Our History

“Transforming Town & Trails”
The Blue Ridge Garden Club Hosts BOG 2017
by Julie Grover, Blue Ridge Garden Club

Stewards of the natural beauty of Lexington and surrounding Rockbridge County since our founding in 1925, the Blue Ridge Garden Club seeks “to encourage, promote, and stimulate knowledge and appreciation of gardening, nature, and the environment” in our town and trails.  In 2015, the club successfully nominated Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University as recipients of the Elizabeth Cabell Dugdale Award for conservation – VMI for its maintenance of the Chessie Nature Trail and W&L for its initiatives in sustainability, including energy efficiency.

Back-to-back winners of the de Lacy Gray Memorial Medal for Conservation were club members Sallie Sebrell, who won the award in 2011 for raising awareness of global warming, and the mother-daughter team of Mary Stuart Gilliam and Catharine Gilliam Burns, who won the award in 2010 for their successful efforts to save Goshen Pass from development.  The Blue Ridge Garden Club, with the help of the Garden Club of Virginia, has been vigilant since the 1920s in preventing dam construction, road expansion, logging, commercialization and other threats to Goshen Pass.  Club member Molly Brown won the de Lacy Gray in 2000 for her Roots and Shoots Intergenerational School Garden, which has been the model for other school gardens across the country.

Mrs. William H. Cocke, first president of the Blue Ridge Garden Club, was also the first ever recipient of the Massie Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 1929 for her creation of the VMI Memorial Garden.  Louise Gilliam, the 15th president of the Garden Club of Virginia, received the Massie Medal in 1960 with her husband, Frank, for “their inspirational success as horticulturalists and good citizens.”  The club won the Massie Medal in 1977 for the creation and maintenance of the Bertha Whitney Townes Memorial Courtyard Garden at Stonewall Jackson Hospital.  The club has won two Common Wealth Awards — in 1980, for landscaping the entrance to the C&O (Chessie) Walking Trail, and again in 1996, for the Roots and Shoots Garden.

More recently, Blue Ridge Garden Club members are active in maintaining the Veterans Memorial Garden; selling wreaths to raise funds to support charitable, civic, and educational projects, both locally and across the state; and supporting the mission of the Garden Club of Virginia.  Member Barbara Walsh serves as the executive director of the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, helping the club to remain ever vigilant.

We look forward to hosting the 98th meeting of the GCV Board of Governors and trust you will enjoy the natural beauty of our town and trails as much as we do.

October 1, 1925          Blue Ridge Garden Club founded.

April 23, 1930             Blue Ridge Garden Club joins the Garden Club of Virginia

Club Flower                 Iris