Pearl McManus founded the Williamsburg Area Council of Garden Clubs in 1963 and became its first president. Mrs. Homer I. Bland, of the Middle Plantation Garden Club, was president from 1964-1965. Lillian Sutton Smith, was president from 1965-1967. These early presidents were the founding organizers of the Council.

As of May 2010, all older records of the Council and member clubs will be stored in the archives of Swem Library at the College of William & Mary.


1963 – Founding of the Council.

1965 – Worked to save 153 acres of hardwood timber when the College planned to sell timber-cutting rights to the College Woods.

1966 – Encouraged the clean-up and removal of wrecked cars at Kinnaman’s Garage on Richmond Road.

1968 – Held its first independent flower show at the Methodist Church.

1969 – Established a relationship with three governing bodies (JCC, York, City)

1970 – Planted first Arbor Day tree at Norge Elementary.

1973 – Continued to promote Arbor Day in the schools. Through generous donations to the Council, all public and private schools in the area received trees. Most of the schools held Arbor Day programs in conjunction with the tree plantings.

1973 – Oversaw the placement and arrangement of brick planters with “sizeable magnolias” in the Monticello Shopping Center.

1974 – Designed and installed the Prince George Street sidewalk and landscaping project.

1976 – Established the Stryker Garden at the Williamsburg Library dedicated to Dr. Polly Stryker, former mayor of the City of Williamsburg and rose cultivator.

1977 – Established the Baldwin Garden in memory of Dr. John Baldwin; Established planters along Prince George Street.

1977 – Held a high school photo contest and compiled the entries into the slide show, “America as it was – Beautiful”. This presentation was made available to the public through the Williamsburg Library.

1978 – Actively lobbied for the protection for trees as new strip malls were developed along Route 60.

1979 – Established the Cheerfulness Garden at Eastern State Hospital on the southwest side of Building 36 in the Geriatric Center, for the benefit of the patients there and for all others in the area.

1984 – Sponsored the Lafayette High School Science Department contest. Established a Roy Williams Landscape Design Fund at the College of W&M.

1986 – Held the first Arbor Day luncheon with the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County.

1987 – Provided support toward roadway plantings on Routes 199 and 60.

1992 – Organized the first Arbor Day Awards/Reception.

1994 – Established the Bettie Stivender Nature Camp Scholarship Memorial Fund.

2000 – Supported the beautification of the Hornsby Bridge.

2003 – Established the Arbor Day Award of Excellence to honor those who have been awarded the Commendation Award five or more times since 1986.

2004 – Donated a teakwood bench to the Baldwin Garden; Donated a Maple Tree to Yorktown at York Hall.

2008 – Placed a Blue Star Memorial Marker in the Baldwin Garden.

2009 – Received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Historic Triangle Corridor Enhancement Project of Jamestown Road.

2009 – Established the annual Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg fall work day.

2011 – Adopted a new logo by Williamsburg artist, Juliet Kirby.

2013 – Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Council.


At the general meeting on January 27, 2011, Juliet Kirby was recognized for creating the new logo. Juliet is a highly acclaimed Williamsburg artist who has also taught for many years. Her love is botanical art, and in appreciation for her logo design, she was presented with two orchid plants to add to her collection.


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