AHS May Merge With APGA, Sell Its Headquarters

Chris Beytes

The American Horticultural Society (AHS), citing “financial challenges on a number of fronts, greatly magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” is looking for options to help the organization to “live on for the next 100 years and beyond,” they wrote in a public statement on their website.

One of those options is to merge with the American Public Garden Association (APGA, formerly the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta). They’re currently in discussions with the trade organization in the hopes that key AHS programs would continue to reach gardeners through APGA’s network of more than 600 public gardens.

But to fund that, AHS would have to sell River Farm, their 25-acre property and headquarters. That, along with some other assets, would fund an endowment for the continuation of AHS as part of APGA. Estimates say the home and property (which belonged to George Washington from 1760 until his death) is valued at $15 to $30 million. AHS acquired it in 1973 and moved its headquarters there.

“Until such time that a suitable buyer is found, however, AHS and River Farm will continue operations and ongoing programs following COVID-19 health guidelines and respecting the safety of staff, volunteers and members,” says AHS. “Our goal is that the mission and name of the American Horticultural Society lives on, long into the future. The AHS Board of Directors will have greater clarity about viable next steps in the coming weeks and months.” GT