Over the years, we have been honored to attend many of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s wonderful Honorary Medals Dinners. The Society has been conferring medals on individuals and institutions regarded as “important contributors to the art and science of horticulture” since the turn of the 20th century.
At its most recent event, the Society presented Peter J. Hatch with its greatest honor, The George Robert White Medal.
Mr. Hatch (also the evening’s keynote speaker) was responsible for the maintenance, interpretation and restoration of the 2,400-acre landscape at Monticello from 1977 to 2012. He is now Director Emeritus of Gardens and Grounds for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. An independent scholar living in Albemarle County, Virginia, Mr. Hatch gardens, lectures, consults and writes about garden history.
His latest work is “A Rich Spot of Earth” – Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello. After the evening’s dinner and presentation of awards, lucky guests were able to purchase copies of the beautiful book and have Mr. Hatch autograph them.
Also recognized at the dinner were additional honorees from communities across Massachusetts.
The Jackson Dawson Award honors individuals who have shown exceptional skill in the science of hybridization or propagation of woody plants. The 2016 awardee was John Herbert Alexander III. Mr. Alexander has been the Plant Propagator at the Arnold Arboretum since 1976.
The Thomas Roland Medal awardee was Darrell R. Probst of Hubbardston, MA. Over the last two decades, plant breeder and epimedium expert, Probst has made numerous collecting expeditions to China, Japan and Korea.
Gold medals are awarded to men, women, institutions, or firms for eminent horticultural accomplishments in the field of horticulture or for outstanding service to the society. Recipients for 2016 included: Karen E. Binder, Executive Director of Blithewold, Inc.; Clark W. Bryan, 14-year employee of Mass Hort as Director of Operations, who retired on September 30; and Hollis Perry, a Mass Hort “volunteer extraordinaire” and member of the Board of Trustees since 2007. Holly is retiring from the Board at the end of the year.
Silver medals were awarded to: Edward H. Elliman, Plant Ecologist for the New England Wild Flower Society in Framingham; Jane S. Hirschi, the founding director of CitySprouts program in Cambridge and Boston; and Volante Farms, Needham.
The 2016 Honorary Medals Committee included Diane Cullen, Gary Koller and Carrie Waterman.
The Honorary Medals Dinner took place in The Hunnewell Carriage House at Elm Bank in Wellesley and included cocktails and a delicious dinner. Proceeds from the special event will benefit excellence in horticulture at the Society.
Congratulations and Best Wishes to all!
For more information about the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, call 617-933-4945 or visit: www.masshort.org.