Hall of Fame
Membership in the Hall of Fame is the highest honor GardenComm can bestow on a member whose life and career has materially reflected and advanced the objectives of GardenComm. Hall of Fame candidates are nominated by the membership, recommended by the Honors Committee and elected by the Board of Directors. Members of the Hall of Fame are excused from dues. Self-nominations are welcome.
A devoted educator, R. William “Bill” Thomas loves teaching about plants - in a classroom or garden, through talks and interviews, and by writing articles and books. Bill spent 26 years in the Education and Horticulture Departments at Longwood Gardens (2008 Wilfred J. Jung Distinguished Service Medal recipient). In 2003, he became Executive Director of Chanticleer (Jung Medal 2007). Bill emphasizes an approach sensitive to the environment and to Chanticleer’s history, as well as educating gardeners. The organization now provides public garden scholarships, staff exchanges, and internships including the year-long Christopher Lloyd Scholarship for an American horticulturist to train at Great Dixter.
Bill discovered his fondness for instruction as University of Wisconsin Professor Edward Hasselkus’ graduate Teaching Assistant from 1974 to 1975. Having somehow avoided English classes, Bill found teaching came more easily than writing. His first article was “Trees of the Campus” for the Wisconsin Alumnus. This was his introduction to being edited and he barely recognized the printed piece. At Longwood Gardens, he learned writing from the red pens of Colvin Randall and Leslie Spraker May. GardenComm Fellow Jean Byrne edited Bill’s first article for the Green Scene, taking the lead paragraph from the middle of his original draft.
Bill’s introduction to Garden Writers came when his Longwood supervisor Darrel Apps asked him to be a symposium bus captain. He later joined the Board at the urging of Longwood’s Director and GardenComm Fellow Fred Roberts. Bill served on the Board for seven years, including as Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice-President, and co-chaired the 2000 (G2K) national meeting. Through GardenComm connections, Bill received writing assignments in numerous magazines and for several books including The Art of Gardening (Timber), Ortho’s Guide to Vines and Climbers (Meredith), Growing Conifers (Brooklyn Botanic), Trees and Shrubs (Hearst), and Trees (Time-Life).
He is the recipient of the 2017 Scott Medal and Award, the American Horticultural Society Professional Award, the American Horticultural Society Book Award, American Conifer Society Award of Merit for Dedicated Support and became a GardenComm Fellow in 2010. Bartram’s Garden, the Delaware Center for Horticulture, and Wave Hill have honored Chanticleer and Bill for educational efforts.
Having spent his career at two gardens that highly value and respect GardenComm and its members, Bill understands and celebrates the symbiotic relationship between public gardens and horticultural communicators.
|Hall of Fame||Year Honored||Additional Honors|
|Rob Cardillo||2015||Fellow, 2002|
|Brian Minter||2014||Fellow, 2002|
|Irene Virag||2012||Fellow, 2005|
|Alan & Linda Detrick||2010||Fellow, 2005|
|Rosalind Creasy||2009||Fellow, 1999|
|Barbara Lawton||2008||Fellow, 2001|
|Walter Chandoha||2006||Fellow, 1997|
|Ed Hume||2005||Fellow, 1995|
|Jeff Lowenfels||2004||Fellow, 1998|
|Frances Tanenbaum||2004||Fellow, 1997|
|Theodore Marston||2003||Fellow, 1989|
|Brent & Becky Heath||2002|
|G. "Doc" & Katy Abraham||1999||Fellow, 1979|
|Elvin McDonald||1998||Fellow, 1983|
|James W. Wilson||1995||Fellow, 1988|
|Rachel Synder||1990||Fellow, 1981|
|Art Kozelka||1988||Fellow, 1977|
|Carlson B. Lees||1986||Fellow, 1981|
|Dr. Cynthia Wescott||1982||Honorary Member, 1993|
|James Underwood Crockett||1981||Fellow, 1977|
|Isabell Zucker||1981||Fellow, 1977|