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Garden Views Tour Supports Community Organizations


February 02, 2021

The Wissahickon Garden Club Fundraiser

The Wissahickon Garden Club (WGC), centered in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia and the surrounding towns, had the essential ingredients for the perfect fundraiser to be held in May 2020. Several of the club’s members agreed to open their beautiful gardens for tours. Another member was to host a benefactor party in a garden landscaped by the Olmsted Brothers. However, COVID-19 restrictions necessitated that the in-person garden tours become virtual. Fortunately for all, business sponsors and benefactors maintained their support. 

The Garden Views tour included six beautiful and varied gardens within Chestnut Hill, also known as the “Garden District of Philadelphia.'' The gardens ranged from a small, semi-formal city garden featuring beautifully planted containers, to a sprawling garden on sweeping hillsides, to a natural shade garden, and an informal garden with meandering beds. 

Once the decision was made to turn the tours virtual, the committee made calls to donors and was able to preserve $57,000 in funding. These proceeds were given to eight different organizations including a food bank, a community park, community farms, and public gardens. The owners of the six gardens wrote descriptions and affixed photos to The Wissahickon Garden Club’s public website. “We are so appreciative to the many community and business sponsors who supported this worthwhile event,” said the current WGC president.

Two of the gardens on the tour have been documented for The Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens (AAG): Krisheim  and St. Andrews. As a bonus, one of the gardens on the tour featured a Champion Franklinia, the largest Franklinia Tree (Franklinia alatamaha) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For over 30 years, the GCA’s Garden History and Design Committee has partnered with the Smithsonian’s Archives of American gardens to preserve and highlight significant aspects of gardening for the benefit of researchers and the public. At the core of the Archives is a collection of over 3,000 glass lantern slides from the 1920s and 1939s along with approximately 35,000 35mm slides that were donated to the Smithsonian by the GCA in 1992. Through its national network, GCA volunteers continue to expand the collection by photographing and documenting gardens each year for consideration by the AAG. The GCA collection at the AAG is searchable through the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive.




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