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Sylva Garden Club

We believe that plants have a central role in our modern lifestyle, wellbeing, transforming urban spaces into a beautiful, healthy and sustainable environments.

The Sylva Garden Club is a non-profit, educational, and philanthropic organization open to all who have an interest in gardening. A “green” thumb is not required. Annual membership dues are $25.00.


  • To provide a non-profit, philanthropic, and educational association for members

  • To promote the knowledge of wild and domestic flora and fauna

  • To assist in the beautification of private and public grounds

  • To encourage young people to pursue careers in horticulture, botany, and landscape design

  • To encourage environmental improvements through civic development, beautification, restoration, and the protection of our natural resources

  • To support, as an affiliate, the programs of The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. and the National Garden Club, Inc.


Members provide monthly birthday bouquets to the Jackson County Meals on Wheels program and are involved with the Appalachian Women’s Museum and the Jackson County School of Alternatives Horticulture Program.



The Sylva Garden Club meets the first Tuesday of each month September through May except January. Meetings are held at the Sylva Presbyterian Church. Following the business meeting is a local guest speaker. Topics are varied. Refreshments are served!

Come learn about gardening and participate in the Club’s various projects!

Get to Know Us


Helen Butler

Vice President

Wand Roming

2nd Vice President

Fran Grace


Nancy MaConnell


Sue Eggers

Sylva Garden Club History


Jackson County Garden Club is organized, and becomes a member of Garden Club of NC and National Council of State Garden Clubs


Sylva Garden Club separated from Cullowhee Garden Club to form The Sylva Garden Club. The club planted dozens of pink and white dogwood trees along the Old Asheville Highway as its first Arbor Day project and Placed concrete planters along Main Street. Annually the club continues to plant flowers and maintain them, they placed other planters, constructed of brick and stone, were built on the corner of Spring and Main Streets, and worked to beautify grounds around the Jackson County Health Center on Ridgeway Street near the Court House. In 1960, The beginning of the present Mini-Park emerged when the Sylva Garden Club planned and managed construction of long masonry planters and retaining wall and planted trees and shrubs near Old Southern RR Depot. SGC contributed $200.00 to Southwestern Tech College for providing labor for the long brick planter. Through the late 60's, the Sylva Garden Club continued to plant and maintain all the projects described above and they help of several organizations in the area, the club organized the removal of seven truckloads of trash from Scott's Creek which runs through downtown Sylva. SGC held annual picnics with Murphy and Cullowhee GCs. The club won the first prize for the state of North Carolina of $500 from Sears and Roebuck for communities nationwide that cleaned up and beautified their towns. Report for Sears award lists 28+ projects around town In 1964, the club created a Anti-Litter Campaign which was a sound film “Keep America Beautiful” shown to 2,500+ people, they ran a poster contest in schools “Know Jackson County “ Q&A on WMSJ Anti-Litter Radio announcements on WRGC By 1965, SGC had sold 2,000 flowering trees and shrubs, SGC began placing decorated Christmas tree in Main Lobby of Hospital, SGC directed and judged Flowers and Plants section of Jackson County In 1966, the Plan for Depot area won Award 14 , Annual meeting of District 1 held at 1st Baptist Church, decorated the Christmas tree at Hospital, SGC won Award #11 State award for Fountain area, Downtown Sylva “new” Jackson County Jail was Landscaped 1300 tulip bulbs in downtown planters The club planted a Memorial Planter for Mrs. Roslyn Strother Burgess, Mrs. Teddy Smith Hughes, and Mrs. Madge Brides Wilson (deceased SGC members) at MiniPark . Mountain Empire Award from WMSJ presented by James Childress of Sylva (Pres. Of Childress Radio Group) “In all modesty, we state that the town government of Sylva will now go along with at least half cost on any undertaking which the club suggest in public places” In 1968, SGC was responsible for the creation of the Jackson County Beautification Council. Seven. SGC won Hazel Kepler Silver Bowl for the Conservation of Birds Project (4x8 poster on bird migration, 2 newspaper editorials and 5 news items about birds and SGC, Sold birdfeeders and bluebird houses, 4 programs on birds) In 1969, SGC held Flower Show at Methodist Church.


