September 2023
"September is nature's artist, blending the canvas of summer’s hues with the rich tones of autumn, creating a masterpiece of transition and beauty." 
I am thrilled to share details for the array of exciting initiatives that await us! The Garden Club of Virginia continues to flourish, and I invite you to join us as we gather for inspiring new opportunities and annual favorite fall events.

Register now for History Blooms (Oct. 6-8). This new collaboration with the Virginia Museum of History & Culture promises to delight and engage GCV members, families and friends with a weekend of workshops, presentations, and social events. From floral creations throughout the museum to demonstrations and lectures by noted speakers, a family fun evening, and an elegant dinner around a garden table, there is truly something for everyone. I look forward to meeting you and your family during a wonderful weekend together at VMHC!

And from the comfort of your home, please enjoy Cultivating Conversations, our new virtual learning series. During the first session on Sept. 18, GCV gardeners and talented arrangers will share useful tips on how to design your garden for seasonal arranging.

Mark your calendar and plan to join us in Charlottesville on Nov. 2 for the 65th Annual Conservation Forum, titled EcoLandscaping: Restoring Nature's Balance. You will hear from three of Virginia’s leading environmentally minded horticulturists, Thomas Rainer, Eliza Greenman, and Larry Weaner.

As always, I am grateful for your dedication and passion to make these inspiring opportunities possible.

I’ll see you soon!

Warmest regards,
Debbie Lewis
GCV President, 2022-2024
Upcoming Events
“Daffodils as Companion Plants”
Sept. 18, 2023, 11 a.m.-noon
Kent-Valentine House 

Please join world renowned daffodil grower and flower show judge Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, Gloucester, Virginia, for a talk on the use of daffodils as companion plants. Mr. Heath is a long time bulb supplier of GCV Daffodil Test Collections. Details and Registration. Space is limited.
“Designing Your Garden for Seasonal Arranging”
Sept. 18, 2023, 5-6:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join us for the inaugural session of Cultivating Conversations–a new virtual learning series by and for GCV members! In this first session, fellow GCV members will share advice for developing a home garden that will produce stunning plant materials throughout the season, and show gardeners how to use their beautiful plant materials in home arrangements. Participants will have the chance to participate in small group discussions and a Q&A session with the presenters.

Participation is free and open to GCV members. Registration is required. Register here, grab your happy hour snack and beverage of choice, and join us for our first session Monday, Sept. 18, from 5-6:30 p.m., via Zoom.
History Blooms
Oct. 6-8
At the Virginia Museum of History & Culture

Get your fall flower fix with History Blooms at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture from Oct. 6-8. Enjoy a fun-filled, free First Fridays event geared toward families with children and grandchildren; a rich array of speakers and presenters on Friday and Saturday; floral designs by 26 GCV member clubs that help tell the stories of Virginia; and stunning floral installations. Saturday programs include a delightful luncheon with Thomas Lloyd and Bryan Huffman, co-authors with Linda Holden of Bunny Mellon Style. Dinner will take place in a magical indoor garden setting reminiscent of the Colonial era featuring Dean Norton of Mount Vernon as speaker. One workshop is already sold out, so get your tickets soon! The discount code for GCV members is GCVBLOOMS. 

65th Annual Conservation Forum
EcoLandscaping: Restoring Nature’s Balance
Nov. 2, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The CODE Building, Charlottesville
In Person and Live-streamed

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn how to bring your garden to life at the 65th Annual Conservation Forum, happening Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Irving Theater at The CODE Building in Charlottesville.

This year’s forum will feature three incredible speakers on topics that can be easily applied to help your home gardens (and the wildlife that depends upon them) thrive. Join us for sessions on applying innovative and ecologically functional concepts at home, growing heirloom and nearly extinct fruit and nut cultivars, and developing a natural landscape design for your garden, whether you have meadows, water, or woodlands.

