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AHS Great American Gardener Awards

10 06 2009

AmyGoldmanSusieAwardLast Thursday night, I photographed the American Horticultural Society’s 2009 Great American Gardeners Awards dinner, hosted by AHS at their River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.


Amy Goldman won a book award for her latest tome, The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table: Recipes, Portraits, and History of the World’s Most Beautiful Fruit, published by Bloomsbury USA. Goldman (left) is presented her plaque by Susie Usrey, Chair, AHS Board of Directors (right).

HeirloomTomatoBookI mentioned Goldman’s other books, The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds and Melons for the Passionate Grower, in a posting in March here. I have both of these titles in my library and plan on adding her beautiful tomato book as well. All three books are the most beautifully designed and photographed books I have ever come across (and I own 1,000s of books, so I can attest to this without hesitation!). Photographer Victor Schrager’s work is hauntingly beautiful—he turns humble fruits and vegetables into stunning works of art.

Gwen Moore Kelaidis received an award for her book, Hardy Succulents, published by Storey Publishing. William Cullina received an award for his book, Native Ferns, Moss and Grasses, published by Houghton Mifflin. Scott Odgen and Lauren Springer Odgen received an award for their book, Plant-Driven Design, published by Timber Press. This year, AHS awarded two Citations of Special Merit: Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch, second edition published in 2008 by Workman Publishing; and Herbaceous Perennial Plants by Allan M. Armitage, published by Stipes Publishing.BookAwards

MichaelDana&WifeTEACHING 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. Dr. Michael N. Dana, Ph.D., is the recipient of this year’s award. Dana teaches horticulture in the department of horticulture and landscape architecture at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Left: Michael Dana with his wife, Beth, who is a physical therapist.

PanayotiKelaidisTHE LIBERTY HYDE BAILEY AWARD—This 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. This year’s award was given to Panayoti Kelaidis (right), senior curator and director of outreach at the Denver Botanic Gardens in Colorado.

THE LUTHER BURBANK AWARD—This award recognizes extraordinary achievement in the field of plant breeding. This year’s winner was Jim Ault, director of environmental horticulture at the Chicago Botanic Garden, in Glencoe, Illinois. We have Ault to give thanks to for breeding the first orange coneflower, Echinacea Orange Meadowbrite, and the first three-species Echinacea hybrid, Pixie Meadowbrite!

Ronald GassTHE PAUL ECKE JR. COMMERCIAL AWARD—This award is given to an individual or company whose commitment to the highest standards of excellence in the field of commercial horticulture contributes to the betterment of gardening practices everywhere. This year’s recipient is Ronald E. Gass (left), president of Mountain States Wholesale Nursery in Litchfield Park, Arizona.

THE G.B. GUNLOGSON AWARD—This award recognizes the innovative use of technology to make home gardening more productive and successful. This year’s recipient was Soil Food Web, Inc., in Corvallis, Oregon. Soil Food Web, Inc. analyzes soil samples to determine the presence of a range of beneficial soil organisms that are key to sustainable landscapes.

KarenKennedyTHE HORTICULTURAL THERAPY AWARD—This award recognizes significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy. This year’s recipient is Karen L. Kennedy (right), who has spent 23 years using horticultural therapy to improve the lives of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. She is the manager of wellness programs at the Holden Arboretum in Kirkland, Ohio, and also teaches introduction and programming courses in horticultural therapy for the Horticultural Therapy Institute in Denver, Colorado.

PaulComstockTHE LANDSCAPE DESIGN AWARD—This award is given to an individual whose work has demonstrated and promoted the value of sound horticultural practices in the field of landscape architecture. This year’s recipient is Paul Comstock (left), head of Comstock Studio, a landscape architecture and planning practice that is part of the Valley Crest Design Group in Malibu, California. He is formerly the director of landscape design for Walt Disney Imagineering.

CarolMorrisonMERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD—This award recognizes a past Board member or friend of the American Horticultural Society for outstanding service in support of the Society’s goals, mission, and activities. This year’s recipient is Carol F. Carter Morrison of Barrington, Illinois, who served on the AHS Board of Directors from 1999 to 2008. Carol (center), is pictured with former president and CEO of AHS, Katy Moss Warner (left) and Susie Usrey, Chair, AHS Board of Directors (right).

William WelchTHE B.Y. MORRISON COMMUNICATIONS AWARD—This award recognizes effective and inspirational communications—through print, radio, television, and/or online media—that advances public interest and participation in horticulture. This year’s recipient is William C. Welch (at left, with his son), who has taught horticulture at Texas A&M University and currently works for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in College Station. Welch is the author of Perennial Garden Color (Taylor Trade Publishing, 1988), Antique Roses for the South (Taylor, 1990), and The Southern Heirloom Garden (Taylor, 1995). He is co-author of The Bountiful Cutflower Garden with Neil C. Odenwald (Taylor, 2000). He is also the editor of the Southern Garden website and contributes regularly to Southern Living magazine and other publications.

CarolSawyersTHE PROFESSIONAL AWARD—given to a public garden administrator whose achievements during the course of his or her career have cultivated in widespread interest in horticulture. This year’s award recipient is Claire Elyce Sawyers. Since 1990, Sawyers has been direct of the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Previously, she worked at the Mt. Cuba Center, a 650-acre non-profit horticultural institution in Greenville, Delaware. She is the author of The Authentic Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating a Sense of Place (Timber Press, 2007).

ShawnAkardTHE JANE L. TAYLOR AWARD—This award is given to an individual, organization, or program that has inspired and nurtured future horticulturists through efforts in children’s and youth gardening. This year’s winner is Shawn Akard, the outdoor education coordinator for Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School in Alexandria, Virginia. The School’s Outdoor Education Program started in 2005 as a volunteer effort to beautify school grounds using native Virginia species. It has grown to include numerous working gardens that serve as active outdoor classrooms for 600 students.

THE URBAN BEAUTIFICATION AWARD—This award is given to an individual, institution, or company for significant contributions to urban horticulture and the beautification of American cities. This year’s recipient is America in Bloom, based in Columbus, Ohio. This independent, non-profit organization is dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.

On a personal note, as a self-proclaimed “gardener obsessed,” I must say that it is exciting to meet anyone in the horticultural field, whether they are plant hybridizers, authors, or teachers. I especially enjoy meeting the garden book authors since books and gardening are two of my passions!