NARGS Awards

The deadline for receipt of nominations for 2025 has not be set yet.

Award of Merit: Established in 1965, this award is given to persons who have made outstanding contributions to rock and alpine gardening and to the North American Rock Garden Society. In addition, the recipients will be people of demonstrated plantsmanship. The recipient must be an active member of the Society.

Marcel Le Piniec Award: Established in 1969, this award is given to a nursery person, propagator, hybridizer, or plant explorer who is currently actively engaged in extending and enriching the plant material available to rock gardeners. This may be a joint award if two people have worked closely together. The recipient need not be a member of NARGS.

Edgar T. Wherry Award: Established in 1973, this award is given from time to time to a person who has made an outstanding contribution in the dissemination of botanical and/or horticultural information about native North American plants. The works must be scientifically sound, but may be written for popular readership and do not have to be specifically about rock garden plants. Generally, the award recognizes a body of work or a lifetime of literary effort rather than a single work (see the Carleton R. Worth Award). The recipient does not have to be a member of the Society.

Carleton R. Worth Award: Established in 1985, this award is given to an author of distinguished writings about rock gardening and rock garden plants in a book or in magazine articles. The Award may also be based on an Editor's body of work for a Chapter Newsletter. The recipient does not have to be a member of the Society.

Marvin E. Black Award: Established in 1990, this award is given to a member of the Society who excels at promoting membership in NARGS; organizing study weekends, national, and international meetings. They should also be involved in such activities as planning trips to study plants and to meet other plant people. The emphasis shall be placed on a member who has helped other people to reach their potential in the plant world. The recipient must be a member of the Society.

Linc & Timmy Foster Millstream Garden Award: Established in 2006, this award is for an outstanding contribution to the North American Rock Garden Society for creating a superior garden. This is not meant to be a competition, but to recognize members' great gardens across the various styles and regions of the United States and Canada. Since there is such a wide range of possibilities in style and climate regions, it has been decided there needs to be four categories of gardens. They are: the Container Garden, the Alpine Rock Garden, the Woodland Garden and the Special Garden. Any of these gardens must be a private garden to eliminate unfair institutional advantages. This award is meant to reward the creation of gardens that meet a wide standard set by the North American Rock Garden Society and reflects well on that society. The Millstream award should be submitted with a short one-page essay (300-500 words--that can be published in the Rock Garden Quarterly) with 3-7 images (preferably sent at 1 MB, but with higher resolution backup available if the garden is to be featured in the Quarterly).  The recipient must be a member of the Society.

Frank Cabot Public Garden Award: Established in 2018 this award is given to a public garden that excels in furthering the purpose of the North American Rock Garden Society in promoting the construction and design of rock gardens; the cultivation, conservation, and knowledge of rock garden plants and their geographical distribution; and the public outreach through plant exploration and introduction of new garden-worthy species. The award is limited to great public gardens in the United States and Canada that meet high standards in the creation of public rock gardens. Since there is such a wide range of possibilities in climate and geographic regions, there are four categories of public gardens that may be considered for the award. They are: the Container Garden, the Alpine Rock Garden, the Woodland Garden, and the Special Garden. The Frank Cabot Public Garden Award should be submitted with a short one-page essay (300-500 words--that can be published in the Rock Garden Quarterly) with 3-7 images (preferably sent at 1 MB, but with higher resolution backup available if the garden is to be featured in the Quarterly).

Geoffrey Charlesworth Writing Prize The Geoffrey Charlesworth Prize is given annually for the best article in the Rock Garden Quarterly. The choice of the article to receive the award will be made by the members of a Chapter chosen by the Charlesworth Prize Committee. The Committee should designate a different Chapter for this responsibility each year. All articles published in the Quarterly are eligible.  The recipient must be a member of the Society.

NARGS Chapter Service Award: The award is given to a chapter member "for distinguished service and devotion" to be awarded to no more than two members per chapter per year. The recipient must be a member of NARGS.  The certificate is a beautiful illustration by Cindy Nold suitable for framing.

