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GCA Medal Recipients: Medal of Honor


2024 Sir Peter Crane

For his substantial contributions to horticulture, botany, and biology.

2023 Roy Diblik

For being a leader in the New Perennial Movement who has changed the landscape in public and home gardens around the country.

2022 William (Ned) Friedman

Presented to William Edward Friedman for his research on the evolution of flowering plants.

2020 Gregory Long

In recognition of his dynamic leadership and innovative vision, which revitalized the New York Botanical Garden through ambitious capital projects, research, and program development.

2019 Piet Oudolf

In recognition of his revolutionary genius, designing gardens that paint nature with vivid compositions, where visitors enjoy the beauty of plants in all seasons.

2018 Chipper Wichman

In recognition of his visionary leadership of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and dedicated service to the preservation of tropical plants and their habitats.

2017 Alice Walton

In recognition of her vision to celebrate the American spirit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, uniting the power of art with the beauty of nature in the Ozark woodlands. 

2016 Diane Ragone

In recognition of her contributions to conservation, agricultural diversity, sustainability, and food security in the tropics through the collection, cultivation, research, and distribution of breadfruit.

2015 Dorrance H. Hamilton

For her sustained commitment to the preservation of American landscapes and gardens, passionate support to the field of horticulture and visionary leadership in conservation.

2014 Will Raap

For his life's work of innovative thinking, integrating business expertise with environmentally sustainable practices restoring the soil and soul of Mother Earth. 

2013 The American Chestnut Foundation

Presented to The American Chestnut Foundation for outstanding dedication to the restoration of the American chestnut to our eastern woodlands.

2011 Diana Fish

Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club, Zone XII

For seeking the unique knowledge of expert gardeners and imparting it in each dynamic and educational issue of The Real Dirt.

2010 Peter J. Olin

For his service to horticulture and his commitment to connecting people with plants and landscapes as the Director of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

2009 Robert and Kate Bartlett

For their enhancement and preservation of horticulture through scientific endeavors, and enthusiastic support of American public gardens, historic landmarks, and civic events.

2008 Dr. Steven Still

Horticultural educator, who taught at both Kansas State & Ohio State Universities for 32 years as a professor of Landscape Horticulture. He organized the Perennial Plant Symposium which became the Perennial Plant Association, as a method to provide continuous horticultural education for nurserymen and various national and international plantsmen.

2007 James Folsom

Horticulturist, botanist, educator, author, leader and visionary. The director of the botanical gardens at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in California. His passion for horticultural and botanical education inspired his conception and realization of the Botanical Center, comprised of the children's garden, teaching greenhouse, library, laboratories, classrooms and offices.

2006 P. Allen Smith

An award winning garden designer, best selling book author and nationally syndicated television host. Through his commitment to public service he has created an educational program for children and hands on demonstrations, along with his passionate mission of inspiring Americans to embrace the joy of creating beautiful gardens.

2005 Dr. David Lynnwood Andrews

Outstanding in the art of bonsai, in growing worthy and unusual plants, and in bringing together an unrivaled collection of American botanical history, you have made an extraordinary contribution to the field of horticulture.

2004 Daniel Hinkley

The world's leading plant explorer, whose achievements as propagator, author, educator, speaker, and nurseryman have changed the face of horticulture.

2003 Wilson Nolen

For his service to horticulture as a leader in the affairs of the New York Botanical Garden and his outstanding contributions in health related fields.

2002 Dr. Neil G. Odenwald

An educator and professor of Landscape Architecture as well as the Director of the School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University from 1972 until his retirement in 1998.

2001 Dr. Harold M. Pellett

Presented to Dr. Harold M. Pellett, a research professor at the University of Minnesota and founder of the Landscape Plant Development Center. Dr. Pellett is best known for his research into the cold-hardiness of plants which has widely extended the range of area where many plants can be grown. 

2000 Judith D. Zuk

President and CEO of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden since 1990, and a renown leader in American public horticulture.

1999 Andre' Viette

For his vast knowledge, experience and expertise as a plantsman and as a skilled plant breeder.

1998 Dr. Allan M. Armitage

For his tremendous contribution to horticulture through teaching, research, lectures and writings.

1997 Polly Hill

Presented to Polly Hill, for her impressive contributions to American horticulture, which include the registration and introduction of seventy-nine cultivars in eleven genera, and for freely sharing her gardening wisdom and products of her breeding program with students of horticultlure throughout the world. 

1996 Marjorie Sale Arundel

For her contributions to world of plants and her dedication to spreading information about them throughout the world.

1994 Janet Poor

Garden Guild of Winnetka, Zone XI

Distinguished horticulturist, author, landscape designer and educator, whose talents and generosity have advanced the causes of horticulture, botany and ecology in North America.

1993 Michael Dirr

An exceptional horticulturist who willingly shares his vast knowledge and expertise through a commitment to education, active research, enthusiastic involvement and outstanding publications.

1991 Carl A. Totemeier, Jr.

Vice President of Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden until his recent retirement; a national figure in the gardening world. A horticulturist, botanist and plantsman, he has made lasting contributions to gardening knowledge with generosity and enthusiasm.

1990 Elizabeth Scholtz

For her dedication to inspiring people's interest in horticulture. Her remarkable knowledge and enthusiasm has introduced an enormous number of people into the fascinating world of plants and gardens.

1989 Don O. Shadow

In recognition of his many years of collecting, evaluating, introducing and distributing new woody ornamental trees and shrubs; for so generously sharing his knowledge with the public and nurserymen alike in his dedicated endeavors to better the environment in which we live.

1988 Ernesta D. Ballard

For her long and prominent career in horticulture serving the Philadelphia area and the nation's horticultural community; especially her outstanding contributions while serving as President of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, and for her continuing interest in the greening of Philadelphia.

1987 Dr. Norman E. Borlaug

For his undaunted research and patience in breeding a new strain of wheat, and for his continued efforts to mitigate hunger in the world.

1986 Dr. Benjamin Coleman Blackburn

For his long and distinguished career as botanist, landscape designer and horticulturist, and especially for his development and preservation of the Willowwood Arboretum.

1985 Dr. and Mrs. C.L. Lundell

For playing a leading role in almost every important activity involving plants, plant science and gardens in Texas, the Southwest and Central America during the past half century.

1984 Thomas Henry Dodd, Jr.

Nurseryman, master plantsman and naturalist, noted for his enthusiasm for cultivation, propagation and distribution of rare and unusual plants.

1983 William Flemer, III

For his intense learning, exuberant, contagious enthusiasm in sharing his knowledge and dedicated commitment to contributing to the beautification of man's environment.

1982 Dr. Mildred Mathias

To a most distinguished botanist for her dedication to horticulture and her significant contributions through her study of tropical plants.

1981 Thomas H. Everett

For his service to horticulture and a dedicated career for over half a century, culminating in the completion of his New Encyclopedia of Horticulture.