Celebrating Horticultural Heroes
Liberty Hyde Bailey Award
Paul E. Cappiello
Researcher, educator, plant breeder, and author, Paul E. Cappiello has served as the executive director of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, Kentucky, since 2002. He has led the transition of Yew Dell from the private estate and nursery of Theodore and Martha Lee Klein into a public garden with a national reputation as a center for horticultural excellence. Prior to Yew Dell, Cappiello was horticulture director at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky, for five years.The Garden Club of America recognized Cappiello’s leadership abilities with a Zone Horticulture Certificate of Acknowledgement in 2005. The International Plant Propagators’ Society, for which Cappiello currently serves as Eastern Region president, elected him a Fellow in 2008 for outstanding contributions both to the organization and in the field of plant propagation and production through research and teaching in the green industry. Most recently, he received the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association Award of Special Merit.
Luther Burbank Award
Dennis J. Werner
On the faculty at North Carolina State University (NCSU) since 1979, Dennis J. Werner has been the JC Raulston Distinguished Professor of Horticultural Science there since 2007. Along with his teaching responsibilities, he has established a national reputation for his plant breeding work. His research with peaches resulted in the introduction of numerous improved edible peach cultivars that are now widely grown in the southeastern United States. More recently, he has focused on redbuds (Cercis spp.) and butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.), resulting in several introductions of each with improved characteristics and novel features. In addition to receiving several teaching awards from NCSU, Werner was named a Fellow of the American Society of Horticultural Science in 2011.
Paul Ecke Jr. Commercial Award
President of Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin, Neil Diboll is an internationally recognized pioneer in the use of North American prairie plants in modern landscapes. Diboll took over the half-acre nursery in 1982 and steadily expanded it to the current 200 acres that serves as a retail and mail-order source for a wide selection of prairie natives. Thanks in large part to his efforts over the last few decades, prairie plants have gone from being viewed as weeds to becoming integral components of gardens, meadows, wildlife habitat, and rain gardens. Diboll is also a sought-after consultant and speaker, lecturing worldwide on topics such as establishing prairie meadows, designing with native plants, and the socio-economic benefits of converting high-maintenance, resource-intensive landscapes into self-sustaining ecological sanctuaries.
G.B. Gunlogson Award
While serving as manager of the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Steven Cline founded the garden’s enormously successful pot recycling program in 1997 as a way to reduce the amount of waste generated by plastic plant containers. Since then, the program has grown into one of the most extensive garden plastic recycling initiatives in the country, converting hundreds of tons of waste into plastic lumber used for raised beds and other landscaping purposes. The program has also served as a model for the development of pot recycling facilities in other regions.
Horticultural Therapy Award
Matthew J. Wichrowski
Since 1993, Matthew J. Wichrowski has been senior horticultural therapist at the Enid A. Haupt Glass Garden, part of the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. He has also been an instructor in the horticultural therapy certificate program at the New York Botanical Garden since 1996 and a lecturer at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Wichrowski leads the research work team of the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) and lectures regularly at its annual conference and other international symposia. In addition, he writes the "Healing Green" blog for Psychology Today magazine. He received the AHTA Rhea McCandliss Professional Service Award in 2011.
Landscape Design Award
Sandra Youssef Clinton
Sandra Youssef Clinton is president of Clinton & Associates, PC, based in Hyattsville, Maryland. Prior to founding her own firm in 1998, Clinton was a senior associate with Oehme, van Sweden and Associates, Inc. for 13 years. She was elected a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2005. Her ecologically sensitive designs reflect her in-depth knowledge of plants, which is realized in the richness of the plant combinations in her finished works. Among her most notable projects are the Olmsted Walk at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., Rockefeller Park in New York City, and Rolling Prairie Farm in Indiana, which is media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s 160-acre private estate.
Meritorious Service Award
Recognized worldwide as a champion of ornamental grasses, Kurt Bluemel is the president of his eponymous nursery in Baldwin, Maryland. Bluemel served as chair of the AHS Board of Directors from 2002 to 2004, and has continued to remain active with the Society by participating in numerous committees and task forces focusing on the AHS River Farm headquarters. He has also served as AHS host on several Travel Study Program trips, and given numerous presentations at AHS events. Bluemel's enduring legacy to the AHS is his gift of the four-acre Andre Bluemel Meadow at River Farm, which is not only a beautiful addition to the landscape, but an inspiring model for sustainable garden design.
B.Y. Morrison Communication Award
Melinda Myers shares her more than 30 years of horticultural experience through multiple national and regional media streams. Her nationally syndicated “Melinda’s Garden Moments” segments air on more than 100 television and radio stations across the United States. She is the author of more than 20 gardening books and contributes regularly to periodicals such as Gardening How-To and Birds & Blooms. Myers frequently speaks at flower shows and home and garden events around the country. She has received numerous awards, including the Perennial Plant Association Garden Media Award in 2007 and the Garden Globe Award for radio talent from the Garden Writer’s Association’s in 2003.
Parker Andes has been the director of horticulture at Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina, since 2000. This 8,000-acre National Historic Landmark property was designed by legendary American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, so Andes works to preserve the property's original plans and concepts while seamlessly integrating contemporary features to draw more visitors. Prior to his Biltmore appointment, Andes was director of horticulture and Sibley Center manager at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, for seven years. Earlier in his career he also worked as outdoor garden supervisor at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and as a landscaper at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Jane L. Taylor Award
The Edible Schoolyard Project
The Edible Schoolyard Project was launched in 1996 by chef Alice Waters and Neil Smith, who was then principal of the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California. Envisioning much more than a school beautification project, Waters and Smith enlisted teachers, parents, and other volunteers to transform the schoolyard into a garden that enables students to be involved in all aspects of growing, preparing, and eating food from the garden. Serving as a model curriculum, the Berkeley school now hosts a teaching academy for educators who want to begin edible education programs in their communities. Similar programs now exist at five schools in other cities around the country.
Catherine C. Lavis
Catherine C. Lavis began teaching horticulture at Kansas State University (KSU) in 1993, after completing her master’s degree in ornamental horticulture at the university. She has developed and taught several undergraduate classes and served as an academic advisor to scores of students. Since 2001, Lavis has been an advisor for the KSU Horticulture Club as well as a coach for the landscape contracting team competing in the Professional Landscape Network’s Student Career Days annual event. She has served on numerous KSU committees dedicated to improving academics and teaching excellence and has received numerous teaching and advising awards from KSU and industry organizations.
Urban Beautification Award
Friends of the High Line, Joshua David and Robert Hammond
To renovate the iconic 1.5 mile-long elevated railroad viaduct in New York City for public use, Joshua David and Robert Hammond co-founded the community-based, non-profit group Friends of the High Line in 1999. David and Hammond gained the necessary political and financial support, which culminated in the selection of a collaborative design team that included James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scoficio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf. Construction began in 2006. The first and second sections are now open; the third section is under construction. In 2010, David and Hammond were awarded the Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism by the Rockefeller Foundation for creative use of an urban environment.