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HC's Blog - Industry Information and Inspiration

Women in Horticulture Helps Connect Women in this Growing Industry


Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) is often referred to as one of the first women in horticulture.

Gertrude created over 400 of the most beautiful garden designs throughout the United States and Europe during her lifetime. She called Surrey, England home for most of her life, which is where she ran a modest garden center where she bred and cultivated many new plants which she later featured in her designs.

In 1897, she was the first of many women in horticulture to be awarded the Victoria Medal of Honor of the Royal Horticultural Society in England – the highest award for a British horticulturist. Her impact on the industry is undoubtedly still felt today.

Fast forward to the year 2020 and a major part of the American economic system is the small business. They often contribute to job growth, generate tax revenue and make up a large percentage of the overall American business sector.

A newly released survey now suggests that beyond immigrants and other groups who often comprise the small business segment, a much larger demographic is now entering the mix – women.

State of Women-Owned Businesses

According to the ninth annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, it’s estimated that 42% of all American businesses are owned by women, generating some $1.9 trillion and employing 9.4 million workers.

The report, which was commissioned by American Express, adds that women with “diverse ethnic and geographic backgrounds started an average of 1,817 new businesses per day.” It’s worth noting that 13 percent of these firms are in the professional/scientific/technical services category, which includes the horticulture industry. Gertrude Jekyll would be proud.

“Women play a crucial role in the horticulture industry—not only as entrepreneurs, growers, researchers, marketers and employees at all levels, but also as the largest consumers of home and garden products,” says Katie Dubow, President of Garden Media Group. “As a second-generation women-owned business, I am proud to celebrate inspirational, hardworking and dedicated women and spotlight their contributions to the horticulture industry.”

AmericanHort, the leading national association representing the horticulture industry through advocacy and education, agrees with proudly celebrating women in the industry, creating the Women in Horticulture Interview Series to help provide networking and mentoring opportunities for women in the industry.

The series allows individuals from all industries to hear inspiring and encouraging stories from accomplished women as they chronicle the challenges they’ve had to overcome throughout their career.

“The role of women as business owners and leaders is significant in horticulture,” says Mary Beth Cowardin, Vice President of Marketing and Member Engagement for AmericanHort. “We will continue to help connect women in our industry to foster successful careers and life balance.”

Leslie Finical Halleck of Halleck Horticulture, LLC. agrees. “It is exceedingly important for women to capture more market voice and leadership roles within the industry, which I believe will not only make things better for women working in horticulture, but also help to better serve our consumers,” she says. “When we do both those things, the entire industry benefits and profits, and we all win.”


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