstanding service and generosity in support of the American Horticultural Society and sustainable gardening. Mahrou Akhundzadeh, Volunteer, American Horticultural Society & River Farm, Alexandria, VA 

 * 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.  Kimberley Lough, Agriscience Program Director and teacher, Manatee Schools, Palmetto, FL 

 * 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. James E. Klett, PhD, Associate Professor and Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 

 For more information on this year’s recipients, please visit our 2022 Award Winners. Photographs 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. 

 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. To learn more, visit 

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