For good. For ever.®
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Augusta Garden Club

Staunton, VA

Amount Requested: $2,500 for Project Dogwood

Mission: The mission of the Augusta Garden Club (AGC) is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening; to improve and protect the environment; to encourage conservation of natural resources; to promote civic planting and beautification, and to aid in restorations of historic gardens in Virginia. The primary activities of the AGC include annual participation in Historic Garden Week through the Garden Club of Virginia, to which we contributed $11,499 toward historic garden restorations in Virginia in 2015; volunteer maintenance of gardens at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library; contribution to landscaping in Gypsy Hill Park; and presentations, projects and flower/horticulture shows to educate members and the community about gardening, horticulture and environmental conservation.

Constituents Served: Through its projects and activities, the Augusta Garden Club serves the community at large.  The general public benefits from Club contributions and projects to the community in Staunton and Augusta County, and from education about good stewardship of the natural environment.  Over 500 individuals participated in our Club-sponsored Garden Week tour, visiting historic homes and hearing lectures on historic agricultural practices in Augusta County, conservation easements, and our local architectural heritage.  The  Club is currently working with Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library regarding significant boxwood blight at the site. Through our Project Dogwood, countless citizens visiting Gypsy Hill Park benefited from the additional plantings and further beautification of the park.

Program Overview: In 1935, Staunton’s City Manager J.C. Ruff was inspired to make Staunton the Dogwood Capital of Virginia.  The Depression and wars prevented the fulfillment of his vision.  Over the decades, many of the City’s existing dogwoods fell victim to disease and died out. Three years ago the Augusta Garden Club, in close collaboration with the city of Staunton, revived Mr. Ruff’s idea.  During the period of 2014-2016, the club will have financed the planting of 67 Dogwood trees in multiple locations at Gypsy Hill Park.  City Horticulturist Matt Sensabaugh explored various varieties of dogwood trees and planted several types to determine which performed best locally.  Augusta Garden Club will work with Mr. Sensabaugh on signage for public education about dogwood varieties that are robust in Virginia.  The Club has committed $7,500 for this project to date.   While we hope to continue to contribute funds as the project relates directly to our mission, we believe this project can best be expanded with additional community support and awareness.

In hopes of extending the project beyond this initial three years, the Club is discussing with Mr. Sensabaugh the possibility of Montgomery Hall Park as the next planting location. In the 1950s and 1960s Montgomery Hall Park was one of only two African American parks in Virginia and holds much historical and cultural significance in our community.  We hope to secure funding through the Community Foundation grant to pursue this goal and expand dogwood plantings throughout the City beginning at Montgomery Hall Park.

Current Operating Budget: $16,355