Text by Joanne M. Anderson
Photos by Kristie Lea Photography


The members of Southside Garden Club are serious folks. Serious about gardening, garden shows, trading seeds and ideas, touring local gardens, friendship, having fun and much more. What began as a committee in the Blacksburg Women’s Club struck out on its own in 1930, evolving into Southside Garden Club 11 years later.
The club is a member of the National Garden Clubs, Inc., [South Atlantic Region] and the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., [Blue Ridge District]. Most of the shows adhere to National Garden Clubs specifications, and the creativity among members seems boundless.
At its “Read Me a Story” show last September at the Blacksburg branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library, members displayed several varieties in individual class designations like petunia, zinnia, begonia and other flowers. Horticulture entries were presented for:

? flowering annuals
? flowering perennials
? flowering branches
? berried branches
? vegetables

Floral design competition included innovative arrangements reflecting the themes:

? Gone With the Wind
? A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Rules for each entry are detailed. For “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” for example, each entry had to be a “petite design” no more than eight inches high, wide or deep. Each one was displayed on a club-provided, elevated, clear acrylic stand precisely eight inches high, nine inches deep and 11 inches wide. Background panels and underlays were permitted, and they “must be in pleasing proportion to the overall eight inch maximum.”
Southside Garden Club attracts men and women with a passion for gardening and arranging flowers. There are several garden tours each year in member gardens as well as local gardens at Historic Smithfield Plantation, Montgomery Museum and public places. The group is involved in many interesting club, service and civic activities:

? decorating historic interiors
? taking materials to senior living
places for residents to create
? enjoying a plant and seed exchange
over lunch
? hosting speakers with expertise in a
variety of topics
? awarding a scholarship to Nature Camp
? adopting and maintaining flower beds
? making a positive impact on gardening
and the horticulture environment in the
New River Valley

From floral design and horticulture therapy to preserving organic, native and butterfly gardens, getting dirt under their fingernails, breathing fresh air and coaxing along some of Mother Nature’s most beautiful bounty, Southside Garden Club members revel in the camaraderie and competition. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month and welcomes everyone with a passion for gardening and flower arranging.

Southside Garden Club’s mission is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening among both amateurs and experienced gardeners; to aid in the protection of native trees, plants and birds; and to encourage civic planting.

For more information contact:
Rebekah Paulson, rebekah.paulson@comcast.net, 540-250-6905
Felice Proctor, club president, fproctor1@comcast.net, 540-951-9512