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News: The Garden Club of Alexandria and the City of Alexandria, VA


September 10, 2019

“A Model Public-Private Partnership”

Celebrating the opening of the Ramsay House garden at the Alexandria Tourist Center, The Garden Club of Alexandria (TGCA) cut the ribbon at a ceremony in June. TGCA collaborated with the city of Alexandria, VA on this three-year renovation project.

The completed garden includes new patios with memorial bricks, an accessible pathway and patio, native and sustainable plants to provide year-round color, and the only cell phone charging station in an Alexandria park. The historic 18th century Ramsay House, along with its garden entrance, serves as the city’s front door for visitors, residents, and guests.

The Ramsey House is the oldest house in Alexandria and a “much loved icon” of the city with importance in colonial history. William Ramsay was one of the founding trustees of the city and was married to a cousin of George Washington. 

The ribbon cutting ceremony included recognition and awards from The Garden Club of America to the renovation’s professional team for “Horticulture, Historic Preservation, and Civic Improvement.” The Garden Club of Alexandria’s collaboration with the city began ten years ago when it was approached about helping with the garden which consisted mostly of overgrown boxwoods. A steering committee was formed and the garden club was able to raise funds by hosting luncheon events, selling memorial bricks, and including named benches and border gardens in the garden design. 

The project also received support from the city’s “Parknership” program, the Historic Alexandria Foundation, the Virginia Sargeant Reynolds Foundation, and donations from the citizens of Alexandria. The new garden design includes three courtyards surrounded by professionally landscaped areas with shade trees, benches, a water fountain, a handicap accessible walkway, and an irrigation system. The courtyards provide a place where people gather for tours and where tourists and citizens alike can sit and rest, have a drink of water, and even charge their phones with the new charging station. The Garden Club of Alexandria will continue to be in charge of the on-going maintenance of the garden in partnership with the city. 

The City of Alexandria, Virginia has become more beautiful and welcoming than ever thanks to the city’s collaboration with The Garden Club of Alexandria.

Top photo: The Ramsay House Visitors Center garden was officially reopened on Wednesday morning, June 12. Garden Club of Alexandria members and co-chairs of the project Vici Boguess, Betsy Huffman, and Virginia Banchoff are joined by the construction team that included construction manager Donnie Simpson, J&J Landscape Management Inc. president James H. Derrington Jr, and landscape architect Joan Honeyman for the ribbon cutting. 

Above photo: More than 70 guests gathered to hear remarks from Vice-Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilman Mo Seifeldein, and Tom Kaiden from Visit Alexandria. They applauded the renovation as a “model public/private partnership,” with the city and garden club working together at every phase of the project, from approvals to installation and completion.

Photos by Louise Krafft



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