The American Public Gardens Association Awards are the professional horticulture industry's best showcase for the most influential, thought-provoking individuals and organizations. These award winners set a professional precedent for other individuals and organizations to follow.
Click any award title for a list of past winners.
Click this year's winners for award videos of the winners.
American Public Gardens Association confers its most prestigious award, the Honorary Life Member Award, upon an individual who has provided meritorious service to the Association over a long period of time and has displayed an uncommon devotion to the field of public horticulture. The award is designed to honor an individual who has for many years supported the Association through active committee work, energetic membership, and leadership positions and whose efforts have led to the advancement of the Association. Besides working tirelessly for the Association, this individual is expected to have held leadership positions that further the missions of public gardens. This award is generally given to an individual nearing or in retirement. Given the status of this award, it is not expected to be given on an annual basis.
2019 Award Winner
Barbara Faust, Smithsonian Gardens
The Award of Merit recognizes an American Public Gardens Association member who has performed with distinction in the field of public horticulture and has excelled as a public garden professional at one or more institutions. The recipient's accomplishments will encompass some combination of botany, horticulture, conservation, gardening, research, extension, education, development, or administration. The intent is that this award be given to an individual during the mid-to-latter part of an illustrious career.
The Professional Citation recognizes the significant achievements in public horticulture of an American Public Gardens Association member who has excelled in one of the disciplines generally associated with public gardens such as botany, horticulture, gardening, conservation, research, education, extension, development, or administration. Recipients may be at the early-to mid-point of their prestigious career. More importantly, the nominee should embody great skills, innovation, and potential.
2019 Award Winner:
Sarah Hedean, Smithsonian Gardens
This award is reserved for an American Public Gardens Association Garden member who has displayed a truly innovative spirit in the development of an original program and has pioneered in one or more of the disciplines appropriate to public horticultural institutions, including education, conservation, development, botany, gardening, horticulture, research, extension, or administration. The committee will take into consideration a garden's budget when determining the award recipient.
Started in 2003, the Award for Garden Excellence is an annual award given to a public garden that exemplifies the highest standards of horticultural practices. Selected by its peers, the award recipient is a public garden that has shown a commitment to supporting and demonstrating best gardening practices. The criteria for this award, which are given to the public garden in their entirety, include:
- The best designed and most horticulturally outstanding display;
- Gardening practices that are appropriate to a local or regional environment and reflect environmentally informed horticulture;
- Maintenance of commitment to plant collections;
- Demonstrated commitment to the national or a regional horticultural community;
- Encouraging students of gardening at all levels through innovative horticultural practices.
2019 Award Winner:
This award is a tribute to a woman who stood for excellence in horticultural and botanical journalism. Hansell was editor of the New York Botanical Garden’s Garden Journal, the newsletter and bulletin of the Holly Society of America, the American Bonsai Society Journal, and the APGA Bulletin.
This award recognizes an Outstanding Marketing & Communications Campaign that Powerfully Advances a Public Garden’s Mission.
Public gardens have a unique ability to demonstrate leadership in the promotion of sustainability because of their recognized expertise in plants, biodiversity and ecosystem health - elements of the natural world dependent on public opinion and behaviors.
This award is given to an American Public Gardens Association member garden, or coalition of gardens, in recognition of their outstanding dedication and achievements in promoting sustainability through their programs, operation, facilities and/or research. Factors in selecting an award winner include influence, innovation and applicability to the public garden world and beyond.
2019 Award Winner:
New York Botanical Garden
This Award is reserved for an individual who has shown selfless service to the organization through work as a Professional Committee member, Service Committee member, and/or Board member.
2019 Award Winner:
Dr. William E. "Bill" Barrick
Please note: Gardens are encouraged to self-nominate for the Garden Excellence, Program Excellence, Dorothy E, Hansell, and Sustainability Awards. Standing Association Board Members and Members of the Awards Committee are not eligible for Honorary Life Member, Award of Merit or Professional Citation awards.
For questions or more information about the American Public Gardens Association Annual Awards Program, contact Kate Tyrawski, email@example.com or 610.708.3012.