While maintaining earlier projects (downtown, anti-litter, courthouse, fountain, mini-park), the club worked diligently to create a two acre park in an area near the courthouse that had been used as a dump for old county equipment and derelict cars. The park included the planting of ornamental trees, shrubs, and three plant beds and also a sidewalk and steps to the upper level. A bench and water fountain were also included. The club received assistance from many members of the community. SCG beautified the vertical bank at the corner of Main and Walnut Streets by planting carpet junipers. (now the First Union Bank parking lot). FUNB donated $400 for beautifying the Corner of Main and Wlalnut with Sloping and landscaping of bank with Carpet junipers, 4 tons of rock and debris removed, the county brought in 6 truck loads of soil, The work was done by University Boys, 60 junipers and 3 inches of pine needles On July 4th of 1976, the Park was dedicated as Bicentennial Park in honor of the nation's 200th anniversary. Each year annual plants are placed in the three plant beds created. The club applied for GCNC South Atlantic Region Award for 2nd and 3rd phases of Bicentennial Park. In 1978, the club started “Little Town of Flowers” a local publicity Anti-Litter message on the masthead of the paper “Keep our Town of Flowers LITTER-FREE. Please can the litter! Additionally, SGC maintained 30 planters in downtown and 4 large flowerbeds in Bicentennial Park, Planted 38 shrubs and trees at the northern end of Bic Park. 3 Hemlock, 7 azalea, 12 forsythia, 3 japonica, 3 beauty bush, 6 hydrangea, 1 sourwood, 1 service tree. SGC Received Lucille Beane Award for Civic Development from NCGC for Bic Park. They decorated a christmas tree in main lobby of hospital, created flower arrangements and potted plants to public library and hospital every month. On arbor day – Balsam fir was planted in Bic Park in the snow. In the spring 78, the club planted 6 Rhodos, 14 azalea, 28 blue carpet junipers, 2 hybrid Rhodos in Bic Park. During the summer of 78, the club planted 425 Begonias (Red, Pink, White) and 75 white chrysanthemums, 1,200 begonias and marigolds planted in Sylva planters, 4 beds at Bic P, planter in main section of Mini Park. 20 hybrid Rhodos and 9 azaleas were added to Bic Park and 2 hybrid rhodos planted in Bicentennial Park in memory of Mrs. Thelma Peterson. The Bird committee planted a Spruce tree in Center of Bic Prk Red bows and pinecones filled with PB. They stated fund raising with pecans at the Sylva Flea Market.

Mini-Park completed/ 3 trees and 82 shrubs, 90 tulips planted One mile tree walk completed; Guide sold for $1 advertised in paper for 6 weeks: 2 trees planted for tree walk, Guide revised Xmas tree at hospital (15th year) Three shrubs planted at Bic Park 1,200 Begonias and Marigolds in planters Fruit box given to JC Rest Home WNC Beautiful contest of WNC Development Assn, Inc. - Non-community club (30 entries) SGC won 1st prize ($300) for enlargement and beautification of Mill Street Mini Park. Club responsible for design and supervision. Also donated $439 for labor and $600 for plants and materials. (Also won 1st prize in 76 for Bic Pk). Arbor Day Planted Bradford Pear in Bic Park. Sold out Pecans October 1, SGC Day proclamation by Mayor SGC sold litter baskets for cars 4 state awards (silver bowls) 2x for anti-litter, civic imp, wild birds 27 regular members. The first “One-Mile Tree Walk” was created. Thirty-four different trees were marked and included in a one-mile walk in downtown Sylva. A guide book identifying each tree was developed to accompany the walk. SGC won Garden Club S. Atlantic Regions Award for Tree Walk. (Cullowhee GC still going) 15 years ago SGC won 3 state awards Mini Park Extended SGC applied for Christine Shipp Award for Radio/TV for publicity on Tree Walk 7 tapes by Polly Fuller - 2 each month May-Oct SGC applied for Katie B. Hines Horticulture Award for Civic Achievement SGC won S. Atlantic Regional Tree Award for Tree Walk Blue Spruce planted on Jackson County Chamber of Commerce ground in memory of Ken Perry Arbor Day Participated in Wild flower of the Year project of NC Bot. Garden and GC of NC. Ist wildflower was Cardinal Flower. 6/30/83 Flowerbeds at Bicentennial Park vandalized (287 of 359 plants pulled up). SGC awarded Honorable mention for Marie Rehder Gerdes Award for Civic Beautification Masonry and Redwood Seat for Taxi Drivers so they wouldn't sit on flower planters (corner of Main and Spring Sts, location of Sylva's 1st traffic light). 4/28/83 Sylva Herald article SGC helped to beautify the grounds in front of the Sylva Arts Center, helping with the design and labor and donating some of the shrubs. Location? Planning Board asked SGC to “work on landscaping of the Community Service Center” (same as Sylva Arts Center?) SGC applied for Katie B. Hines Horticulture Award for Civic Achievement 3 projects. 1) Front of Sylva Arts Center (W. Main St old school) (SH article) 2) County Administration Bldg Grounds (SH article 1/26/84) 3) Mini Park #2 Across Allen St from east end of Mini Park 1 NCGC District 1 Civic Beautification Award District 1 Plant a Legacy Award to Pauline Hargrove Fuller of SGC Arbor Day – Planted cluster of Dogwood trees near bridge at Grindstaff Road near Highlands Cleaners and Hemlock on bank behind building. NC Arbor Day = 1st Friday after 3/15. Anti-litter campaign - scripts for WRGC spots 25th Anniversary of SGC. Beautified and Landscaped Jackson County Animal Shelter. As several trees were lost, a new Tree Walk and guidebook were created. The guidebook “Three Short Tree Walks) was distributed through the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses. Also that year, in addition to maintenance of gardens and parks created earlier, 600 bulbs and 16 trees were planted along the expressway leading into Sylva. SGC began purchases and planting bulbs (incl Day Lilies) and and trees along highways leading into Sylva. 600 bulbs and 16 trees have been planted at the expressway exit by Jackson Plaza (roadside opposite Shopping Center on Grindstaff Road). Using a contribution from a Sylva citizen (Herbert Schulman), the Club planned (Mrs. Theodore Fuller) and created a small memorial to a local man (Annual Wheeler 1901-1985) in the corner of the First Citizens Bank parking lot on Main Street. SGC planned and spearheaded the eradication of kudzu and hydroseeding planting of grass by the post office (between Walnut and Spring Sts). Many town organizations, businesses, and citizen helped complete this project. SGC sponsored NCGC District 1 meeting. SGC provided Xmas tree at Hospital. 1,000 bulbs planted at bypass and on Bicentennial Park bank. Picture of “S” planting on 4 lane and, Highway beautification pictures; Many photos of plantings in Sylva and Highway (id sties and do Then and Now? (87-90 scrapbook) SGC sign at west entrance of town by Allison Outdoor Advertising. Certificate of Recognition from Mountain Pride Daffodil bulbs and then marigolds were planted at Bryson City By-pass to form a large “S” and 12 benches were placed in downtown Sylva. Using the motto of the GCNC “Together We Can Make a Difference”, The Sylva Garden Club began a practice that continues today...attending meetings with other local groups to bring about beautification and environmental improvement to Sylva. The club continued to plant and tend all of the planters on Main Street and its two parks. Using a $500 donation, three Norway spruce, 15 imported rose bushes, and several fir and day lilies were planted at Bryson Park, with the city providing labor and large rocks to outline the plantings. Bryson Park, 585 Chipper Curve Rd,



