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.
Nominations are now open for the 2016 Book Awards.
Apples of Uncommon Character by Rowan Jacobsen (Bloomsbury)
“Elegant and insightful, this uncommon work encourages readers to step out of their apple-comfort-zone,” says Rita Hassert. “Excellence is evident from cover to cover, as is the author’s passion for and knowledge of these fruits,” says Anne Marie Van Nest. “The photos are clear and evocative, creating a portrait of each apple that perfectly accompanies the useful information,” notes Marty Wingate. “The colorful description of each apple is spot on, right down to intimate details you only get from growing it,” says Jeff Cox.
Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden by Jessica Walliser (Timber Press)
“It’s a fresh, fascinating look at bugs—an important and unavoidable layer of the gardening experience—that got me thinking about the codependent relationship between plants and insects,” says Susan Hines. The practical, science-based information and good quality photographs that illustrate concepts make this book essential for “new and experienced gardeners alike,” says Jim Long.
Flora Ilustrata edited by Susan M. Fraser and Vanessa Bezemer Sellers (Yale University Press and New York Botanical Garden)
This lavishly illustrated volume brings to life a special collection of botanical artwork, rare books, and other treasures in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden. “It adeptly captures horticultural history through thoughtful, easy-to-understand discussions of the botanical and cultural significance of each piece,” says Hassert. Everything from the high quality paper and appealing layout to the breadth of information makes this an “amazing reference volume,” says Wingate.
The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier (New Society Publishers)
This book “fulfills a significant demand for quality information about growing edibles sustainably for profit on a small community-based scale,” notes Van Nest. Building upon the work of others as well as the extensive experience of the author, “the content of this book is superb and very practical,” says Cox. “It would help any gardener create a better place to grow plants,” says Doug Oster.
Weeds of North America by Richard Dickinson and France Royer (University of Chicago Press)
Staggeringly comprehensive and well produced, “this is a fantastic resource, no matter what kind of gardener you are,” says Long. “I love the way it’s organized—very user-friendly. The photography is masterful and artistic,” adds Oster. Van Nest particularly appreciated that several life stages of each weed from seed to whole plant are depicted with detailed descriptions of each to aid with identification.