Participants will have the chance to engage in hands-on activities and to take home treasures from our on-site vendors including Bartlett Tree Experts, Rivermont Refillery and Blue Ridge Conservation.
GCV Committee News
Conservation and Beautification
Starting this month, the Conservation and Beautification Committee will feature a native plant of the month, with the ultimate goal of curating a collection for 2023-2024. Each of these plants should be easily obtained from one of your local native friendly, pesticide free growers or plant stores as well as on-line.
Our first featured plant for the 2023-2024 GCV Native Plant Collection is the native aster, Symphotricum novae-angliae. The native aster is a spectacularly showy plant that produces purple blooms with yellow centers in the fall from early August into early November. These plants are essential to monarch butterflies as they make their way back to Mexico. These asters, also known as New England Asters, although native and found throughout the Eastern United States, like average, well-drained soil in full sun. These plants grow in zones 4 to 8. They can reach a height of 3 to 6 feet but pinching back the stems several times before mid-July before they bloom will help control the height and promote bushiness. Pinching back will, however, delay flowering. These asters are easily grown from seed and, if conditions are optimal, will self-seed. However, if you wish to prevent self-seeding, you can cut the stems down to the ground after flowering.

The 2023 GCV Lily Collection

The 2023 GCV Lily Collection is now available and features six lilies: L. ‘Baferrari’ (Pictured) L. ‘Beverly Dreams’, L. ‘Empoli’, L. ‘Forever Susan’, L. martagon ‘Peppard Gold ’and L. ‘Muscadet’. Please contact GCV Lily Chairman Patsy Smith with questions.
Kent-Valentine House Committee
Kent-Valentine House Library Book Sale

The Kent-Valentine House committee, assisted by other GCV committee chairman and volunteers, recently culled the Kent-Valentine House Library to make room for renovations.  

As a result, we are offering a selection of gently used coffee table favorites, horticulture reference guides, and perennial planting manuals for sale this fall. Be sure to stop by next time you are in Richmond to view the display in the third-floor conference room. Free will donations are appreciated; look for the white box. Checks (payable to GCV) and cash accepted. All proceeds benefit the Kent-Valentine House.
Fall Photography Challenge
Sept. 1-Oct. 25

Calling all photographers! Grab your cameras or cellphones, engage your imagination and accept the Fall Photo Challenge. Photos will be judged by district and comments and photos will be available to view in the December Membership News. Have fun!

Class 1: Autumn Twilight - Find the last gold, pink, and orange streaks of the day surrounded by fall. Suggestions include a mountain with fall colors on fire, a small bare-branched tree with the colors of the sunset pouring through its limbs, or fallen leaves in a stream heading toward the sinking sun. Capture the beauty of fall in all its glory. Color image.

Class 2: The Bounty of Autumn - Compose a still life composition evoking the splendors of autumn. Colorful leaves, harvests of vegetables or fruits, and nuts and berries could be included. Showcase the colorful beauty of the fall season. Color still life.

You may submit one photo per category. Please send your photos no later than Oct. 25 to Georgiana Watt. Photos must be between 1-5 mb and renamed: Class 1 or 2, First Initial, Last Name, GCV District (example: Cl 1, S Jones, D2). To be passed, all photos must have complete information and be the required size. Late submissions will not be accepted.
For technical support contact Edie Hessberg 
For general questions contact Susan Lendermon.

Tip - Be careful not to crop cellphone photos too much, or they will likely become too small to accept.

Restoration notecards are now available at the Kent-Valentine House and at select GCV events. The back of each card details GCV's work at the featured property. The cards are a great way to spread the word about our projects across the commonwealth. Every note sent is a chance to educate about our mission.


The Common Wealth Award was established in 1979 to provide an annual grant to promote projects in the interest of conservation, beautification, horticulture, preservation and education. The two word name Common Wealth was chosen to describe the "wealth" that is "common" to all Virginians.

The following are the 2023 Common Wealth Award Nominees. The recipient will be announced at the Board of Governors meeting in October. Read the Full Descriptions.

The Boxwood Garden Club, The James River Garden Club, Three Chopt Garden Club, and The Tuckahoe Garden Club of Westhampton proposed:
The Virginia War Memorial Public Green Space

Gabriella Garden Club proposed:
HOME Pocket Park a Perennial Garden Oasis Within Its Urban Setting in Downtown Danville, Virginia

The Garden Study Club and The Martinsville Garden Club proposed:
The Nature Garden Along the Smith River Paw Path at the Smith River Sports Complex
Nominations for Bessie Bocock Carter Conservation Award due Nov. 1, 2023

The Bessie Bocock Carter Conservation Award is given annually in memory of Bessie Bocock Carter, GCV President, 1998-2000. The award was established to fund implementation of a conservation project that will serve as a catalyst for community action for natural resource conservation or environmental protection within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Grants are awarded to a GCV member club or to the member club in association with another conservation group.

