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Orchestration of Use
From The Garden Club of America Collection at the Archives American Gardens

Many gardens included in The Garden Club of America Collection at the Archives of American Gardens hold a proud distinction: they embody design principles developed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903). In addition to establishing a firm that had a hand in the design of more than 6,000 landscapes and gardens for over a century, Olmsted published influential theories about landscape design that transformed how people organized and maintained the outdoor space around them. Olmsted scholars have distilled Olmsted’s ideas down to a list of six design principles. Read more for Principle four.

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Healthy Eating Encouraged
Memphis Garden Club Plants Teaching Garden for Diabetics

Sun Sugar tomatoes, sweet June bearing strawberries, Black Beauty eggplant, and aromatic herbs are among the fruits, herbs, and vegetables planted this summer by the Memphis Garden Club to benefit diabetic clients in Memphis. The club collaborated with The University of Memphis’s Loewenberg College of Nursing (LCON) and Church Health, a non-profit health center, to design, plant, and maintain the Crosstown teaching garden for LCON and Church Health to offer therapeutic gardening lessons for diabetic clients to encourage healthy eating.

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Recreating Olmsted Gardens at Yerkes Observatory
Lake Geneva Garden Club

According to a local legend, Albert Einstein asked to see just two places in the United States during his first visit in 1921. One was Niagara Falls and the other was the Yerkes Observatory, the birthplace of modern astrophysics. The 1897 Yerkes Observatory is a majestic, iconic building with a rich history of science discovery and education on the shores of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. In 2018, the University of Chicago transferred ownership of the observatory to the Yerkes Future Foundation. Part of the foundation’s mission is to preserve not only the historically significant buildings, but also to authentically recreate the forty eight acres of Olmsted-designed grounds surrounding them. Members of the Lake Geneva Garden Club have been directly involved with these landscaping plans.

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Better Building for Native Bees
Do bees need nurseries? Little bee houses? Cute hotels? The answer is yes.

You may have noticed them popping up in parks—a small structure that looks a bit like one of those little outdoor libraries. The shelves, however, are not filled with books. Rather, there are stacks of small hollow sticks—a bee nursery. Do bees need nurseries? Little bee houses? Cute hotels? The answer is yes.

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Litchfield Garden Club Celebrates Earth Day
A Tree-Planting Ceremony

The Litchfield Garden Club, Litchfield, CT, has a long history with Earth Day, an annual international event held on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. LGC celebrated the inaugural event in 1970 by planting a tree on North Street. Since that date, LGC members have organized various Earth Day events every year. One long-time member organized the first Earth Day parade in Litchfield and continues to show her passion for Earth Day by organizing various ceremonies and activities each year.

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Butterfly Survey
Planting Native Plants, Trees, and Shrubs

Since the spring of 2020, The Planters, a GCA member club in Bryn Mawr, PA, has worked with Stoneleigh Natural Garden on a butterfly survey. Results from the ongoing survey will help the garden planners have a better understanding about which native plants attract which species of butterflies and where best to plant the natives in the garden.

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Adopt-A-Spot Garden Flourishes Again
Historic Cemetery Now Helps Support Pollinators

Piscataqua Garden Club recently kicked off year two of its Adopt-A-Spot garden in Portsmouth, NH, by installing pollinator-friendly plants. Adopt-A-Spot is a city-wide volunteer program designed to create and maintain small gardens in public areas. Last year, in collaboration with the city’s arborists, PGC’s conservation and civic development committees worked together to design and care for a little garden in an overlooked area at the entrance to the historic Old North Cemetery. This year the spot will include food sources for bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects, becoming part of an official Pollinator Pathway.

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The GCA's virtual flower show is open to the public through September 30, 2021. We welcome curious visitors — look and learn!

Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The Garden Club of America offers 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2021, over $300,000 were awarded to 61 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. Learn more about the GCA Scholarships.

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.

Cephalanthus occidentalis, buttonbush is The Garden Club of America's 2021 Plant of the Year.

The Garden Club of America is a proud founding partner of the Olmsted 200 bicentennial campaign.