The Garden History & Design Committee of The Garden Club of America uses

•photography and research,•the study of good design practices,•educational and lecture programs,•historic preservation awards, and•internships

to develop an appreciation of America’s significant gardens.  The committee works closely with the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Gardens** (see bottom of page below photos for a GCA summary) to document cultivated gardens throughout the country. 

Link to Archives of American Gardens - Smithsonian Institute Research Information System.
Kanawha Garden Club has been responsible for submitting several West Virginia gardens to the Smithsonian Archives.  Club member's gardens submitted include those of Clara Thomas, Carter Giltinan, Nancy Chilton, Gloria Jones, Mary Anne Michael and most recently Marion Jones.  The submission process is extensive involving a narrative, photos, plant lists, garden design plan and more.  Links to some of our gardens are:

Archives of American Gardens Search by State

WV Gardens  (Except for Jones & Michael which are linked below)

Jones Garden

Michael Garden

**Archives of American Gardens
(reprinted from the Garden Club of America website)
The Archives of American Gardens (AAG) was established to provide scholars, researchers, and interested persons with visual documentation of cultural, historic, and vernacular gardens. Its primary mission, in conjunction with the Garden Club of America’s Garden History and Design Committee, is to collect unique, high quality images and documentation relating to a wide variety of cultivated gardens throughout the United States that are not documented elsewhere. In this way, AAG strives to preserve and highlight a meaningful compendium of significant aspects of gardening in the United States for the benefit of researchers and the public today and in the future.

Every moment a garden exists it is subject to the forces of change, loss, and, in some cases, destruction. A familiar and beloved garden today may become a distant memory in just a matter of a few years (or, in the case of a natural disaster, a few hours). Even the most meticulously maintained garden evolves over time to the point where it deviates from its earlier incarnation. Unless gardens are photographed and their origins and life span documented, the thought, creativity, care and labor that goes into them may be lost forever.
Gardens seldom follow a regimented design formula; they echo and highlight the region, culture, history and personal tastes that influence them. Despite their uniqueness, gardens are such a subtle and natural part of our surroundings they are often taken for granted and may not be “noticed” until they are in danger of disappearing or are gone completely. Documenting a garden helps to address the importance of recognizing its particular significance. It may take years for this recognition to occur, but when it does, it is crucial to have images to study in order to understand and appreciate the thought process and work involved in the garden’s creation. Indeed, the most frequently used portion of the Garden Club of America Collection at the Archives of American Gardens are the glass lantern slides that were created in the 1920s and 1930s. Only the foresight of the Garden Club of America to photograph what were then ‘contemporary gardens’ saved these gardens from total oblivion.

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