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Southern Garden History Society Turns Forty

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Flora Ann Bynum, William Lanier Hunt, and John B. Flowers III, all from the great state of North Carolina, started up the Southern Garden History Society in 1982 – forty years ago this year. Since then, thousands of members and their friends have gathered for annual meetings and other events in fourteen southern states. We have published the quarterly journal Magnolia – its many issues are now well-indexed and accessible through the SGHS website. And, during the slow-down of the pandemic years ’20 and ’21, we, as a society, redoubled our efforts in building an internet presence – entertaining and educational – on this website and via our Instagram account. Our efforts paid off, thanks to you, with increased membership and contributions even in these curious, sometimes difficult times.
When the Society was twenty years old, Peggy Cornett and Ken McFarland published a special issue of Magnolia telling the history of SGHS.  You can read that issue here:
Magnolia_SummerFall_2002.pdf
For our thirtieth anniversary, then president Staci Catron and Carleton Wood did a lot of digging for names and dates, and created a commemorative booklet looking at three decades of the Southern Garden History Society. This year, Staci, Carleton, and Gail Griffin updated the information and format to tell about the full forty years as our society enters its fifth decade.  Hope you enjoy it:
40th commemorative booklet can be seen here.

 

 

Follow Randy Harelson:
Randy Harelson, President (Louisiana) Randy Harelson was born in Macon, GA to parents whose families both came from East Baton Rouge Parish, LA, for many generations. The family moved back to Louisiana when Randy was seven, but always called him their “Georgia peach.” Educated at LSU Lab School and Louisiana State University, Randy moved to Massachusetts in 1974 to teach art in an innovative “integrated arts in education” program in Attleboro Public Schools. A gardener since childhood, he worked at Hill-Roberts Elementary School to develop an “outdoor classroom” of trees, shrubs, and flowers while a full-time art teacher. He later served as a professional designer and assistant horticulturist at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island. Randy’s broad career has included writing and illustrating nine published books, and running a retail nursery in Seagrove Beach, Florida that won the S. J. Blakely Award in 2003. Back home in New Roads, Randy has planted a small arboretum of trees and shrubs both native and imported, documented in Louisiana by 1860. Randy first attended a SGHS annual meeting at Mount Vernon in 2010. The next year his home was included in the Sunday tours at the Baton Rouge meeting. Randy and his husband Richard Gibbs, an architect and gardener, have been members ever since, and Randy joined the board of directors in 2015. At home they care for two acres of gardens, a 500-year-old live oak, the 200-year-old LeJeune House, and a Siamese cat named Miss Priss.

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