The Perennial Garden Club of Washington, D.C. was founded in 1950 by thirty then
young women who were taking a flower arranging class from Mrs. Herbert Greger,
a member of The Trowel Club who won the coveted Katherine Thomas Cary Award
in 1978. She encouraged the group to form their own garden club, which they did,
and they were admitted into The Garden Club of America in 1960. The Perennials
knew this was not an honor granted lightly but did not know that attendance at
the Annual Meeting was mandatory. A silence fell as the fledgling club failed to
answer the roll call that first year. They have not missed a meeting since.
Following its first civic garden project in 1951 at the Washington City Orphan Asylum,
Perennial continued with many landscaping projects in the District of Columbia
including Decatur House (a National Trust Property), and from 1971-73, the
entrance garden of Blair House, the official guest quarters for State visitors to
the United States. In 1998 Perennial received the GCA Zone VI Historic Preservation
Award for restoration of the gardens at the historic Woodrow Wilson House, and the
Club continues to host the immensely popular annual garden party. Other current
projects include therapeutic gardens at the National Rehabilitation Hospital
and nine Habitat for Humanity gardens.
Perennial is filled with talented members and awards have been plentiful, among them the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Award,
the Zone VI Conservation and Artistic Awards. We are active in Zone affairs: our membership includes former Directors, Artistic and Horticulture judges, and Zone Representatives in many categories. In 1975 and again in 2004 we co-sponsored Garden Club of America Annual meetings. Additionally the club sponsored three 2-3 day symposia. The topics were researched with specialists at the
National Arboretum, and included bio-diversity, and the origin of plants from China and Japan.
In 2012, Perennial Garden Club was awarded GCA’s prestigious Founders Fund Award for “Growing Minds and Spirits,” an urban educational landscape project at the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys (BWS) in Washington, DC in a chronically underserved area east of the Anacostia River. BWS is a tuition free elementary school that serves low-income families of all faith traditions. Perennial designed an educational landscape introducing children to the natural world and the importance of caring for nature’s gifts. Experiences in the “Living Classroom” offer students an array of opportunities in multiple subjects while also learning that as stewards of the environment they will be rewarded with beauty, flowers, food and wildlife.
Perennials are a delightful mix of ages and experience. Members ask provocative questions, respond energetically to challenges,
grow marvelous flowers and plants in their own special gardens and work diligently to meet the exacting standards of GCA membership. We are involved in the community and love getting our hands dirty.