The Raleigh Garden Club Story -
Over 90 years of gardening and community support
Organized in 1925 the Raleigh Garden Club is among the oldest garden clubs in the state and is one of five charter members of the Garden Club of North Carolina. Through monthly meetings, study groups, outreach programs and civic improvement projects, the Raleigh Garden Club has fulfilled its dual mission as an educational and philanthropic association.
A primary objective of the club is to increase the gardening skill and knowledge of its members. The programs presented at the club's monthly meetings bring in experts from the community and cover a wide range of gardening topics including flower arranging, horticulture, and organic and wildlife gardening. Members are also encouraged to participate in additional study groups that have been organized to examine individual topics in greater depth. Over the years the club has also sponsored a variety of courses related to horticulture and flower arranging.
An equally important goal is enhancing awareness and appreciation of the benefits of gardening in the greater community. To accomplish this the club has undertaken a variety of outreach activities. Since its early years of existence the club has conducted plant sales, organized public plant demonstrations and participated in the flower and garden shows and competitions at the State Fair. In the early 1930's Raleigh Garden Club members began broadcasting a radio show that eventually evolved into “The Tarheel Gardener.” Club members have worked with elementary school students to plant and maintain gardens. Currently two club committees work directly on community outreach. The Youth Group Committee works with girls at the Girls Club in downtown Raleigh (Rosey Girls). The Garden Therapy Committee brings horticulture and flower arranging activities to patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the city.
The Raleigh Garden Club has played an important role in the beautification of the city through its civic improvement projects. In the 1920's the club participated in planting of the willow oaks and crape myrtles along Hillsborough Street between Meredith College and the Fairgrounds. It also planted trees in the park on Park Drive in Cameron Park. In the 1930's the club planted trees and shrubs in the median on Glenwood Avenue between Peace Street and Five Points. And it worked to preserve the parks in Nash and Moore Squares saving them from urban development. During the 1940's the club participated in the creation of the Rose Garden in the old racetrack near the Raleigh Little Theater. The 1950's saw the club working on beautification projects on the State Hospital grounds as well as along the major approach routes to the city. More recently, the club has planted trees in Fred Fletcher Park and Pullen Park. In addition, it currently maintains the Winter Garden at the JC Raulston Arboretum and is responsible for the design and maintenance of the Sanctuary Garden at Transitions LifeCare (formerly Hospice of Wake County).
Throughout its history, the Raleigh Garden Club has undertaken a variety of philanthropic endeavors with the goal of expanding understanding and appreciation of all aspects of gardening. The club has made financial contributions to a wide range of state organizations with ties to gardening. These include the JC Raulston Arboretum, Mordecai Garden, the Flower Shuttle, the Elizabethan Garden in Manteo and the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Each year since 1954, the club has given a scholarship to a student in the Department of Horticulture at NC State University.
In recognition of the many contributions it has made to the city of Raleigh, the Raleigh Garden Club was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2008.