Vintage Finds: Award Winner

Amateur Gardening Medal

Inside this box is something that perhaps we all could use, a small validation that our efforts in the garden — all of our triumphs, failures, attempts to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone — are worthy of praise, support, and a little self-congratulation.

Amateur Gardening Medal Amateur Gardening Medal

Both sides of the Amateur Gardening Medal.

I found this medal at the flea market a few weeks ago, a bronze award “For Merit in Horticulture” bestowed upon one A.H.Park in 1963 and “presented by Amateur Gardening.” I’ve done a little research and I do believe that the Amateur Gardening this refers to is Amateur Gardening weekly published in the UK since 1884.

However, when I saw it on display at the flea market, I imagined something like this that we gardeners can award ourselves, although with slightly more honest and apt titles such as, For excellence in keeping a plant alive.

For Merit in Squishing Thousands of Aphids with Bare Hands.

Honourable Mention in Not Giving Up.

For Making Compost.

Too often new gardeners (and yes, even advanced gardeners, too) denigrate themselves for messing up, or not doing or being good enough in the garden. I confess that I do this, too. I have a terrible tendency to apply unfair judgment to myself that I would never put upon anyone else. I was terribly hard on myself this year for “allowing” my garden to be messier than usual. I’d be rich if I had a penny for every person I have met that guiltily confessed to me, “I can’t garden. I kill plants.” It breaks my heart when I hear this because behind that message is the desire to have a garden, but a block to doing so because they’ve already got themselves pegged as failures and somehow not being worthy of the task. If this sounds like you then I would award you a medal that simply says, Gardener.

What would your award be for?

Related: What Makes a Good Gardener?

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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14 thoughts on “Vintage Finds: Award Winner

  1. What a beautiful medal! You must have been thrilled to discover it. I love to go flea marketing, too, and always keep an eye out for plant related items. I recently found a wrought iron armillary on a seven foot tall stand. I could not leave it behind. I asked my husband if he would buy it for me for our 25th anniversary coming soon and he complied, hugely relieved to get that present “in the bag”.

    My “gardening award” would be for teaching 90 minute, hands-on composting classes in my own backyard, coming into my fourth year. It’s so much fun it should be against the law.

    …followed closely by marathon seed saving for hundreds of varieties that grow on my one-third acre – herbs, annuals, perennials, vegetables, trees, shrubs, vines, bulbs, tubers.

  2. Excellent find! I love finding botanical items while out treasure hunting.

    My medal would be for propagation determination of everything vegetative!

  3. Such a wonderful find! My medal would be for enthusiasm, even after over 40 years of gardening. Even the failures are interesting. LOL

  4. What a cool find. The pattern on the box reminds me of the garlic slices (home-grown, of course) I like to put on my pizza. If I ever got an award it would probably be for most optimistic estimate of how many varieties can be grown in a small plot.

  5. I might get an award for finding a place in the soil (or with a fried) for every little seedling I grow – there is always room at the inn even if it’s on someone’s lap – then it’s every little seedling for themselves – survival of the fittest … kind of like when I got a trophy for attendance in ballet that year

  6. I’d like to give myself a medal for whacking invasive weeds in my neighbor’s yard (hoping to keep them from venturing into my yard!).

  7. It’s wonderful, what a great find. I’d create a medal for the triumph of hope over experience. Every year I forget about previous failures – this will be the year it all goes well.

  8. I have successfully fought back blight (3 different kinds) 3 years in a row now. My reward was in my bounty. But I can see myself, standing out there in my garden last year proudly accepting a medal, that’s how good it felt.

  9. There should be an award for maintaining a garden in spite of the deer, with an explanation of how it is done.

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