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Little Garden Club of Columbus Supports Local Franklinton Farms
GCA Common Ground Collaboration Nourishes a Great Community Partnership

As members of GCA clubs from around the country gather in Columbus, Ohio for the 2023 Annual Meeting, here’s an update on a GCA Common Ground Collaborative Grant project in the city. In 2022, the Little Garden Club of Columbus (LGCC) used GCA funding to help Franklinton Farms distribute over $15,000 of free, nourishing food to neighbors in need. Franklinton, Ohio is an historic and dynamic Columbus neighborhood that also bears the weight of profound challenges, including the state’s lowest life expectancy (a mere 60 years), lack of natural spaces (with only 15% tree cover), and USDA-classification as a food desert.

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Glorious Gardener: Louise Agee Wrinkle

“Listen to the land,” writes Louse Wrinkle, a member of the Little Garden Club of Birmingham, and “let the land speak for itself.” Careful and patient attention to the land on which she has built her natural woodland garden in Birmingham, Alabama has allowed Louise to create a garden in which each element maintains a sincere relationship to the whole. Her unparalleled knowledge of plants and her instinct for wise mentoring and instruction have helped her to guide and encourage generations of gardeners throughout the Southeast and nationally.

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New Jersey’s Great Swamp: A Lasting Legacy of GCA Zone IV Clubs
Garden Club of Morristown and Garden Club of Madison instrumental in establishing wildlife refuge

Sixty years ago, GCA clubs in New Jersey played a valuable role in the preservation of the Great Swamp, an ecological haven only 25 miles west of Manhattan that is a vitally important resting and feeding area for more than 244 species of birds. Thanks in part to their hard work and determination, the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established by an act of Congress on November 3, 1960, and formally dedicated in 1964. The clubs continue that legacy to this day.

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Philipstown Garden Club’s Sensory Experience Garden Table Takes to the Road
Engaging the senses to inspire the next generation of gardeners

From sweet lavender through citrusy lemon verbena to peppery mountain mint. Signage identified flowers and herbs with suggestions of “Smell Me” or, as in the case of lamb’s ears, “Touch Me,” while thistly Teasel attracted bumble bees, fascinating children. Despite the summer heat, more than three dozen visitors sampled the sensory delights and left with a take-away sachet of lavender.

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The Garden Club of Houston Creates Pocket Prairies at Hermann Park Conservancy
GCA Partners for Plants grant funds non-native weeding

In the Fall of 2021, the Garden Club of Houston was searching for a location for their annual “Weed Wrangle”—a one-day volunteer effort to help rescue public spaces from non-native invasive species. They discovered a perfect hands-on project when they reached out to the volunteer coordinator at Hermann Park Conservancy, a nonprofit citizens’ organization dedicated to the stewardship and improvement of Hermann Park. The park needed more “pocket prairies.”

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Connecticut Valley Garden Club Responds to A Firefighter’s Plea for Help
Local Garden Club helps beautify Hartford’s fire stations

Starting this past fall, Connecticut Valley Garden Club (CVGC) partnered with the firehouses of Hartford, CT to beautify the urban grounds around each engine company’s firehouse. Captain Ivan Villalobos, Jr., Chief of Engine Co. #7 is an avid gardener and wanted help to beautify blighted areas around his firehouse, so he reached out to CVGC about his firehouse as well as the other ten firehouses in Hartford, some of which are historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Glorious Gardener: Eleanor Weller Reade
Eleanor Weller Reade of the Garden Club of Twenty

Eleanor Weller Reade of the Garden Club of Twenty has a mantra: “Do what you believe in, have a message, and project it.” This bon mot and plenty more were dispensed in a delightful interview held in one of her five personal libraries full of rare books and prints—most about gardens—at “My Lady’s Manor,” her charming country home in Maryland’s hunt country. Eleanor maintains that there is “plenty of room for original people in the GCA.” She is certainly one of the most original.

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Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The Garden Club of America offers 29 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2022, over $350,000 were awarded to 78 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Twitter for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through the Garden Club of America scholars. Learn more about the GCA Scholarships. Browse the scholarship offerings.

Plant of the Year

Since 1995 the GCA has identified a stellar North American native plant to receive The Montine McDaniel Freeman Medal: GCA Plant of the Year.

Lonicera sempervirens commonly known as Coral Honeysuckle is The Garden Club of America's Plant of the Year.

The 2021-2022 GCA Annual Report is now available. Click here to view the digital version.