OUR COMMUNITY PROJECTS
Current* and Recent Projects
The purpose of the Christmas Greens meeting is to make arrangements and wreaths for places in need of Christmas spirit. Begun in the 1930's, wreaths and arrangements were sent to orphanages and subsequently to hospitalized service men during WWII. Today, Christmas cheer is delivered to shelters for abused women and children throughout the Philadelphia area. Club members make and deliver 100-120 arrangements and 12-24 wreaths.
Bowman's Hill Wildlife Preserve has been a club project since 1933. Each spring, The Garden Club of Philadelphia visits Bowman's Hill to maintain 'our' trail - The Wayside Trail, also known as the Wildflower Trail.
To learn more about Bowman's Hill, visit their web site: Bowman's Hill Wildlife Preserve.
The Magnolia Tribute Garden*
The Magnolia Tribute Garden is on the south side of Locust between 4th and 5th Streets. Our members planned the creation of the garden which was donated by the Garden Club of America in honor of the founders of our nation, and dedicated in May 1959. George Washington’s expressed interest in magnolia trees inspired this garden. Around its walled perimeter are 13 early spring blooming hybrid magnolias suitable for northern climates, Magnolia soulangeana, one of which was donated by The Garden Club of Philadelphia. They represent the 13 original colonies. Enclosed by wrought iron fences and gates, the plantings include Saucer Magnolias, Narcissus Snow Azaleas, English Oak, Honey Locusts, Cotoneasters, and a ground cover of English Ivy.
The ten local PCGCA clubs have 2 annual workdays with 5 clubs participating at each.
Philadelphia Flower Show Entry*
The Garden Club of Philadelphia has been entering the Philadelphia Flower Show since 1933, with entries made in 1953, 1955, 1958 and every other year until 1980, 1984, 1987-1996, and 1999-2018. Many of our individual members also enter in both the horticultural and floral design arenas as well as volunteer in many capacities.
Photos of our 2019 Windowsill entry are to the right. Double click on any photo to see all the full-sized photos.
Partners for Plants
“Partners for Plants is a joint initiative of the GCA Horticulture and Conservation Committees. It pairs local GCA Clubs with managers of state and federal lands and other significant public lands to monitor rare, endangered, medicinal, or invasive plants.” (GCA Website, 2014)
In GCA Zone V, the 2014 project has been jointly sponsored by The Garden Club of Philadelphia and The Gardeners at the Hopewell Furnace National Historic site. A botanist has been funded by GCA to search for eight rare or endangered plant species in Pennsylvania that were once reported in that area. If found, the botanists will make recommendations as to how to protect them. The surveying field work occured this past summer and the report is being now being written. The Clubs will visit the site together in September.
The Garden Club of Philadelphia has coordinated two prior projects. The 2007-2009 project was tasked with finding and protecting five rare or endangered plant species in Valley Forge National Historic Park. The 2011-2012 project took place in the Wissahickon Valley Park. It monitored the effectiveness of a small herd of goats for removal of invasive plants and compared the results to other plots that were cleared of invasive plants using other methods.
The Physic Garden*
The Pennsylvania Hospital was the first hospital founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond. In 1774, a proposal was made to create a Botanical garden to provide remedies based on plant materials.
It never happened.
But 200 years later the Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America and friends of Pennsylvania Hospital executed the Botanical project.
The Physic Garden serves to show future generations how these medicinal herbs helped physicians find remedies to medicate their patients.
It is now maintained by many volunteers of the local GCA Garden Clubs. Volunteers work 2 hours, receive a voucher for lunch in the cafeteria, and $5 parking. All volunteers are welcome.
Fairmount Park House Christmas Tours*
The Garden Club of Philadelphia has been decorating a Fairmount Park House for the Christmas Tours since 1989. In the past, we have helped decorate rooms in Woodford, Cedar Grove, Strawberry Mansion, Lemon Hill, Sweet Briar, and Mt. Pleasant.
