She was president of RGC in 1934 -6, and also president of the NC Camellia Society, and of the GCNC. But she went far beyond these roles, and helped create a state Camellia Day, lead a Camellia Study Group in the Garden Club in the 40s, and for over 40 years made about 800 pillow corsages a year for hospital and nursing home patients.
The 10-Year History wrote of her:
She also wrote – a column for the Raleigh Times on gardening for 25 years, and she is credited with starting the first Garden School of the Air ( see my blog post on this footprint).
The McMillan garden was a joint effort between the RGC and the WCR, and filled a need for landscaping of their new clubhouse in the 1970s. Mary had also been active in the Women’s Club of Raleigh, and president.
They hired a landscape architect, Wayne McBride to design it, and Clarence Steppe, of Wayside Nurseries to install it. The president of the RGC awarded both a certificate of appreciation in 1974 when it was dedicated.
They planted a cherry tree in honor of Mary, and it was the star of the spring season because it was so floriferous, so strikingly so that it was featured in the paper each spring. And the center of the landscaping was called the Mary McMillan Garden… today it is used for weddings.
The RGC maintained the garden for quite a number of years, mulching and replanting as needed. Now I believe it is maintained by the WCR lawn service. But it was refurbished and there was a little ceremony just recently, in 2015, largely by the efforts of Irregardless Café. You can visit it as it’s open at the side of the WCR clubhouse.