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  • Great American Gardeners

    Honoring Horticultural Heroes

    Great American Gardeners

    History

    The AHS Awards program was initiated in 1953 originally offering four awards; Horticultural Writing Award, Professional Award, Teaching Award, and Scientific Award. It has grown and evolved to the current Great American Gardeners Awards Program offering a total of 15 awards. Six awards are offered every other year while nine are offered annually, each to individuals or organizations exemplifying the art, science, and environmental responsibility of horticulture in North America.

    Description of Awards

    Liberty Hyde Bailey Award

    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.

    Named after Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954), horticulturist, educator, author. First awarded in 1958.

    Luther Burbank Award (odd years only)

    Recognizes extraordinary achievement in the field of plant breeding.

    Named for Luther Burbank (1849-1926), legendary American plant breeder. First awarded in 1993.

    H. Marc Cathey Award (even years only)

    Recognizes outstanding scientific research that has enriched the field of horticulture.

    Named for H. Marc Cathey, researcher, horticulturist, administrator. Formerly known as the Scientific Award, it was first awarded in 1953.

    Paul Ecke Jr. Commercial Award

    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.

    Named for Paul Ecke Jr. (1925-2002), innovator, facilitator, businessman. Formerly known as the Commercial Award, it was first awarded in 1971.

    G. B. Gunlogson Award (odd years only)

    Recognizes the innovative use of technology to make home gardening more productive and successful.

    Named for Gunnlauger Biarni Gunlogson (1887-1983), Engineer, Conservationist.

    Horticultural Therapy Award (odd years only)

    Recognizes significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy.

    First awarded in 1985.

    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.

    First awarded in 1974. Previously given to individual or company.

    Meritorious Service 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.

    First awarded in 1980.

    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.

    Named for Benjamin Yoe Morrison (1891-1966), Landscape Architect, Plant Breeder, Artist. Formerly known as the Horticultural Communication Award, it was first awarded in 1987. This award merged with the Horticultural Writing Award (which debuted in 1953) in 2005.

    Frances Jones Poetker Award (even years only)

    Recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public.

    Named for Frances Jones Poetker, floral designer, author, lecturer. First awarded in 1988.

    Professional Award

    Given to a public garden administrator whose achievements during the course of his or her career have cultivated widespread interest in horticulture.

    First awarded in 1953.

    Catherine H. Sweeney Award (even years only)

    Recognizes extraordinary and dedicated philanthropic efforts in support of the field of horticulture.

    Named for Catherine H. Sweeney (1914-1995), botanist, philanthropist, preservationist. First awarded in 1985.

    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.

    Named for Jane L. Taylor, youth advocate, horticulturist, educator. First awarded in 2000.

    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.

    First awarded in 1953.

    Urban Beautification Award

    Given to an individual, institution, or company for significant contributions to urban horticulture and the beautification of American cities.

    First awarded in 1985.