The Southern Pines Garden Club was founded in 1948 by Mrs. Elizabeth "Buffie" Ives and her friends with the purpose of giving horticultural support to the restoration of Shaw House, a historic landmark built in 1820. Twenty "knees in the dirt" gardeners, all active members of the Southern Pines community, were asked to join the organization. The club continued to focus on projects that directly enhanced the beauty of the town "wherever needed".
An annual garden tour was established at the beginning to help finance the landscaping programs of the club, and included the homes and gardens of owners. With increased revenue from these popular tours, more ambitious plans were achieved. From the first, Alfred B. Yeomans, the distinguished local landscape architect, aided the club with free advice on native plant selection and design. At the newest schools, the town hall, along the railroad tracks and along major town right of ways, trees and flowering plants were installed by club members. This work continued for decades and today these mature trees and shrubs define our exceptional and well-known downtown landscape.
When the Weymouth Center was founded in 1977, the Southern Pines Garden Club gave a $500.00 check to the Board specifically to help save the historic flowering cherry trees. In the towns of Southern Pines and Pinehurst, the club organized volunteers to improve the appearance of signs, rights of way, sidewalks and unsightly dumps. Member's voices were heard regularly at town meetings on issues concerning the preservation of trees, improvement of neighborhoods and quality of life. Today's Southern Pines Appearance Commission is the direct descendant of these early collaborative efforts.
Presently the Club has 36 members dedicated to continuing the work of its founders. The yearly tour of homes and gardens in April provides funds for scholarships for horticulture students at Sandhills Community College as well as professional lectures and local perseveration and education projects.
Among the most recent projects of the club is the replanting of missing dogwoods along major roadways in our area. These original dogwoods were dedicated as a Southern Pines World War II Memorial by Alfred Yeomans and planted by the town. The Southern Pines Garden Club continues this effort with new plantings that will mature as a fitting reminder to those fallen in war.
The Southern Pines Garden Club continues to actively underwrite and support the remarkable cultural landscape that is the hallmark of Southern Pines.
Written by Andrea Leech, SPGC member