Eight-plus decades and counting! Hillside Garden Club Members have organized and participated in community projects including opening their homes and gardens for Garden Day in Lynchburg. Members have made substantial contributions at the local and state level past and present; All to meet their mission of stimulating an in interest in gardening, aiding in the protection of nature, plants and birds and encouraging civic planting.
Anne Spencer House Garden
Among the most important projects to unfold during the club’s first half-century is the restoration of the garden of the Anne Spencer House on Pierce Street, beginning in 1983. Led by Nell Holt and Jane White, this undertaking revitalized the grounds and garden of Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer. Her home is both a Virginia Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Landmarks and recorded in the National Register of Historic Places.
Old City Cemetery
A decision to make the Old City Cemetery a primary project in 1993 led Susan Mullin to donate trees from her tree nursery as part of the grounds rehabilitation.
The cemetery continues to be a place for fresh ideas, new programs and gardens that provide opportunities to volunteer both as administrators, docents and gardeners while educating the public and enhancing the beauty of our community
The club continued its commitment to the Old City Cemetery by allocating printing funds for new brochures, planting more trees and giving a much needed outdoor water fountain. Virginia Earley Holt gave the initial funds to establish the Earley Memorial Shrub Garden. A Common Wealth Award in 1996 of $5,000 facilitated building a gatehouse and expanded entry for the cemetery and attracted other in-kind contributions toward the $25,000 value of the project.
Further support came when Virginia Holt donated the Stapleton Train Station building from her country property to the cemetery. “Pete” Lupton gave the funds to restore the historic station to its World War I era in honor of her daughter-in-law, Hillside member Leland Lupton. The club celebrated a special day for its opening in which members dressed in period costume and planted a white oak tree near the station in honor of their founding members.
In April 2017, the Hillside Garden Club Memorial Garden was completed and dedicated at the Old City Cemetery, positioned between the Chapel, and the newly constructed Comfort House. Hillside Garden Club and individual members contributed $25,000 toward the completion of the Memorial Garden.
In 2006 Hillside Garden Club began supporting Lynchburg Grows, a non-profit organization founded in 2003, with a $10,000 donation from funds raised through volunteer participation at the Steeplechase held at Oakridge in Nelson County. Those funds helped Lynchburg Grows secure the property to move forward with its development as an organic food supplier.
Lynchburg Grows is a seven-acre urban farm dedicated to providing access to fresh, local, produce for Lynchburg residents, restaurants, and organizations, while also providing purposeful jobs for individuals with disabilities. The story of Lynchburg Grows is deeply rooted in a sense of community and help and its mission reflects those roots.
The Awareness Garden, located at the Langhorne Road entrance to the Blackwater Creek Nature Trail, was dedicated in 2003 to those whose lives have been touched by cancer. The Hillside Garden Club contributed both funds and planning expertise for its grounds.
Academy Center of the Arts Tree Garden
In 2016, the Hillside Garden Club won its 4th Garden Club of Virginia Common Wealth Award. The funds from the award were used to help create a tree garden designed to complement the theater restoration project for the Academy Center of the Arts. The garden, was completed in 2019 and features a number of indigenous trees, including a variety of maples.