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Celebrating Our First GCA “Glorious Gardener”


November 30, 2022

Approaching her 100th birthday, Hope Porter advocates for Planet Earth

The Garden Club of America. Garden Create Advocate. These words have guided the lives of some special GCA club members for many years. As they approach their 100th birthday, we celebrate these Glorious Gardeners in their efforts to tend Planet Earth.

Hope Porter, a member since 1956 of The Garden Club of America and The Warrenton Garden Club is the very epitome of an effective advocate for the conservation of open land in Fauquier County, Virginia. For over 60 years, she has been an “accidental activist” when it comes to the preservation of the glorious countryside, writing two books chronicling the fight to protect open land. At age 98 she shows no sign of letting up.

Porter started her career in land preservation in the 1940s when she and her husband realized that suburban sprawl was headed to rural Fauquier County. With like-minded neighbors, they were able to establish the county’s first zoning at a time when any kind of land use planning was a rarity. Twenty years on, Porter was one of the leaders in the fight against the massive North Wales development project that would have impacted 4100 acres and over 32,000 people. In the 1970s, a new tool became available: voluntary conservation easements on private property. Porter and many others worked with local organizations like the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to protect hundreds of thousands of acres of open land in the Piedmont from future development.  

As a result, she has received many awards including the GCA Zone VII Conservation Award in 1981 and the GCV De Lacy Gray Memorial Medal for Conservation in 1978. She has been recognized in Fauquier County as Citizen of the Decade (1989), Citizen of the Year (2007), a Heritage Hero (2011), and with the Kitty Smith Award for Conservation (2019). 

Porter remains active in the community and continues writing letters to the local paper weighing in on conservation matters. She also supports her local community through her watercolors of Warrenton which have been made into notecards. And she still enjoys working in her garden. She is a Glorious Gardener indeed.


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