Thursday, October 1, 6 pm – Massachusetts Horticultural Society 2009 Honorary Medals Dinner

On October 1, MassHort will continue its almost century-long tradition of honoring superior achievements in horticulture when Elm Bank hosts the 2009 Honorary Medals Dinner, with the University of Georgia’s Allan Armitage receiving the George Robert White Medal of Honor.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost horticulturists, Armitage is a professor at the University of Georgia, Athens, where he teaches, conducts research on new garden plants, and runs the University of Georgia Horticulture Gardens. He is generally credited with creating the concept of the independent trial garden, the first one of which opened in Athens in 1982. He is the author of ten books, including Armitage’s Native Plants for North American Gardens and Armitage’s Garden Annuals. He has been cited as one of the ten most influential people or organizations in the floriculture industry.

Armitage is not the only distinguished honoree. The Jackson Dawson Award will go to Pierre Bennerup, president of Sunny Border Nurseries, one of the leading producers of perennial plants for the northeast. Sunny Border, headquartered in Kensington, Connecticut, is known around the world for being on the cutting edge of new plant development. Pierre, the second generation Bennerup in the industry, is an integral part of the global horticulture community and has been instrumental in searching out new plants suitable for North American gardens.

Also to be honored is Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Ms. Shimizu, who will receive the Thomas Roland Medal, has been responsible for the overall operation of the USBG for the past nine years and, under her leadership, the widely acclaimed new National Garden opened 2006. Ms. Shimizu is well known through her work as one of the hosts of The Victory Garden and as a frequent commentator on horticultural topics for National Public Radio.

Receiving the MassHort Large Gold Medal will be Arabella Symington Dane. Ms. Dane, a former member of the MassHort Board of Trustees and Chairman of the New England Spring Flower Show, is past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Horticultural Society. She is past chairman of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and a noted flower arranger. Ms. Dane is widely known for her leadership on issues of public education, native plant ecology and conservation.  Ms. Dane was also, for a number of years, a member of the Garden Club of the Back Bay.

Seven other Gold and Silver Medals will also be presented at the event, including Gold Medals to Dr. Robert Cook, Director of the Arnold Arboretum; Maureen Horn, Librarian at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society; Dr. Brian Maynard, Professor and Chair of the Department of Horticulture of the University of Rhode Island; Peter Sadeck, President of Peter Sadeck Landscaping, and Mark Sellew, President of Prides Corner Farm. Silver Medals will be awarded to the Bemis family of Bemis Farms Nursery, and Peter and Leslie Van Berkum, co-founders and owners of Van Berkum Nursery.
The public is invited to the dinner, which will include a keynote address by Mr. Armitage.

2009 Honorary Medals Dinner
Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 1, 2009
Hunnewell Building at Elm Bank
900 Washington Street
Wellesley, Massachusetts

6:00 PM
Wine and Cheese in the James Crockett Garden

7:00 PM
Dinner in the Hunnewell Building

7:30 PM
Awards Presentation

8:00 PM
Keynote Address by Allan Armitage

Proceeds from this event will be used for the maintenance and improvement of the gardens

Tickets are $150 per person to this event. There are also opportunties to either co-host or host a table. You may order individual tickets here. To co-host or host a table, please call Jen Courtney at 617-933-4921. All proceeds from the dinner will be used to support maintenance and improvement of MassHort gardens.