Conservation has been a primary focus since the inception of The Memphis Garden Club (MGC) in 1921. Largely through the efforts of our club, Meeman-Shelby Forest became a state park. In 1937, MGC received a GCA Founders Fund Award for the wildflower trail that we planted in the new park. In 1997, MGC gave the seed money for landscaping the Information Center at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. In 1999, we revisited the park to restore the wildflower trail. Americorp, the park rangers and our junior group, The Sprouts, formed an alliance to protect and conserve the natural beauty of the park.


In 1972, our club received a gift of 21-acres along the Wolf River. The land, called “Riverwoods,” was designated a State Natural Area by the State of Tennessee in 1977. Approval of our original plan to turn this land into a nature center was denied by the City of Germantown because of their plan to build a parkway through the land.

After negotiations with Germantown, spearheaded for seven years by MGC member and past president, Jeanne Arthur, a resolution to this issue was finally agreed upon in 2005. MGC gave approval for Germantown to build the road. In return, the city agreed to modify the road as a four lane parkway to be designed by Audubon International. The Farmington Group (Boyle Investment, Mrs. Lloyd Lovitt, and Germantown Development) donated acreage allowing MGC, with state permission, to reconfigure Riverwoods State Natural Area. Germantown placed the abandoned northern section in a greenway, agreed to add other acres to the greenway in the future. They also purchased and donated to our club 40-acres north of the Wolf River. Walnut Grove LTD donated an adjoining 277-acres, creating a 318-acre parcel which MGC gave to the Wolf River Conservancy in 2006. These 318-acres will be protected by a conservation easement held by Ducks Unlimited. Riverwoods will be give to the State of Tennessee and will be jointly managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and Germantown. These transactions include about 450-acres, gifts to our club are valued at approximately $3 million dollars.

CLICK below to see a full description of the native plants in Riverwoods. It provides the botanic and common name, growth size, sun, blooming schedule, etc.

Wolf River Boulevard: A Native Plant Guide


Memphis Garden Club Members at
Riverwoods to pull privet in April.

GCA combined the Conservation (CON) and National Affairs and Legislation (NAL) Committees in 1999. CON/NAL has provided funds that enable public school teachers to serve as delegates to the University of Tennessee Conservation Workshops and provided public and private school children (4th and 6th graders) with GCA conservation packets. NAL addresses issues related to conservation and the environment with an emphasis on horticulture. NAL meets once a year in Washington to lobby Congress, hear speakers, and visit elected officials. CON/NAL supports a wide variety of national conservation organizations. Our club is encouraged to act locally and to think globally.


The most outstanding MGC project in recent years has been the production of The Memphis Flower Show (formerly known as “Flowers and Art”). Sixteen magnificent flower shows have been staged at The Dixon on even years beginning in 1978. The show was originally a Zone IX show and was designated one of nine major GCA sanctioned flower shows in 1984.

In five of the last six shows (1994, 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2008), MGC received GCA certification which recognized the excellence of each flower show and each show’s fulfillment of the three component criteria: artistic, horticulture, and conservation/education. This prestigious show draws horticulture and artistic judges and entries from GCA members locally and throughout the United States while reflecting the summation of the stated purpose of The Memphis Garden Club.

Memphis Botanic Garden (MBG)

The Memphis Garden Club (MGC) excels in its stated purpose “to cooperate in civic improvements” through its horticulture and garden design and development projects. After the opening of the Goldsmith Civic Garden Center in 1964, the Club contributed funds for the creation of a Water Garden and again in 1968 for a Sculpture Garden. In 1987 the Club gave the Volunteer Greenhouse to the MBG.

In 1993 additional funds were allocated for the refurbishing of the Sculpture Garden. Club members serve on the MBG Board of Directors and provide other valuable volunteer support. On alternate years, a MGC member serves as Chairman for “Party with the Plants”, a preview party for the garden’s annual spring plant sale that helps raise funds for MBG.

Dixon Gallery and Gardens


Since the founding of The Dixon Gallery and Gardens in 1976, a natural involvement has developed between the Dixon and The Memphis Garden Club (MGC). MGC members also serve in a variety of volunteer capacities from board members to greenhouse potters. The Club’s Fine Arts Committee is responsible for the Gallery’s bi-weekly and special events floral arrangements, including Christmas decorations.

Click to view
Cutting Garden

Gifts to Dixon from the MGC include a greenhouse (1981), a gazebo (1992), and generous donations to the cutting garden (1997, 1998, and 1999). The cutting garden was dedicated in 1999 and named The Memphis Garden Club Cutting Garden in recognition of MGC’s continued support of the Dixon.



Dixon Gallery & Gardens:

To remodel the MGC prep area for floral arranging in the potting hub.

Memphis Botanic Garden:

To renovate and enhance the Sculpture Garden (MGC project).

Wolf River Conservancy:

To support annual tree planting days at Shelby Farms Park. This is part of an ongoing plan to plant more than 1,000,000 trees in Memphis!!!

Hope House:

To support the summer Childhood Environmental Education Program. Monies would fund seed kits, plants, feeders, classroom supplies, teacher, transportation and staff. Hope House serves children from impoverished and HIV-impacted homes. (MGC funded Hope’s greenhouse.)

Other Projects which have benefited from the mgc’s donations include

  • Veterans Hospital
  • Juvenile Court
  • Memphis Academy of Arts (Memphis College of Arts)
  • Crippled Children’s Hospital School (Methodist Outreach)
  • Three-mile strip along North Parkway
  • Stax Music Academy Charter School

Funds for these and other projects have been raised from home and garden tours, fashion shows, county fairs, table setting exhibit, garden marts, a candle-light tour, etc.