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Follow the Green Arrow: The History of the Garden Club of Virginia. 1920-1970

Eight garden clubs were invited by Mrs. Thomas S. Wheelwright, President of the James River Garden Club, to attend a conference in Richmond on May 13, 1920. Mrs. Wheelwright outlined the purpose of a federation as follows: “The main purpose of the federation is to gain through contact with the leaders of the various garden clubs knowledge of practical value about all plants, and all that pertains to their history, growth, and increase; and the various kinds of gardens, large landscape effects, city gardens and civic planting. This increased knowledge may be gained by visits to the various well-planned gardens of the different types, and through discussion and interchange of information.

“Then we would like to promote an interest in and co-operate with the organizations in .the state which have for their object the furtherance of this knowledge, and the beautifying of cities, towns, and highways, as well as the conservation in Virginia of the rich endowment of nature in forests, plants, and birds.”

Then followed a motion that there be a state federation of garden clubs, known as the Garden Clubs of Virginia, of which Mrs. Malvern C. Patterson was elected the first President. The founding eight clubs were the Warrenton Garden Club, the Albemarle Garden Club, the Garden Club of Norfolk, the James River Garden Club, Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club, the Garden Club of Danville, the Dolley Madison Garden Club and the Augusta Garden Club. 

In December of that year Mrs. Patterson called in Richmond the first meeting of the Board of Governors. The minutes of that meeting reveal the broad vision and high aims of the Federation. Mrs. Thomas S. Wheelwright, of the James River club, advocated the creation of a sentiment for good roads, to speed their construction; Mrs. Joseph Walker, of the Dolley Madison club, urged warfare against plant pests, stressing the Japanese beetle; Mrs. Harry Marshall, of the Albemarle club, drew attention to the beauty of our native flowers, shrubs, trees, and evergreens, urging their use in the adornment of our grounds and the prevention of their destruction by vandals. Mrs. Patterson spoke on the billboard nuisance, the obnoxious signs so disfiguring to our landscapes.

Thus from its very inception the Federation has stood for good roads, conservation of native trees and flowers, intelligent warfare against plant pests, and the abolition of the disfiguring billboard. This body of intelligent women has been a potent influence in the life of the state for the conservation of native beauty and the preservation of its historic homes and gardens.

Follow the Green Arrow Vol I History of the Garden Club of Virginia 1920-1970 _PDF (download for searchable format)

Follow the Green Arrow Vol II History of the Garden Club of Virginia 1970-1995  PDF (download for searchable format)

Former Garden Club of Virginia Presidents

 

2014-2016

Mrs. Nicholas Cadwallender (Jeanette)

Rappahannock Valley

 

2012-2014

Mrs. Russell Smith Evans, Jr. (Ann Gordon)

Huntington

 

2010-2012

Mrs. Arthur H. Nash (Kim)

Warrenton

 

2008-2010

Mrs. John T. West IV (Cabell)

Tuckahoe

 

2006-2008

Mrs. Thomas C. Brown, Jr.  (Sally Guy)

Alexandria

 

2004-2006

Mrs. Rudolph Bumgardner III (Deedy)

Augusta

 

2002-2004

Mrs. Austin T. Darden, Jr. (Mary Hart)

Nansemond River

 

2000-2002

Mrs. Robert C. Wood III (Mina)

Lynchburg

*

1998-2000

Mrs. Robert Carter (Bessie)

James River

 

1996-1998

Mrs. Charles H. Schutte, Jr. (Betty)

Winchester-Clarke

*

1994-1996

Mrs. H. Gordon Leggett

Lynchburg

 

1992-1994

Mrs. W. Tayloe Murphy, Jr. (Helen)

Northern Neck

*

1990-1992

Mrs. Henley L. Guild (Virginia)

Hunting Creek

*

1988-1990

Mrs. Lilburn T. Talley (Nancy) 

Winchester-Clarke

 

1986-1988

Mrs. James C. Godwin (Ellen)

Nansemond River

 

1984-1986

Mrs. Benjamin W. Mears, Jr. (Katty)

Eastern Shore

*

1982-1984

Mrs. James B. Montgomery (Dot)

Martinsville

*

1980-1982

Miss Jean Printz

Rivanna

*

1978-1980

Mrs. Thomas W. Murrell, Jr.

Tuckahoe

*

1976-1978

Mrs. Toy D. Savage, Jr.

Norfolk

 

1974-1976

Mrs. John D. Varner (Betsy)

Roanoke Valley

 

1972-1974

Mrs. George M. Cochran (Lee)

Augusta

*

1970-1972

Mrs. George H. Flowers, Jr. (Mary Frances)

Boxwood

*

1968-1970

Mrs. Lucius J. Kellam

Eastern Shore

*

1966-1968

Mrs. Benjamin F. Parrott

Mill Mountain

*

1964-1966

Mrs. Wyatt Aiken Williams

Dolley Madison

*

1962-1964

Mrs. James Bland Martin

Gloucester

*

1960-1962

Mrs. Burdette S. Wright

Fauquier and Loudoun

*

1958-1960

Mrs. James Gordon Smith

Albemarle

*

1956-1958

Mrs. F. Whitney Godwin

Nansemond River

*

1954-1956

Mrs. Thomas E. Thorne

Williamsburg

*

1952-1954

Mrs. Arthur B. Collins

Tuckahoe

*

1950-1952

Mrs. W.W.S. Butler

Roanoke Valley

*

1948-1950

Mrs. Frank J. Gilliam

Blue Ridge

*

1946-1948

Mrs. C. James Andrews

Norfolk

*

1944-1946

Mrs. Louis N. Dibrell

Danville

*

1942-1944

Mrs. Powell Glass

Lynchburg

*

1940-1942

Mrs. John G. Hayes

James River

*

1938-1940

Mrs. Thomas S. Wheelwright

James River

*

1936-1938

Mrs. Daniel C. Sands

Fauquier and Loudoun

*

1934-1936

Mrs. W. Allen Perkins

Albemarle

*

1932-1934

Mrs. Lawrence S. Davis

Roanoke Valley

*

1930-1932

Mrs. Leslie H. Gray

Dolley Madison

*

1928-1930

Mrs. Herbert McK. Smith

Augusta

*

1926-1928

Mrs. William R. Massie

Albemarle

*

1924-1926

Mrs. Joseph G. Walker

Dolley Madison

*

1922-1924

Mrs. Thomas S. Wheelwright

James River

*

1920-1922

Mrs. Malvern C. Patterson

James River

* Deceased