UNION — The members of the last garden club in Union and the city’s first botanical garden are joining forces.
Representatives of the Piedmont Physic Garden and the Good Neighbors Garden Club recently gathered at the garden to announce the affiliation of the garden and the club. They said the purpose of the affiliation will be to facilitate the continued development of the garden and to make it more accessible to the public.
“We’re forming an affiliation, the club members are going to be helping with garden projects and with garden tours for people who come in from out of town,” PPG Board Member Toccoa “Coie” Switzer said. “Right now the garden is only open by appointment, but with the affiliation with the club we’re hoping in the spring to have the garden open two days a week.”
Garden Club President Wayne Deal said he hopes the affiliation will be a “hands on collaboration” between two organizations that love gardening or, as he called it “the dirt.” Deal said that club members will serve as volunteers at the garden, helping it achieve its mission of educating the public about the importance of plants and promoting public awareness of the garden. He said that the charter of the Good Neighbors Garden Club — which he said is the last garden club in Union — directs its members to engage in activities that educate the public about and promote gardening through activities in the community.
The Good Neighbors Garden Club currently has 18 members. The projects it has undertaken including putting the gazebo in at Veterans Park. The club also sponsors the Flower Show at the Union County Fair.
The Piedmont Physic Garden was founded in 2014 by the family of Dr. Paul K. Switzer, a physician who practiced in Union for almost 60 years. In his memory, the Switzers donated two residential lots to PPG to create a small apothecary garden containing plants with historical medicinal uses, many native to the Piedmont and the Southern Appalachian corridor. That same year, the family of the Honorable Jack and Nonie Flynn, donated two adjoining lots, significantly expanding the scope of the garden.
PPG Founder Toccoa W. Switzer said that is it hoped that the garden will become a resource for the community as well as a tourism destination that is pleasing to the spirit.
The garden’s creation was inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden, a small botanical garden located in London, England. The PPG is one of only 2,000 botanical gardens worldwide. Since its founding, the PPG has also become a member of the American Horticulture Society Reciprocal Admissions Program which serves approximately 300 botanical garden across North America.
Plans are for the PPG to eventually include an apothecary garden as envisioned in the donation made by the Switzers. In the long-term, the properties will be converted into a campus that will house several ornamental garden areas, and the existing homes used for housing interns and visiting faculty.
PPG is a 501 (c) (3) organization whose mission is horticultural and environmental education for children, teens and adults in Union County and the surrounding Piedmont region of South Carolina.