The American Horticultural Society (AHS) is pleased to announce that Allan M. Armitage has been named the 2012 recipient of the Society’s most prestigious award, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award. On Thursday, June 7, 2012, the AHS will honor Armitage and the other 2012 award recipients during the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet, held at the Society’s headquarters at River Farm in Alexandria, Va.
The award is one of 12 Great American Gardeners Awards that the AHS presents annually to individuals, organizations and businesses that represent the best in American gardening. Each of the recipients has contributed significantly to fields such as scientific research, garden communication, landscape design, youth gardening, teaching and conservation.
The Liberty Hyde Bailey 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.
Readily recognized by his trademark wide-brimmed hat, Armitage has made substantial contributions to all eight fields recognized by this award over the course of his three-decade-long career, influencing academia, the horticultural industry and home gardening in lasting and meaningful ways.
As a University of Georgia (UGA) horticulture professor, Armitage has taught and mentored countless students, many of whom have gone on to become accomplished horticulturists. His teaching abilities alone have earned him numerous awards, including the AHS Teaching Award in 1994. He is also a sought-after speaker outside the classroom, imparting his infectious enthusiasm for plants to audiences all over the world.
At UGA, Armitage also helped establish a trial garden for new plant varieties in 1982. Today, this garden is not only a destination for growers and plant lovers, but it also provides valuable performance data for hundreds of new varieties. Each year, Armitage spotlights the most outstanding heat- and humidity-tolerant plants through the Athens Select program. He is credited with introducing several new plant varieties discovered through the trial gardens.
The 13 books Armitage has written are a testament to the diverse plant palette his passion and knowledge encompass, including annuals, herbaceous perennials, cut flowers, natives, woody plants, vines and greenhouse crops. Armitage’s titles have become trusted resources for professional horticulturists and home gardeners alike. Additionally, he has written hundreds of articles for horticulture journals, gardening magazines, and trade publications, including Greenhouse Grower magazine. His photo library of thousands of plants serves as a source for websites, plant labels and publications.
Armitage’s work in the field of commercial cut flower production inspired the formation of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, a professional organization that now consists of more than 800 members, and his work in bedding plant production has resulted in advancements in floriculture. He also has held leadership roles in various horticultural organizations, including serving on the AHS Board of Directors for several years.
Among Armitage’s many awards are the Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America; the Award of Excellence given by the National Garden Clubs, Inc.; and the Award of Merit from the Perennial Plant Association. In 2007, he was the recipient of the Scott Medal and Award given by the Scott Foundation in Swarthmore, Penn.
The full list of this year’s Great American Gardeners Award recipients includes:
Allan M. Armitage– Liberty Hyde Bailey Award
Frank A. Blazich– Dr. H. Marc Cathey Award
J. Frank Schmidt III– Paul Ecke Jr. Commercial Award
Richard W. Shaw– Landscape Design Award
Don E. Riddle, Jr.– Meritorious Service Award
Tomasz Aniśko– B.Y. Morrison Communication Award
Laura Dowling– Frances Jones Poetker Award
Shane Smith– Professional Award
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Children’s Garden– Jane L. Taylor Award
Addie Kinghorn– Teaching Award
Smithsonian Gardens– Urban Beautification Award