Bill Welch received his B.S. degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. After working several years as a landscape contractor in Houston, he returned to L.S.U. to earn his masters and doctoral degrees in Extension Education and Horticulture. He joined the Faculty at Texas A&M University in 1972. Dr. Welch wrote for many years monthly column for Southern Living magazine as well as articles and contributes regularly to Neil Sperry’s Gardens magazine and others. He is also a contributing editor for the HORTICULTURE UPDATE, Texas AgriLife Extension Service newsletter.
Gardening books have been an important part of Dr. Welch’s educational program. Beginning with Perennial Garden Color ( Taylor Press, 1989), a national “best seller” which goes beyond describing numerous perennials, annuals and roses for southern gardens to explain how to harmonize these plants in the landscape. Because of continuing demand Perennial Garden Color is being reprinted in Spring 2013 through the Texas A & M University Press. In 1990, he authored Antique Roses for the South (Taylor) that pioneered a resurgence of interest in old garden roses and documented their histories and value. The Southern Heirloom Garden was published in 1995 (Taylor Publishing) and co-authored by Greg Grant. From small swept plots to large formal landscapes southern gardeners have inherited a gardening legacy as rich and varied as the peoples who created them. In 2000, Dr. Welch coauthored The Bountiful Flower Garden (Taylor) with Dr. Neil Odenwald. It focuses on cut flower gardening starting with the influences of European, American and Asian heritage and sheds light on the rich southern tradition of sharing flowers. Another of his books with Greg Grant is a greatly expanded version titled Heirloom Gardening in the South (Texas A & M University Press, 2012). More than 500 color images and 530 pages of text bring to life the opportunities to include time tested heirloom plants and design ideas in today’s gardens. The Bulb Hunter, co-authored with Chris Wiesinger was released in October, 2013 by (Texas A & M University Press, 2013) Increased interest in heirloom bulbs has created a market for these bulbs and Chris Wiesinger, is a former student and well known for founding The Southern Bulb Company.
As a Professor and Texas AgriLife Extension Service Horticulturist, Dr. Welch provides educational information and programs for county extension agents, nursery professionals, and civic groups, as well as the general public. The Texas Agricultural Extension Service has resented Dr. Welch with the Superior Service Award citing his successful educational programs.
Dr. Welch has been instrumental in developing the Texas Certified Nursery Professional program and assists that organization within the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association. In 1986, he was presented the Arp Award by the Texas Association of Nurserymen for his contributions to the Texas nursery industry.
He has served on the Board of the Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. as Landscape Design Chairman for the past 30 plus years and has been awarded a Lifetime Membership in that organization. Bill currently coordinates the Landscape Design Study Courses with Texas Garden Clubs and presents their nationally accredited two day courses every six months in College Station. Welch is a past president and an honorary member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Garden History Society. In Dr. Welch was made an honorary member of the Garden Club of America in recognition of his programs and writings on exploring and interpreting our gardening heritage. Zone 9 of the Garden Club of America recognized him for his contributions toward the preservation of our gardening heritage and later presented him with their Distinguished Service medal for his passion, knowledge and unselfish contributions in the name of horticulture. He also received The American Horticulture Society’s Great American Gardeners Award for his accomplishments in gardening communications. Dr. Welch has recently served as horticultural consultant for the Hermann Park Gardens in Houston Texas.
Texas Garden Clubs, Inc through their Landscape Design Critic’s has raised funds with donations and sales of Dr. Welch’s books to support two annual scholarships: one is for an undergraduate student and the other for a graduate student. Each is currently receiving $2,000.00.