Nomination applications should be sent to the attention of Ann Heller, GCV Communications Coordinator, 12 East Franklin Street, Richmond, Va., 23119 or

Additional questions may be addressed to Conservation Awards Chairman Marie Thomas

Nominations for the Massie Medal for Distinguished Achievement due Dec. 1, 2023

The Massie Medal is the oldest and most prestigious award given by the Garden Club of Virginia. It was inaugurated in 1928 by Susanne Williams Massie during her presidency and was given by her until her death in 1952. Since that time it has been given by the GCV in her memory.

Nominations should be sent to: Massie Medal Committee Chairman Candy Crosby, PO Box 7212 Charlottesville, Va. 22906 434-981-9331 The recipient will be announced at the 2023 Annual Meeting in May.
The GCV extends a fond farewell to
Quan McGough.

Quan has served as the office and events coordinator at our headquarters since 2014. Quan was often our members’ first point of contact, and she has played a key role in supporting members, committees, staff and donors while making sure that the Kent-Valentine House ran smoothly.

We wish her well in her new role at Historic Richmond Foundation.
Member Club News
The Martinsville Garden Club and the Patrick Henry Rose Society present the 47th Annual Rose Show Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023
Piedmonts Arts Center, 215 Starling Ave., Martinsville, VA.
Workrooms open at 6 a.m. Open to the public: 1 - 4 p.m.
This show will consist of horticulture, artistic design and photography. Advance registration is required for artistic design only. Further information contact Joyce Moorman at
The James River Garden Club
Garden Club of America Zone VII Flower Show: Ebb & Flow
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023
10 a.m.–3 p.m.
The Woman’s Club at the Bolling Haxall House
211 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23219
*Open to the Public and Free of Charge*

This special “Ebb & Flow” Flower Show, hosted by The James River Garden Club, takes its theme from one of Richmond’s greatest assets—the James River—and will feature elements of its unique ecosystem throughout the show. Educational displays by area non-profits will highlight conservation and preservation in and around the river. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk through many creative and fascinating entries in Floral Design, Horticulture, Photography and Botanical Arts. Submissions will come from individuals and clubs of GCA’s Zone VII, which currently numbers 18 clubs and 1,400 members throughout Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The purpose of a flower show is threefold: to set standards of artistic and horticultural excellence; to broaden knowledge of horticulture, floral design, conservation, photography and other related areas; and to share the beauty of a show with fellow club members and with the public. We hope you will come to see these fabulous botanical creations and support the talented people behind them.

The flower show will also include the “River Run Boutique” where visitors will find clothing, jewelry, art, ceramics, and accessories—the perfect place to shop for gifts or a special treat for yourself. Raffle tickets with great prizes will be available at the Welcome Table. Boutique location and hours are same as Flower Show. For more information, please contact Andrea Erda at
Hillside and Lynchburg Garden Clubs
Albemarle Garden Club is proud to present a two-day design forum with nationally acclaimed designer and tastemaker Mark D. Sikes on Oct. 11 and 12, 2023 at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville. Details are provided below.
In conjunction with The Design Forum, Albemarle Garden Club invites all to participate in “The Beautiful Flower Show,” Oct. 11-12, 2023, at The Paramount Theater, 215 East Main Street, Charlottesville, Virginia.  View the Schedule.
The Nansemond River Garden Club
The Ashland Garden Club
Presents: Fall Fantasy 2023, “Perennials: Find the Perfect Match”
Oct. 18, 2023, 10 a.m.
Hanover Tavern, 13181 Hanover Courthouse Road
Hanover, VA

Special Guest Speaker: Sandy McDougle of Sandy’s Plants
Tickets are $40 and available from any Ashland Garden Club member, or you may call Linda Macdonald at 804-564-1613 to reserve your seat.
Does your club have an upcoming event you'd like to share with other GCV members? Email Membership News Chairman Edie Hessberg with details.

The Garden Club of Fairfax
Florence Katrivanos

The Franklin Garden Club
Christine O'Keefe

Hillside Garden Club
Blair Absher
Amy Bonnette
Julie Ebert
Kerry Silva

The Princess Anne Garden Club
Patricia Kemner
Our Shop features fun and useful GCV and Member Club items. Shop Now.
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Our Mission:
To conserve the gifts of nature, to restore and preserve historic landscapes of the commonwealth, to cultivate the knowledge and love of gardening, and to lead future generations to build on this heritage.