The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College proudly awards the 2017 Scott Medal and Award to R. William Thomas.

On Sunday, March 19 at 4pm R. William Thomas was awarded the Scott Medal and Award.  At the accompanying award ceremony, Bill spoke about his passion for horticulture and how he has dedicated his career to sharing that with students, amateur and professional gardeners.

Bill, Executive Director of Chanticleer, has devoted his career to horticulture and has had a long history of influencing emerging gardeners. He has refined Chanticleer’s operations and its education programs. These programs emphasize leadership training for the next generation of public garden professionals, through the Chanticleer Scholarship, Internship, and Guest Gardener programs.

As Director, Bill has elevated Chanticleer’s stature to a garden of national and international prominence and he continues collaborate with public garden professionals to advance the field as a whole.  Since 2006, Bill has led the efforts of Greater Philadelphia Gardens, a collaboration of over 30 gardens in the region. He has been an important leader in successfully positioning our region as America’s Garden Capital and as an outstanding garden tourism destination.  In 2015, Bill and the Chanticleer staff wrote The Art of Gardening, Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer

Noted plant explorer, author, and Scott Medal Recipient Daniel J. Hinkley commented, “I have known Bill for over thirty years, first making his acquaintance when he worked as Education Division Manager at Longwood Gardens. In that position, while working with students, teachers, and professional gardeners, I immediately saw in him the qualities of integrity and dedication that have endeared him to so many people: his devotion to good horticultural practice and a genuine love of plants, a desire to share the joys inherent to gardening with others, and the ability in written and spoken word to do so in a style that both edified and excited.”

In the words of Paul W. Meyer, the F. Otto Haas Executive Director of the Morris Arboretum, “As Executive Director of Chanticleer over the past thirteen years, Bill has raised this relatively new public garden to national and international prominence…. he has also initiated and led efforts through Chanticleer’s scholar program to encourage and support public garden leadership development nationally and internationally.” 

Bill underscores this theme with his involvement at a leadership level within the American Public Gardens Association and also served as President of the American Conifer Society, and in key leadership positions with the Garden Writers of America.

The Scott Medal and Award was established in 1929 to recognize individuals who have made outstanding national contributions to the science and art of gardening. The 2017 is given as an acknowledgement of “…achievement of great merit, recognition of work in creating and developing a wider interest in gardening.”


Chanticleer is a 35-acre pleasure garden located 30-minutes west of Philadelphia.  Opening day is Wednesday, March 29 from 10am to 5pm, and the garden remains open Wednesdays through Sundays through Sunday, October 29, 2017.  For more information please visit