1.  A nomination may be written up by ANY member of the chapter who forwards it to the Chapter Chair.  It should specifically detail what this nominee has done for the chapter.
2.  The chapter chair requests a second from the chapter Board.
3.  The chair then sends (email is preferred) the approved nomination to Bobby Ward, Executive Secretary of NARGS  with a copy to Cyndy Cromwell, Chair of Awards Committee.
4.  Bobby Ward sends the certificate, signed by the President of NARGS, to the Chapter Chair, who also signs the award and completes the presentation.  Bobby also passes on the nomination information to the Editor of the NARGS Quarterly, Joseph Tychonievich, who will publish it in the Section: Bulletin Board.

The Chapter Service Awards may be made throughout the year and there is no deadline for the receipt of the nominations.

Awards Procedure: Any member of the Society can nominate a person. Nominations for the Award of Merit must be accompanied by a letter stating why this person deserves the award. List outstanding services to the Society, comment on the person's plantsmanship, and - if appropriate - refer to any published articles or books on rock gardening authored by the nominee. Nominations for the Marcel Le Piniec Award and the Marvin E. Black Award must be accompanied by a letter stating why this person deserves the award and listing the specific activities that qualify him or her for the award. No supporting letters are needed for the Edgar T. Wherry Award or the Carleton R. Worth Award, only a letter outlining the specific books and/or articles written by the nominee that qualify him or her for the award. Nominating letters are to be sent to the Awards Chair, Cyndy Cromwell who will distribute them to the the Awards Committee members. 

The deadline for 2024 nominations is January 2, 2024.  To contact Cyndy or submit an entry, log on to the NARGS web site and click on "About Us" and then click on "Members Only Email Contact Page."

List of Award Recipients



Frank Cabot Award

2023: Dalhousie University Bicentennial Botanical Garden (NS, CAN)

2022: Wave Hill (NY) and Wurster Memorial Garden (NY)

2021: Betty Ford Alpine Garden (CO)

2020: Tilden Park Arboretum and Botanic Garden (CA)

2019: Allen Centennial Garden, University of Wisconsin, Madison (WI)

2018: Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden (CAN)


Linc and Timmy Foster Millstream Garden Award

2023: Kobre/Denson Garden (Special Garden Category) (NY)

2023: Lee & Arie Vanspronsen (Alpine Garden Category) (ON, CAN)

2022: Jan Sacks and Marty Schafer (MA), Bill Stark and Mary Stauble (NY), Chris and Jane Byra (CAN)

2021: Tony Stireman (UT)

2020: John Ray (MD), Robin Magowan and Juliet Mattila (NM)

2019: Darren Heimbecker (CAN)

2018: Elisabeth and Rod Zander (CT)

2017: Tony Avent (NC), Nancy Goodwin (NC)

2016: Jacques and Andrea Thompson (CT), Shirley Friberg (MN)

2015: John Stireman (UT), Anton Reznicek (MI), George Newman (NH), Don LaFond (MI)

2014: Judi Dumont (NY)

2013: Ev Whittemore (NC), Audrey and Robert Faden (VA), Joe and Beverly French (NC)

2012: Patricia Highberg (VT), David and Wendy Sellars (CAN)

2011: Anne Spiegel (NY)

2010: Sandy Snyder (CT)

2009: Carl Gehenio (NY), Lawrence Thomas (NY)


Geoffrey B. Charlesworth Writing Prize

2023: Linda Cochran (WA)

2022: Kathy Purdy (NY)

2021: Mike Smedley (CO)

2020: Adam Black (TX)

2019: Glenn Shapiro (UK)

2016: John Mitchell (UK)

2015: Gwen Moore (CO)

2014: Dieter Zschummel (Germany), Don LaFond (MI)

2013: Mike Bone (CO)

2012: Stephanie Ferguson (CAN)

2011: Charles Hipkin (UK)

2010: Panayoti Kelaidis (CO)

2009: Andrew Osyany (CAN)

2008: Kristl Walek (CAN)


Marvin E. Black Award

2023: Laura Serowicz (MI), Roslyn Duffus (NS, CAN)

2022: Carol Eichler (NY)

2021: Elisabeth Zander (CT)

2018: Anna Leggatt (CAN)

2017: Bobby Ward (NC)

2009: Michael Slater (PA)

2008: Ernie Boyd (CAN)

2003: Joyce Fingerut (CT)

2002: Marion Jarvie (CAN)

2000: Jacques Mommens (NY)

1999: Lawrence Thomas (NY)

1997: Shaila Paulson (CAN)

1992: Byard LeRoy Davidson (WA)

1991: Ted Kipping (CA)