Magnolia Tribute Garden National Parks Partnership*
The ten member garden clubs in the Philadelphia region, have committed to raise the funds to restore the peaceful Magnolia Tribute Garden. Located in the heart of Philadelphia's historic district, called Society Hill, this garden was given by the Garden Club of America in 1959 to the Independence National Historic Park as a tribute to the founders of our country. It features thirteen early spring blooming magnolias, with a central fountain, set on a grassy rectangle, and rimmed in brick. Set on the south side of Locust Street, between 4th and 5th streets it has been praised by an admirer: “there is no more quiet or restful spot in Philadelphia than this beautifully balanced park”. All ten of the local clubs, which comprise The Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America, have been providing volunteer efforts to care for the garden biannually since the early 80's.
Fifty-six years have passed since its creation with changes being made by the local GCA member clubs to refurbish the central fountain and replace some of the plant material. The garden was recently found to be in need of serious restoration and refurbishing. In communication with the Park Service, the scope of the project includes replacing four magnolia trees, installing heirloom spring bulbs, adding new ground cover, and by removing and replacing leggy azaleas the garden will be reborn. New hydrangeas will extend the bloom period into the summer. In addition extensive repairs and expansion to the irrigation system will keep everything well watered in the warmer months. Most of the estimated cost of this project of $20,000 will be realized through the generous contributions of the local ten Zone V garden clubs.
In the meantime, volunteers of The Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America, as well as the Magnolia Tribute Garden Restoration Project committee, continue to raise needed funds and tend this beloved garden. The final results will be celebrated in the summer and fall of 2016 when our nation marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service of America.
The Garden Club of Philadelphia was involved at Awbury Arboretum in Germantown from 1998-2014. Our members cleaned up, redesigned, and planted the Victorian Garden. Awbury's Secret Garden was the 2002 recipient of the GCA Founders Fund Award which provided monies to restore the garden. This award was established by GCA in 1934 in memory of The Garden Club of America's first President, Elizabeth Price Martin (Mrs. J. Willis). Mrs. Martin was also a GCP founding club member and the GCP Club President from 1916-1917.
2013 Tree Project at Concourse Lake, Fairmount Park
This project was part of GCA's Centennial Tree Project which planted 23,500 trees nationwide. The Concourse Lake Native Plant Park was the GCA Zone V Centennial Tree Project for Philadelphia area clubs. The Garden Club of Philadelphia propagated Quercus velutina Black Oak and Diospyros virginiana Common Persimmon. We began in 2009 and in October, 2011, we donated nine of our seedlings to Fairmount Park to care for until they were large enough to plant in the Concourse Lake Native Plant Park.
Concourse Lake Bulb Planting
On October 13, 2012, along with the nine other PCGCA clubs and community volunteers, The Garden Club of Philadelphia helped to plant 15,000 snow drops, scilla, and naturalizing daffodils in two hours!
Roxborough/Houston (Cathedral) Meadow
The meadow, which is a special ecosystem characterized by sandy, acidic soil, is on the west side of the Wissahickon Valley. The Garden Club of Philadelphia helped maintain the meadow from 2003-2009 by removing invasive plants with yearly workdays.
Mid-County Exchange, Pennsylvania Turnpike
From 1994-2006, our members planted and maintained 22 large containers each spring and fall. This project ended with the advent of the express E-Z pass lanes which threatened our safety.
Other Past Projects
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Annual Chestnut Hill Flower Show
Spring Planting at City Hall and Logan Circle
26th Street Beautification Project
John Bartram's Garden
Landscaped the entranceway to Tinicum National Environmental Center
Garden Restoration at Mt. Pleasant, Fairmount Park
Neighborhood Gardens Association
Fairmount Park Planting
Planted Bird Sanctuary at Strawberry Mansion
Powell House Garden
Glendinning Rock Garden
Planting at Strawberry Mansion
Rehabilitation of Bartram's Garden
WW I War Gardens, the Women's Land Army
Rittenhouse Square Flower Market
Planted Forsythia on Peter's Island in Fairmount Park