A program to select and honor the “Garden of the Month” was initiated. Maintenance of the three parks and Main Street plantings continued. Newspaper clippings of 1991 Yard of the Month winners 4/16/91. Pictures of mini-park flowering cherries (87-90 yearbook). Flowers of William Shakespeare's Time by Polly Fuller was awarded 2nd place Lando Lina Program Award. Certificate of Appreciation from NC Gov. Highway Beautification Council. SGC members regularly attended meetings of Sylva Town Board requesting that a small piece of land at the entrance of town housing a vacant gas station be purchased, cleared, and developed as a green area. This was done and continues to beautify the town. Tomorrow's Legacy Certificate from GCNC A third Tree Walk of the downtown area was mapped, using the expertise of WCU biologist Dr. Dan Patillo, and a new self-directed guidebook was printed. Maintenance of the three parks and Main Street plantings continued. 26 regular members Barbara William Lee Tree Award Application Certificates were given to several downtown businesses for their attractive beautification efforts. As the revitalization of Sylva's Mill Street became a reality, the SGC donated $2,387.00 for an area of the streetscape which included a tree, a bench, and a large wrought iron planter. (Across from Mini-Park) Allison Sign Company provided a large billboard announcing 40th Birthday of Sylva Garden Club. All parks and planters were maintained as usual The town of Sylva asked SGC to help with Bryson Park


