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Centennial Tree Project Continues to Thrive Ten Years Later
Projects in Texas and Tennessee still going strong

In 2013, The Garden Club of America celebrated its centennial in numerous ways to promote horticultural knowledge and sustainability to members and the public. The GCA Horticulture Committee’s Centennial Tree Project aimed to preserve the past while growing the future. This resulted in more than 22,550 trees being planted around the country. Projects often required creativity, extensive research, and restoration of historical sites—a fitting celebration for the GCA’s Centennial year. Fast-forward over ten years and you’ll find that many of these projects continue to make a difference in their communities. Here are two examples from GCA clubs in Texas and Tennessee.

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Albemarle Garden Club Sponsors Down by the Bog Children’s Festival
GCA grant facilitates nature-focused play in Charlottesville, VA

The second annual Down by the Bog Children’s Festival was held at the Booker T. Washington Park in Charlottesville, Virginia this past October. Thanks to a grant from the GCA Common Ground Collaborative program, the Albemarle Garden Club (AGC), along with community partners, sponsored a fun day offering several activities to promote nature play – a critical element for healthy social, physical, and mental development. Kids explored the wetland garden and discovered hidden stone frogs. They learned about the pollinator hotel, created leaf etchings, had a forest story time, played musical instruments, and created floral bouquets with flowers donated by AGC members. In addition to pop-up play stations, the activities were designed not only to be fun, but to specifically boost cognitive and social-emotional development of children in a natural setting. More than three hundred children enjoyed a carnival-like atmosphere where the focus was learning about Nature.

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2024 Floral Design Conference For the Love of Flowers
Floral Design Experts Share Tips & Tricks

On February 6, For the Love of Flowers, the 2024 GCA Floral Design Conference, showcased innovative floral design professionals and their work. German designer and publisher Klaus Wagener demonstrated bold ikebana-inspired contemporary designs. California innovator and instructor Dundee Butcher introduced Phoam, a natural alternative to traditional floral foam. Designer and urban gardener Dee Hall created a lush arrangement using materials grown near her home in Norfolk, Virginia. Other presentations on botanical arts, flower shows and principles of design rounded out the virtual conference. In between presentations, GCA Floral Design committee members shared their favorite flowers—a delightful way to kick off the month of love.

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2024 GCA Photography Conference Reimagine the World
Four expert photographers share insights and images

On January 25, the 2024 GCA Photography Conference, Reimagine the World, showed photography enthusiasts how to look through the lens with a new perspective. Three renowned photographers encouraged the audience to immerse themselves in the environment, take time to shoot the image and, most importantly, “play around.” Xuan-Hui Ng shared poetic images of snow-covered Japanese forests. Stephanie Johnson demonstrated how to intentionally blur images to achieve vibrant abstract images. Nevada Wier explained the theory behind her captivating travel photos. A fourth expert photographer, Santiago Lyon, discussed the perils of AI when used to generate a photograph from text. Building on last year’s storytelling theme, all four presenters inspired their viewers to pull out their cameras and make authentic, inspiring art.

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Garden Club of America / Royal Horticulture Society Interchange Fellowships
Launch Tomorrow’s Horticulture Leaders

For over 70 years, the GCA / RHS Interchange Fellowships have provided work and study opportunities for recent college graduates in the horticulture field. Many Interchange Fellows have become leaders in their fields. For example, Nigel Dunnett, 1989 GCA Fellow, is a leading voice on innovative approaches to planting design. Michael Dossman, 1998 RHS Fellow, is Keeper of the Living Collections at The Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. The 2022 Fellows recently completed their programs and have accepted positions in the US and the UK.

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GCA in the City Sponsors Bulb-Planting Event in NYC
Young Residents Dig Deep to Add Spring Blossoms to Urban Garden

This past December, on a day filled with holiday cheer, thirty-five young city residents from Manhattan and Brooklyn attended the GCA in the City’s civic planting event at the Elizabeth Street Garden in New York City’s Nolita neighborhood. The gathering, a follow-up to the GCA in the City’s NYC October event, gave busy, young city dwellers a chance to get outside on a balmy December day to beautify a precious green space.

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Bedford Garden Club restores Native Wildflower Garden in Westchester County
Longstanding Relationship with County Park inspires Garden Restoration

The Bedford Garden Club (BGC) is “going wild” restoring the 68-year-old Native Wildflower Garden located in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester County, New York. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is a Biodiversity Reserve Area with many miles of trails, active research projects, and award-winning educational programs that hosts close to 100,000 visitors each year. The Native Wildflower Garden is sited at the Trailside Nature Museum, founded in 1937 and one of the nation’s oldest museums of its kind. The museum hosts thousands of school children each year for a variety of education programs including stream study, Native American culture, and maple sugaring. Family nature programs are scheduled for the public most every weekend. BGC has been supporting the Trailside Museum and adjacent Nature Trails for 86 years.

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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 2023, over $405,000 were awarded to 86 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Instagram for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through Garden Club of America scholars. Browse the scholarship offerings.

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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.

Passiflora incarnata commonly known as Passionflower or Maypop, is The Garden Club of America's Plant of the Year.

The 2022-2023 GCA Annual Report is now available. Click here to view the digital version.