Carleton R. Worth Award

2023: John Massey (UK), Paul Spriggs (BC, CAN), Kenton Seth (CO)

2022: Vojtech Holubec (Czech Republic), Elizabeth Lawson (NY)

2021: Brian Bixley (CAN)

2020: Joseph Tychonievich (VA)

2015: Lori Chips (CT)

2014: Abbie Zabar (NY), John Watson and Anita de Flores Watson (UK)

2009: Jane McGary (OR)

2005: Robert Nold (CO)

2002: Rex Murfitt (CAN)

2001: Donna Balzar (CAN)

2000: Verna Pratt (AK)

1999: Trevor Cole (CAN)

1997: Frederick W. Case II (MI)

1993: Norman C. Deno (PA)

1990: Geoffrey B. Charlesworth (MA)

1989: Mabel G. Harkness (NY)

1986: Brian Mathew (UK)

1985: Mark McDonough (MA)


Edgar T Wherry Award

2023: Adam Black (NC)

2021: Al Schneider (CO), Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (CO)

2020: Joyce Fingerut (CT)

2018: Todd Boland (CAN)

2017: Anton Reznicek (MI)

2016: Mike Kintgen (CO)

2012: James Locklear (NE)

2010: Loraine Yeatts (CO)

2009: James Reveal (NY)

2006: Marilyn Light (CAN)

2000: Sean Hogan (OR)

1999: William Weber (CO)

1995: Brian Matthew (UK)

1994: Noel Holmgren (NY)

1993: Faith P. Mackaness (OR)

1991: Richard Jaynes (CT)

1989: Laura Louise and H. Lincoln Foster (CT), Arthur R. Kruckeberg (WA)

1986: Panayoti Kelaidis (CO)

1984: C. Ritchie Bell (NC)

1982: Ruth Ashton Nelson (WY)

1980: John T. Mickel (NY)

1976: C. Leo Hitchcock (WA)

1974: Frederick W. Case II (MI)

1973: Claude Arno Barr (SD)


Marcel Le Piniec Award

2023: Sue Milliken & Kelly Dodson (WA), Esther Wrightman (NB, CAN)

2022: Darrell Probst (MA)

2021: Bill Adams (CO)

2020: Esther Benedict (IN)

2018: Karen Lehrer and Kirk Fieseler (CO)

2017: Richard Dufresne (NC)

2014: David Salman (NM) and Steve Hootman (WA)

2013: John Spain (CT)

2011: Alan Bradshaw (CO)

2009: Harvey and Irene Wrightman (CAN)

2006: Roger and Debbie Barlow, (CAN)

2005: Ron Ratko (WA)

2004: Dan Hinkley (WA)

2000: Rick Lupp (WA)

1999: Tony Avent (NC)

1998: Charles Oliver (PA)

1997: Betty Lowry (WA)

1996: Sally Walker (AZ)

1995: Josef Halda (Czech Republic)

1994: Panayoti Kelaidis (CO)

1993: Rene Duval and Richard Weaver (NC)

1991: J.C. Raulston (NC)

1989: Floyd McMullen (OR)

1988: James E. Cross (NY)

1987: Baldassare Mineo and Jerry Cobb Colley (OR)

1986: Stephen G. Doonan and Phil Pearson (WA)

1985: William J. Hamilton (NY)

1984: Bruce and Thomas Shinn (NC)

1983: Robert Putnam (WA)

1982: T. Paul Maslin (CO)

1981: Wayne Roderick (CA)

1980: Marjorie A. Walsh (ME)

1979: H. Lincoln Foster (CT)

1977: Joel Spingarn (NY)

1976: Charles Thurman (WA)

1974: Rupert Barneby and Dwight Ripley (NY)

1973: Edward H. Lohbrunner (CAN)

1972: Byard LeRoy Davidson (WA)

1971: Hazel and Don Smith (NJ)

1970: Margaret J. Williams (OR)

1969: Lawrence P. Crocker and Boyd C. Kline (OR)


Award of Merit

2023: Betty Spar (AZ), Paul Spriggs (BC, CAN), Darwin Carr (NS, CAN)

2022: Jeremy Schmidt (NC)

2021: Mariel Tribby (MO), Nick Courtens (CO), Gayle Lehman (CO)

2020: Peter George (MA), Michael Guidi (CO)

