In 1919, twelve women of Staunton and Augusta County interested in organizing a garden club met and drafted a constitution and Articles of Incorporation for the Augusta Garden Club which stated, “The purpose for which the club is formed shall be the study and culture of flowers, and the study of landscape gardening and allied subjects.” The Augusta Garden Club was one of the charter members of the Garden Club of Virginia, which was organized in May 1920. Seven years later, the club joined the Garden Club of America, and it continues to enjoy a close affiliation with both organizations. Three members, Emily Smith (1928-30), Lee Cochran (1972-74) and Deedy Bumgardner (2004-06) have served as the GCV President and numerous other members have held other positions within the Garden Club of Virginia and the Garden Club of America.
The intent of the Club’s original mission remains today with an expanded focus in the areas of Horticulture, Floral Design, and Conservation:
- to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, to promote gardening among amateurs, and to share horticultural knowledge by means of meetings, demonstrations, lectures, conferences, correspondence and publication;
- to restore, improve and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action to protect native trees, plants, and animals;
- to encourage conservation of natural resources;
- to promote civic planting and roadside beautification; and
- to aid in the restoration and preservation of historic gardens in Virginia.
Club members include avid gardeners with a depth of horticultural knowledge, creative and talented flower arrangers, and leaders in the field of conservation. Following the tradition of its founders, members delight in sharing knowledge with each other through flower arranging classes, flower shows, horticulture exhibits, educational programs open to the public, and club programs. In addition to its signature Project Dogwood, the Augusta Garden Club has initiated and supported numerous community programs and projects throughout the past 100 years.
A few of the past projects are:
- Project Dogwood
- Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library archaeological dig
- Gypsy Hill Park restoration project
- Lewis Creek signage
- Ramsey’s Draft Nature Trail
- Gardens at the former Kings Daughters Hospital
- Landscaping and memorial garden at the former Staunton Public Library
- Landscape plan and trees planted at the current Staunton Public Library
- Garden at the Augusta County Court House
- Honorary Barbara Grant Garden at the Underpass
- Gate Flanders Memorial Garden at Greenthumb Park
- September 11, 2001 Memorial Trees at the Staunton Fire House
- Monetary support for the city of Staunton Landscape Plan
- GCA Centennial Tree Project, Amelanchiers (serviceberry trees) planted in Gypsy Hill Park and Frontier Culture Museum
- Installation of cigarette receptacles in Gypsy Hill Park