woo-hoo! a medal from mass hort for my contributions to horticulture

I WROTE MY FIRST newspaper story when I was in my 20s, for “The New York Times,” which I suppose by any measure would have been something to celebrate with a bit of fanfare.

Except that I didn’t tell anybody. Not my parents (who were journalists, and would have been especially proud to share the excitement ahead of time but instead were startled to see it there on the printed pages one Sunday morning); not my non-work friends, nor my sister.

I’ve always been like that: keeping things close to the vest to a fault. (We could exhume Dr. Freud for a quick consult on why, but maybe let’s not bother.)

In the spirit of old dogs being able to learn new tricks after all, I’m changing my ways, blowing my own horn by letting you all know that I was just awarded a medal for my contributions to horticulture. Specifically, it was from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the oldest formally organized horticultural society in America.

On Thursday I received the 2018 George Robert White Medal of Honor, the highest honor given by the society, in the latest instance of the society’s 118-year tradition of awarding medals to individuals and organizations for their contributions to excellence in horticulture for the public good.

The George Robert White Medal was established in 1909 and is among the most distinguished horticultural awards in the United States, I’m told by Mass Hort. The first honoree was Charles Sprague Sargent, Director of the Arnold Arboretum, and other recipients have included Gertrude Jekyll, Jens Jensen, The Royal Horticultural Society, and Tasha Tudor, to name an eclectic few.

I was especially delighted about the Miss Jekyll connection (she was the medal’s 1929 recipient). Her writings were some of my first and most beloved inspirations in garden writing.

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others,” she wrote, “is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.” Those words have guided me all these years as a simple mission statement.

So there: I’ve done it. I’ve said it out loud: I won a medal. (Now that wasn’t so bad, Margaret, was it?) Thanks for listening.

(Image of William Nicholson’s 1920 painting of Gertrude Jekyll (c) Elizabeth Banks; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation via Wikipedia.)

Categorieswoo woo
  1. Shana Byrne says:

    Congratulations!! Well deserved for sure. Your endless knowledge of nature is such an inspiration to me.
    The medal is amazing – Do you Keep in your pocket? I would for sure!

  2. Michele says:

    Good going, gardener. Thanks for so generously sharing your knowledge. After reading your interviews with authors, I log on to my library and request the book.

  3. Sallie Rynd says:

    Congratulations! What wonderful recognition of your varied work over the years. Thanks for all the information you have passed on to all of us all this time!

  4. summercloud says:


    Also good job sharing with the world!

    I can’t express in words how much I’ve enjoyed listening to your show, back podcast episodes, and reading your website the last couple of years. It’s so nice to talk to and hear from other crazy gardeners. Thank you for providing that connection!

  5. Pam Collins says:

    I love your podcast and website. You give gardeners a treasure trove of information, advice and inspiration! Thank you and congratulations on your well deserved award!!!

  6. Andrea says:

    Congratulations! It’s always gratifying to get an award for something you love to do, and it’s obvious you love gardening!

  7. Carole Ferguson says:

    Well deserved. Your fellow gardeners so appreciate your observations, failures and guidance all mixed together. And now we add our cheers that you have grown into knowing it is wonderful to share your accolades. We all, the frogs in your pond too, celebrate you.

  8. Shirlee H. Amis says:

    You deserve a medal. You always have such timely news articles and interesting people on your visits on the podcasts. You’ll never know how much I appreciate you down here in Mississippi.

  9. Katharine says:

    Dear Margaret,
    Bravo!–you continue to inspire me by sharing such darn good garden information, keeping me connected to nature and gardens and let’s not forget the photos that always lift my spirits.

    Gardens do make us happy,

  10. Judith says:

    Congratulations Margaret! Well deserved. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for a few years and now listen to your podcasts too.

  11. Tina Knezevic says:

    Awesome news and a HUGE congratulations to on your wonderful, fabulous and beautiful award. It’s absolutely a gift to read your website as I learn so much about bugs, gardening and flowers. Celebrate with your friends and family and I know you will be admiring this great award for many years to come… Display it proudly…..Enjoy!

  12. Ann Williams says:

    Good Job Margaret. Wish my dad was alive to know this. He loved your leadership in a field he loved!!
    Ann, Rex’s cousin Smith

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