The Southern Garden History Society (SGHS) was founded in 1982 by a small group of garden historians in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They envisioned a society to foster research, study, and a greater appreciation of historic landscapes and gardens across the South. From its modest beginnings, SGHS has prospered for more than thirty years, thanks to the hard work, dedication, and commitment of many people.
The founders of SGHS were William Lanier Hunt of Chapel Hill, John Baxton Flowers III of Hendersonville, and Flora Ann Bynum of Winston-Salem.
The founding board members were:
Flora Ann Bynum, Winston-Salem, NC
Pled Duncan Callicott, Franklin, TN
Hugh Graham Dargan, Atlanta, GA
John B. Flowers III, Hendersonville, NC
Glenn L. Haltom, Natchez, MS
Catherine M. Howett, Atlanta, GA
William Lanier Hunt, Chapel Hill, NC
Florence P. Griffin, Atlanta, GA
Peter Edward Martin, Elsah, IL
Geraldine Meaders Moncrief, Monroe, NC
Gerald Shirley Powers, Houston, TX
David H. Rembert, Jr., Columbia, SC
Anne St. Clair Wright, Annapolis, MD
SGHS held its first annual meeting in April 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia. The annual meeting is held each spring in a different location in the South for the purposes of studying the garden and landscape history of that region, creating further interest in garden history and restoration in the area, and stimulating interchange of information and ideas among members.
In 2013, SGHS celebrated its thirtieth anniversary and published a commemorative program for the annual meeting.
SGHS began publishing Magnolia, a periodic journal, in 1984. The first edition noted the significance of the chosen name:
What more appropriate name for a newsletter of the Southern Garden History Society than Magnolia. Early naturalists visiting our southern states exulted in the beauty and majesty of this imposing evergreen tree native only to the region. Among all of our indigenous plants, Magnolia grandiflora has through the years come to be regarded uniquely as a symbol for the South.