The Columbine, Winchester-Clarke Garden Club flower.
The Winchester-Clarke Garden Club celebrates its Centennial Year in 2024. Miss Bessie Conrad presided over the first meeting on May 7, 1924. Miss Conrad had attended a meeting of the Garden Club of Norfolk with her sister and was passionate about the gardens, conservation, and roadside beautification projects being done in there. Miss Conrad campaigned for a similar club to be established in her community. She enrolled 67 "influential" women into what is now the Winchester-Clarke Garden Club (WCGC). Three years later, in 1927 WCGC became a member of the Garden Club of Virginia. The next year, the club participated in the first Historic Garden Week in April. WCGC also was invited to join the Garden Club of America in 1928.
Working with the Little Garden Club of Winchester, a sister club in the Garden Club of Virginia, The Winchester-Clarke Garden Club hosts the Garden Club of Virginia Historic Garden Week tour each April. Proceeds from the tour support GCV projects to beautify and restore gardens. All Club members participate in the annual Historic Garden Week tour.
The mission of the Winchester-Clarke Garden club is exclusively charitable and educational. Our goal is to stimulate and encourage the knowledge and love of gardening, to aid in the protection of native plants, to encourage civic planning and planting, to aid in the restoration and presentation of historic gardens and landmarks in Virginia, to promote conservatism and to do all things necessary in connection with any of the above objectives. It reflects the mission of the Garden Club of Virginia, which exists to celebrate the beauty of the land, to conserve the gifts of nature and to challenge future generations to build on this heritage. It upholds the mission of the Garden Club of America which is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, to share the advantages of association by means of educational meetings, conferences, correspondence and publications, and to restore, improve and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement.
The Winchester-Clarke Garden Club has supported many local restoration sites including The Burwell-Morgan Mill, Belle Grove, John Handley High School, and The State Arboretum of Virginia. In 2004, the restoration of the stone wall along Dogwood Lane was completed by GCV. WCGC simultaneously rejuvenated and replaced dogwood trees along the lane.
Winchester-Clarke was the proud recipients of GCA's 2019 Founders Fund Award and GCV's Bessie Bocock Carter Conservation Award for our work to protect the Abrams Creek Wetland Preserve.
Horticulture Committee Workshop 2018
Members of the club also participate on committees designed to support Garden Club of Virginia's efforts in the field of horticulture, artist design, conservation and photograph. Individually, club members participate in Garden Club of America flower shows with horticulture, artistic design and photography themes.
We are a non-profit 501(3)(c) all volunteer organization. Our members provide their time and talent to further the goals of our mission and the love of the elements that comprise it just at Miss Bessie Conrad did over 100 years ago.