AHS Book Awards

 

Each year, the American Horticultural Society honors outstanding garden-related books published in North America through its annual Book Award Program. This annual award program originated with a list of 75 Great American Garden Books that was published as part of the Society’s celebration of its 75th anniversary in 1997. 

Each year since then, a distinguished committee of garden communicators selects the award recipients from among the year’s new books nominated by publishers. Books are judged on qualities such as writing style, authority, accuracy, and physical quality. Because of this focus on the overall quality of the winning books, the award is presented jointly to the author and publisher of each book.

AHS’s 2024 Book Award Committee was chaired by Viveka Neveln, garden editor for BHG.com in Des Moines, Iowa.  Other committee members are Scott Aker, a garden communicator and director of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens in Wyoming; Perla Sofía Curbelo-Santiago, a garden communicator in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Christine Froelich, a horticulturist, landscape designer, and consultant in the Rochester, New York, area ; Kim Toscano Holmes, a freelance communicator and horticulturist based in Stillwater, Oklahoma; Jim Long, a garden book author and nursery owner from Blue Eye, Missouri; and Lucy Mercer, a garden writer and blogger in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nominations for the 2024 book awards, which are open to gardening books published in calendar year 2023, are now closed. Information about nominations for the 2025 book awards will be updated later in 2024. To read more about the nominating process, click here.

Below are the four winners of the 2024 AHS Book Awards

Dry-Climate Gardening

by Noelle Johnson (Cool Springs Press)

Scott Aker praised this book for having “broader applicability than many other dry-land gardening books that I’ve run across before,” as well as for “clearly explaining the thought process you need to go through when you garden in a dry climate.” Christine Froelich admired how Johnson “framed the information in a way that is really easy to understand. It’s sort of like she’s kind of your friend, you know, holding your hand as you read along.”  Curbelo-Santiago says the book included a lot of information relevant to gardeners in tropical climates.

 

 

The Seven-Step Homestead

by Leah M. Webb (Storey Publishing)

In Jim Long’s assessment, this new addition to the pantheon of homesteading books “has wide appeal to people starting to look at ways to be more self-sufficient.” Kim Toscano Holmes agreed, pointing out that the information presented “builds on itself so we’re not repeating things that we learned in chapter one, we’re just adding and adding. I thought it was very well done.” Lucy Mercer praised the design and images in the book, which she says complemented the text.

 

 

Tiny + Wild

by Graham Laird Gardener (Cool Springs Press)

Committee members liked the crisp design and clear photos in this book, as well as the approachable scale of the many different projects the author described. “It’s like the scrappy little, ‘you can do it too’ kind of guide,” says Mercer. “If I had to recommend a book to somebody who wanted to grow a meadow garden or a native plants garden, no matter what size their property, I’d say go with Tiny + Wild.” Viveka Neveln praised the design and layout for helping to “break projects up into manageable, bite-sized pieces.”

 

 

The Vegetable Garden Problem Solver Handbook

by Susan Mulvihill (Cool Springs Press)

This book received high marks from the committee for its authoritativeness, excellent resources, and high-quality images. “I feel this is widely applicable to gardeners of any kind, from beginners to experienced,” says Long. “Susan’s voice is very warm and authoritative, so it’s just like having a reassuring friend who is walking you through the garden,” adds Mercer.  “I really appreciate it as a practical book…that I could take it with me to the garden and check problems using the high-resolution photos,” says Curbelo-Santiago. Froelich agrees: “This is the kind of book that would get very dirty because I’d be taking it out in the garden.”

Honorable Mentions

Edible Houseplants by Laurelynn G. Martin and Byron E. Martin (Storey Publishing)

Firescaping Your Home by Adrienne Edwards and Rachel Schleiger (Timber Press)

Flower Bugs by Angella Moorehouse (Pollination Press)

Prairie Up by Benjamin Vogt (3 Fields Books)

Wildscape by Nancy Lawson (Princeton Architectural Press)

 

See the 2023 award winners. View a list of all previous AHS Book Award winners.

For more information about the awards, email editor@ahsgardening.org.