The Nelson County Garden Club was founded in 1935 by Miss Gertrude Ligon (second row left) and others for beauty, for food, for the environment and to enhance the quality of life in Nelson County. Over the years, Garden Club members have continued the legacy of Miss Ligon. The club is now over 80 years old.
1n 1942, Mrs. Fred Schilling (above) organized Nature Camp at Lake Sherando near Waynesboro. This camp outgrew the original location and moved in 1951 to the current facility on Big Mary's Creek in the George Washington National Forest, near Vesuvius, Virginia. Courses are given in ornithology, wild flowers, forestry, astronomy, geology, ferns and wildlife. Conservation is stressed, and the Garden Club funds a scholarship each year for a camper from Nelson County.
In June 1944, also under the leadership of Mrs. Schilling, the club purchased the former Presbyterian Church on Front Street in Lovingston. In the Garden Club's new home, a modest library was established with books donated by those wishing to honor Nelson County residents who served in World War II. In 1972, the club leased its Garden Center to the county without charge. The Center served as a branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library until May 1988 but having outgrown this facility, the library moved into its current home. The current building is dedicated to the 125 lives lost in the horrific August 1969 hurricane Camille. This building is now used for our monthly meetings.
Our Garden Club planted a memorial garden at the new library in honor of our deceased members. We have made additional plantings every two years in memory of those past members. The club continues to care for and provide supplies for the maintenance of the garden.
We continue to look for ways to continue our tradition of enhancing the quality of life in Nelson County while continuing to honor our members who have given so much to further our goals. We have established Nelson County Garden Club's Dorothy Lee Bowling Giles Horticulture and Environmental Studies Scholarship for a deserving Nelson County High School student.