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    Celebrating great gardening literature

    Book Awards

    The AHS Book Awards

    The Book Awards will be presented at the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet at River Farm on Thursday, June 8, 2017. 

    Award recipients will be announced in the March/April 2017 issue of The American Gardener magazine.  Email education@ahsgardening.org or call (703) 768-5700 ext. 121 with questions.

    The American Horticultural Society honors outstanding garden-related books published in North America through its annual Book Award Program, which began with a list of 75 Great American Garden Books 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 submitted by publishers. A list of previous AHS Book Award winners is available here.

    Books are judged on qualities such as writing style, authority, originality, accuracy, and design 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.
    Recipients of the 2016 AHS Book Awards are:

    book cover imageThe Art of Gardening by the Chanticleer Gardeners and R. William Thomas
    (Timber Press)

    "What could have been a 300-page advertisement for Chanticleer is, instead, a loving memoir packed with extraordinary ideas and a pure celebration of gardening," says Doug Oster, adding that "Rob Cardillo's photography elevates the book from magnificent to masterpiece." Susan Hines notes that "this refreshing book allows readers to meet the 'artists' as well as explore their work, which holds numerous takeaways for home gardeners everywhere."


    book cover imageHow Plants Work by Linda Chalker-Scott
    (Timber Press)

    "This book will make anyone a better gardener because it wonderfully explains the science behind what is happening in the garden," says Anne Marie Van Nest. "Linda Chalker-Scott has a gift for relating complex horticultural science with very understandable and useful language for the average gardener," agrees Mary Ann Newcomer.


    book cover imagePlanting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West (Timber Press)

    Filled with "inspiring photographs, design ideas, and well explained examples," Van Nest finds this to be a "trailblazing book that moves away from the traditional and into a design for the future that uses naturally occurring plant communities." Jeff Cox notes that, "although we can't reconnect to the climax ecologies that have been uprooted by human activity, we can plant landscapes in a way that reconnects people to nature. This is an outstanding book about how to do that."


    book coverThe Seed Garden edited by Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel, with contributors Micaela Colley and Jared Zystro
    (Seed Savers Exchange)

    "This is the only book people will need to grow plants and save their seed," says Cox. Rita Hassert praised it for providing "critical information packaged in an attractive way." Oster agrees, calling it "an indispensable, brilliantly written, and beautifully illustrated resource."


    book coverSeeing Seeds by Robert Llewellyn and Teri Dunn Chace
    (Timber Press)

    "A powerful book,” says Hassert, that provides a "fresh, enticing look at seeds." While the lavish photographs show "seeds in all their glory," says Van Nest, the book also includes "informative discussions that explain the journey that each seed takes." Cox notes that, "when it comes to the plant world, seeds really are the source of everything. And when we look closely at them like this book does, we can see why and it is thrilling."



    The 2016 Book Award Committee was comprised of the following seven members: Jeff Cox, a garden communicator and designer in Sonoma County, California; Rita Hassert, a botanical librarian at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois; Susan Hines, a garden communicator in Hyattsville, Maryland; Jim Long, garden communicator and owner of Long Creek Nursery in Blue Eye, Missouri; Mary Ann Newcomer, a garden communicator in Boise, Idaho; Doug Oster, a garden columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and radio personality based in Pennsylvania; and Anne Marie Van Nest, a garden communicator and horticulturist in the Niagara Falls area of New York.
    The 2016 Book Awards were presented on Thursday, June 2 during the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet at River Farm.