40th Anniversary of SGC celebrated at Bicentennial Park The first scholarship of $400.00 was awarded to local student (?) to further studies in horticulture. Revitalization with new plantings and trees of Bicentennial Park was completed. A celebration was held on July 4th to commemorate the park’s 25th year with much publicity. Three parks and all downtown planters were maintained. The SGC adopted a Land Stewardship Program based on that of the Highlands Garden Club. SGC won 100 azalea plants via NC Beautification Award (17th Annual Azalea Celebration) (9/2002) Had to be picked up in Raleigh. Two $250 scholarships for horticulture students at local Smoky Mountain High School were presented. Floral arrangements and Christmas wreaths were presented at various public buildings during the year. The SGC added plantings at Mark Watson Park and planters on five Scott's Creek bridges. Bylaws and yearbook were revised with a District I win for yearbook. Applications were made for 501(c) (3) status. A three part plan for the renovation of Bicentennial Park was announced. Town of Sylva asked SGC to help with Watson and Bridge Park 2004 A $500 scholarship to a horticulture student was awarded. 501(c) (3) status was achieved. Phase I was completed which incorporated perennials into flower beds at Bicentennial, Mark Watson and Bryson Parks. Work began on installation of benches and sidewalks at Bicentennial Park. SGC won 100 azalea plants via NC Beautification Award (19th Annual Azalea Celebration) (9/2004) Had to be picked up in Raleigh. Park benches were installed and 100 NC Beautiful Azaleas were planted in the new planting beds around the benches. Town of Sylva agreed to assist in watering planters on Scott's Creek bridges. Incorporated several hundred shrubs and perennials into Bicentennial Park. Purchased and installed new composite containers on Historic Jackson County steps. 33 regular members. In late 2006, the club was introduced to the Bridge Park Project to be located between Poteet Park and Mill Street in Sylva. The SGC agreed to help sponsor this project, using some of the sugar maple trees made available to the club through the Elizabeth Dux Memorial (3 sugar maples planted at Jackson County Recreation Park in Cullowhee in memory of Elizabeth Dux), a cash donation of $5000 and an additional donation of $4300 from the 2006 pecan sales to be used for landscaping. Interest in revising our tree walk book surfaced in November 2006 when the Sylva Tree Walk was featured in “Our State”magazine. Existing books were deemed out of date due to the loss of a number of trees. Plans to revise the entire book will be completed in fall 2007. “The late Colonel Theodore Fuller created a sometimes overlooked but special activity for locals and visitors alike in 1981. Currently maintained by the Sylva Garden Club, the Sylva Tree Walk begins at Bicentennial Park near the old courthouse and features 44 species of trees. A guidebook and map as well as small signs at the base of each tree help visitors identify each type.” Our State: Down Home in North Carolina. Volume 74, No. 6 - November 2006, p. 26. SGC won Barbara William Lee Tree Award SGC won Margie O'Keefe Award for Litter Control Litter Sweep in May sponsored by NCDOT. Members collected 75+bags of litter. History of SGC is in the process of being reconstructed from old records. 26 regular members. 6/10/2008 Four 1st place ribbons and 4 25 dollar awards from NCGC. Litter Control (Marge O'Keefe) , Arbor Day, Viola Kiker Award for Civic Beautification, Best 1 year History (Catherine Williams Award for Yearbooks). First-place Blue Ribbon and 25 dollars from S. Atlantic regions for Arbor Day. SGC has earned (Pecan and Plant Sales) and set aside $10,000 for Phase II of Sylva's Main Street renewal project, including Phase IV of Bridge Park (adding electricity) SGC had 2 separate memorial funds for new East La Porte Park. Coordinated efforts with Town of Sylva Public Works Director to have Sylva continued as a “Tree City.” SGC provided scholarship for Horticulture student at HCC. Arbor Day planting by SGC 3 sugar maples in Bridge Park 3 sugar maples in Bryson Park several along Main street more sugar maples at East LaPorte Park Dogwood at Bicentennial Park SGC won South Atlantic Region of National Garden Clubs Van Drusen Tree Planting/Arbor Day award SGC held picnic in Bryson Park for local participants to get ideas for the Park Smokey Mountain interview re: Tree Walk Used by tourist, school classes, and scout troops to be published in Jan 2009 (Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Mag, Smokey Mountain Times) SGC donated $10,000 to new Library Complex SGC won 1st place Conservation and Preservation Award for restoring Tree Walk Used County greenhouse to pot plants for GUTM. Sylva is a Tree City SGC planted 7 sugar maples at Monteith Farmstead project (SH article 3/28/09) Blue Spruce planted at St John's Episcopal Church (SH article) SGC won 1st Place, GCNC Arbor Day Award Robin Weisner Award for Best 1-yr History Application and Blue Ribbon


Plaque for Polly Fuller – Sylva Herald 6/30/11 NC DOT Division 14 Statewide wildflower award from GCNC SGC decorated the stage and presentation area for Library's grand opening topiary bunny wearing glasses and reading a book Bow making workshop (141 made) for Mainstreet Xmas Decorations ?? SGC Archives started at WCU. Tree Walk in Boom! Magazine article by Barbara and Greg Petty April 2012 In conjunction with the county, work was begun on the Children’s Garden at Poteet Park by enhancing the existing space and structures. The goal is to add interaction, education, and color. Butterfly friendly plants were planted in the Mill Street planters.


Join Now

The Sylva Garden Club meets the first Tuesday of each month, September through May, except January. Meetings are held at the Sylva Presbyterian Church.

Sources: Fuller, Polly History of the Sylva Garden Club 1989-1990 Year Book, SGC Yearbook, 2018-2019

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