Meet the 2023 Honorees

Hall of Fame: Bill Johnson

Hall of Fame is the highest honor GardenComm can bestow on a member whose life and career has materially affected and advanced the mission and values of GardenComm. 

 Bill Johnson is an award-winning photographer and writer specializing in insect, wild plant, and horticultural photography. His background in entomology and botany resulted in a deep library of images showing the inter-relationships insects have with plants.

​As a stock photographer with a file of over 450,000 images, his work has appeared nationally in more than 1,100 magazines, books and calendars.

​He wrote the monthly column ‘Insect ID’ for Horticulture magazine for 8 years and has written articles for Birds & Blooms magazine, Minnesota Gardening magazine and many, many others. He is the co-creator and photographer of the children’s book Minnesota Bug Hunt, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2013.

​Since joining GardenComm in 2008, Bill has won 14 Silvers from the annual media awards: four for writing and 10 for photography. And one Gold, for writing. He has served on the board as both a regional and national director.

Fellows: Mary-Kate Mackey & Nan Sterman

Fellow recognizes a member in good standing who has demonstrated exceptionally high degrees of skill, professional ethics, and dedication to GardenComm’s mission and values. Two Fellows may be named each year.

Mary-Kate Mackey is a garden writer, educator, and speaker. For 25 years her byline has appeared in most major U.S. garden publications. For the past 12 years she has provided monthly content to the Hartley-Botanic Greenhouse website. Her latest book, coauthored with Kathleen Brenzel, is The Healthy Garden—Simple Steps for a Greener World and features advice, opinions, and photos from many GardenComm members. She has been an active member of GardenComm for 23 years, serving as a Region Six National Director, volunteering in many capacities, and teaching the craft of garden writing in workshops, presentations, and webinars. Mary-Kate is the recipient of ten GardenComm writing awards, including a Gold in 2021.

Nan Sterman is passionate about plants and gardens.  She is a pioneer of California’s landscape transition from thirsty and hungry to waterwise, sustainable, and beautiful.  Nan focuses on connecting plants to people and the planet.  She wears several hats: garden communicator, garden expert, award-winning journalist, designer, teacher, author, botanist, TV host, and producer, among others. She has written three books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. In 2007, she started one of the first gardening blogs in the U.S. for Organic Gardening magazine. She created, produced, and hosted eight seasons of the public TV Show, A Growing Passion. This passion includes a dozen years of board service to GardenComm.

The Green Medal Award: Doug Tallamay

The Green Medal Award recognizes the accomplishments of individuals or allied organizations dedicated to wise and respectful care of the Earth, and implementation of sustainable and regenerative practices.


The Emergent Communicator Award: Acadia Tucker

The Emergent Communicator Award recognizes a member under the age of 40 who has demonstrated exceptionally high degrees of skill, professional ethics, and dedication to GardenComm's mission and values.

Acadia Tucker is a regenerative farmer and author. Her books are a call to action to citizen gardeners and lay the groundwork for planting an organic, regenerative garden. She is an ambassador for regenerative agriculture for The Rodale Institute. Acaida works at the Organic Materials Review Institute in Maine and is the author of three books: Growing Perennial Foods: A field guide to raising resilient herbs, fruits, & vegetables; Growing Good Food: A citizens’ guide to backyard carbon farming, and Tiny Victory Gardens: Growing food without a yard. Acadia also is an ambassador for regenerative agriculture for The Rodale Institute.

The Wilfred J. Jung Distinguished Service Medal: Proven Winners® ColorChoice®

The Wilfred J. Jung Distinguished Service Medal honors a GardenComm allied trade member that, as a company, has promoted gardening, helped expand the profession of garden communications, and supported the overall objectives of GardenComm and its membership.

Since 2004, Spring Meadow Nursery has been the licensed partner to select, develop, test, introduce, and market Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Shrubs. This team searches the world to find plants that have more of what you love about plants in the first place: more flowers, new colors, unique habits, and exceptional disease resistance. Like the communicators in this room, Proven Winners® ColorChoice® is known for excellence and the ability to shine in every garden situation. They have been a proud and consistent supporter of GardenComm for many, many years.