2019: Carol Clark (CAN)

2018: Bodil Larsen (CAN)

2017: David White (NC), Tim Alderton (NC)

2016: Kenton Seth (CO), Nicola Ripley (CO)

2015: Leonard Lehman (PA)

2014: Robin Magowan (NM), Ben Burr (NY), Bill Adams (CO), Daniel Dillon (CAN)

2013: Laura Serowicz (MI), Dick Bartlett (CO), Grazyna Grauer (OH), Randy Tatroe (CO)

2012: Alice Nicolson (VA), Al Deurbrouck (PA), Michael Slater (PA)

2011: Cheryl Philstrom (MN), Jacques Thompson (MI)

2010: Mike Kintgen (CO), Ed Glover (WI), Nick Klise and Morris West (PA)

2009: Jan and David Dobak (OR), Phyllis Gustafson (OR), Richard Rosenberg (NY)

2007: Joyce Fingerut (CT), John Bieber (NY)

2006: Bernard Jackson (CAN)

2005: Iza Goroff (WI)

2004: Charles Griffith (MN), Bobby Ward (NC)

2003: Tony Reznicek (MI)

2002: Harry Dewey (VA)

2001: James Jones (MA)

2000: Patricia and John Bender (WA)

1999: Robert Bartolomei (NY), William Weber (CO)

1998: Jane McGary (OR), Andrew Pierce (CO), Thomas W. Stuart (NY), Wayne Roderick (CA)

1997: Gwen Kelaidis (CO), Alice Lauber (WA)

1996: Helga Andrews (MA), Don Humphrey (VA), David Vesall (MN), Carole Wilder (MN)

1995: Marion (Marnie) Flook (MD), James Minogue (VA)

1994: Ev Whittemore (NC), Barry Yinger (PA)

1993: Nancy Ballard (WA), Waid Vanderpoel (IL)

1992: Robert Means (MA)

1991: John Wurdack (MD)

1990: Catherine Hull (MA)

!989: Carl Gehenio (PA), Howard W. Pfeifer (CT)

1988: Howard N. Porter (CT)

1987: Joan Sander Benfield, Harry Butler (OH), Geoffrey B. Charlesworth (MA)

1985: Donald E. Havens (WI), Norman Singer (MA)

1984: Marvin E. Black (WA)

1983: Betty Ann Mech (MN)

1982: Francis H. Cabot (NY), Panayoti Kelaidis (CO), George M. Schenk (WA), Sharon F. Sutton (WA)

1981: Hans Asmus (WI), Bozidar ‘Ted’ Berginc (WI), Victor Reiter (CA), Aline Strutz (AK)

1980: Olga and Clifford G. Lewis (WA), Jeanne and Milton S. Mulloy (CT)

1979: Laura Louise Foster (CT)

1978: Norman C. Deno (PA), Madalene Modic (PA), Brian O. Mulligan (WA), Sallie Allen (WA)

1977: Elmer Baldwin (NY), Katheryne E. Boydston (MI), Henry R. Fuller (CT), Frances Kinne Roberson (WA)

1976: Anita Kistler (PA), James McPhail and Bob Woodward (CAN), Lee M. Raden (PA)

1974: Richard Redfield (NJ)

1973: Ellie B. Spingarn (CT), Roxie Gevjan (PA), Bernard Harkness (NY)

1972: Alex D. Reid (NJ)

1971: Elizabeth Lawrence (NC)

1970: H. Lincoln Foster (CT), Albert Merle Sutton (WA), John P. Osborne (CT)

1969: Betty Jane Haywood (ME), Robert M. Senior (OH)

1968: Dorothy Ebel Hansell (NJ), Zenon Schreiber (NJ)

1967: Grace F. Dowbridge (ME), Doretta Klaber (PA), Frank H. Rose (MT), Mrs. Lester Rowntree (CA)

1966: Edith and Carl S. English, Jr. (WA), Harold Epstein (NY), Carleton R. Worth (NY)

1965: Claude Arno Barr (SD), Mrs. A.C.U. Berry (OR), Will Curtis (MA), Guy G. Nearing (NY), Edgar T. Wherry (PA)


Special Award

2023: Dalhousie Agricultural Campus Bicentennial Rock Garden (NS, CAN)


Current as of June 2023

Thanks to Tony Avent for compiling the list.