The Philadelphia Committee of the GCA

celebrates 50 years

of nurturing a greener Philadelphia

Special Speaker and Friend: Jane G. Pepper

Dorothy Falcon Platt Recipient:  Pinkie Roe

At the recent joint meeting of the PCGCA, held on November 5, 2014 to celebrate 50 years,  thirteen former Chairmen of the Committee were recognized for their invaluable support over the past 50 years.  Under their direction, PCGCA has continued to move forward in fulfilling the original vision of three notable Zone V Club Presidents: Anne R. Dechert (The Planters), Mrgaret D. Dilks (The Garden Club of Philadelphia) and Lalite P. Lewis (The Weeders).

It was in 1964, on a long train ride home to Philadelphia from the GCA Annual Meeting held in Seattle, that these three women first conceived the idea of combining the talents and resources of the 10 Philadelphia area clubs to form a Committee to initiate worthwhile projects in their beloved city of Philadelphia.  The Invitation Meeting was on September 17, 1965 in the Boardroom of the Philadelphia Art Museum to 9 clubs.  First official meeting was on December 6, 1965 at 11 am at the Acorn Club; 9 clubs attended; dues set at $5.00.

Since that momentous train ride and the establishment of the special committee of the Garden Club of America, a.k.a. PCGCA,, over $750,000 has been distributed through grants to local inner city neighborhoods and landmark projects that continue to define the landscape of Philadelphia.  Stay tuned for the next 50 years!

Former chairs of PCGCA share a moment at the November 5, 2015 50th Anniversary Meeting.  Left to right are Chirs Larson, Libby Hill and Ruth Harbison.

History of the Chairman of the Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America

*CoChairs were named until elections were held

1995-1996          Mrs. John Hyland Dilks                                                                               The Garden Club of Philadelphia                                                                            Mrs. Francis A. Lewis                                                                                     The Weeders                                                                                1966-1968          Mrs. Francis A. Lewis                                                                                     The Weeders                                                                                 1968-1970          Mrs. Alfred W. Putnam                                                                                 The Garden Club of Philadelphia                                     1970-1972          Mrs. Carroll R. Wetzel                                                                                   The Weeders                                                                                 1972-1974          Mrs. W. Emory Burnett                                                                                 The Gardeners                                                                             1974-1976          Mrs. John R. Clark                                                                                             Four Counties Garden Club                                                 1976-1978          Mrs. Joseph M. Hoeffel                                                                                  Huntingdon Valley Garden Club                                       1978-1980          Mrs. Montgomery Harris, Jr.                                                                       The Garden Club of Philadelphia                                      1980-1982          Mrs. N. Ramsey Pennypacker                                                                     The Planters                                                                                  1982-1984          Mrs. George S. Greene                                                                                    The Garden Club of Philadelphia                                      1984-1986          Mrs. F. Peter Jordan                                                                                          The Garden Workers                                                               1986-1988          Mrs. Charles Benzel                                                                                          The West Chester Garden Club                                       1988-1990          Mrs. William G. Littleton                                                                                 Huntingdon Valley Garden Club                                     1990-1992          Mrs. Joseph J. Hill                                                                                               The Gardeners                                                                           1992-1994          Mrs. Richard M. Armstrong, Jr.                                                                   The West Chester Garden Club                                       1994-1996          Mrs. Howard M. Snyder III                                                                             The Planters                                                                               1996-1998          Mrs. John S. C. Harvey III                                                                                The Gardeners                                                                           1998-2000          Mrs. Leigh M. Larson                                                                                          Providence Garden Club of PA                                       2000-2002          Mrs. Thomas B. Harbison                                                                                Huntingdon Valley Garden Club                                     2002-2004          Mrs. C. Stewart W. Spahr                                                                                The Gardeners                                                                           2004-2006          Mrs. Leilani McCall-Gould                                                                              The Garden Club of Philadelphia                                   2006-2008          Mrs. Dawson Pennimen                                                                                   The Weeders                                                                           2008-2010          Mrs. Charles D. Dilks                                                                                          The Garden Club of Philadelphia                                 2010-2012          Mrs. Samuel R. Marshall                                                                                   The Garden Club of Philadelphia                                 2012-2014          Mrs. Kerwin C. Nailor                                                                                         The Garden Club of Philadelphia                                 2014-2016          Mrs. Kenneth Tietjens                                                                                        Huntingdon Valley Garden Club                      2016-2018          Mrs. Jeffrey A. Leonard                                                                                      Providence Garden Club                                      2019-2021          Mrs. John R Drinker                                                                                             Wissahickon Garden Club                                                2021-                      Mrs. Warren W. Ayres                                                                                         The Garden Workers

November 5, 2014

November 11, 2015 PCGCA Annual Joint Meeting

Marilyn Sprague dramatically presented the history of The Magnolia Tribute Garden and the journey we have taken to arrive at the ambitious project of the 2016 MTG Restoration in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service.   Her presentation can be viewed on the Magnolia Tribute Garden page of this website.

Weeder, Sally Wood, introduced speaker and friend, William Cullina, who shared amazing slides and imparted a fresh understanding of the science of botany to inspire us to become positive participants with nature.  Mr. Cullina, is the executive director of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and an award winning leader in horticulture, botanical design and management.  Title of his informative but humorous  presentation was "Sugar, Sex and Poison"

Dorothy Falcon Platt recipient, Laura P. Gregg  of The Garden Workers is congratulated by her President, Janet Frederick and award presenter, Laurie Marshall,  president of the Garden Club of Philadelphia.

November 1, 2017 PCGCA Annual Joint Meeting

The Dorothy Falcon Platt Award was presented by The Garden Club of Philadelphia President, Liz Clothier, to Deb Donaldson for her many accomplishments and ability to share her knowledge with others.   Deb's  Club, The Gardeners join her in celebration of the event.

November 6, 2019 PCGCA Annual Joint Meeting

Danielle DiLeo Kim, Executive Director of USA 250, Inc.  spoke about the plans she is coordinating for the Greater Philadelphia region in celebration of the 250th anniversary of our country in 2026.   The scope of the celebration and the thought and planning to accomplish this ambitious project was presented with enthusiasm and we were in awe of what just might be on the horizon for 2026.  

Left to right: Joint Meeting Chair, Susie Leonard,  Danielle DiLeo Kim, PCGCA Chair, Diane Drinker.

November 4, 2020 PCGCA Annual Joint Meeting via Zoom

Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic  a virtual Zoom Meeting was made available to all PCGCA members and their friends free of charge.   Our delightful speaker,  author Marta McDowell, presented an  informative and entertaining program taken from her book "All The President's Gardens."  How appropriate to hear her speak on such a timely topic the day after Election Day.    If you want to purchase a signed copy of her book use the following link:

Award winning and renown ethnobotinist, Dr. Paul Cox,  had us hanging on each word as he explained his research and inovative approach to diseases of the brain by studying proven patterns of wellness and disease from indigenous people..    To  purchase Dr. Cox's book "Plants, People and Culture, The Science of Ethnobotany"  you can go to

November 3, 2021 PCGCA Annual Joint Meeting via Zoom