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Beautiful Gardens – Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens and Environmental Education Center


Beautiful Gardens began in 2004 by grants from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission (VTICRC) and the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association of Virginia.  Partnering in this effort to develop plants of distinction and new varieties that would enhance the nursery industry, were:

  • Department of Horticulture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (VT)

  • The Institute for Sustainable and Renewable Resources (ISRR) at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, VA

  • Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG)

  • Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS)

  • Virginia Master Gardener Association (VMGA)

  • Southside Master Gardener Association (SSMGA) [Halifax County]

  • Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE)

  • Claytor Nature Study Center at Lynchburg College

  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Goochland, VA (propagation center)


This was an effort to help find alternative means for tobacco farmers to use their land to plant crops, after the government buyout of the tobacco allotment. Virginia Tech provided instruction and many of the plants. There were five gardens in the state. The Southside Master Gardener Association took on the task of planting and caring for many varieties of plants to see how they would grow in our area and soil. There are many of these plants in the garden now. In 2010 the grants were not renewed and the Beautiful Gardens property reverted back to Halifax County in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).


In February of 2010 a group of Southside Master Gardeners met for the first time and organized the Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens and Environmental Education Center after much discussion, planning and coming to an agreement with Halifax County, who owns the land.  The Halifax County Board of Supervisors approved the application and agreement with the newly formed SVBG who pays for a long term lease of the 15+-acres.  Bylaws were established and a Board of Directors elected, followed with a membership drive.  It is the Board of Directors and membership that make up the SVBG with gifting as part of our financial stabilization.  The Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens is a 501c3 non-profit organization. The SVBG is open daily to the public, free of charge, following the rules that govern Edmunds Park.  The Southern Virginia Botanical Gardeners welcome new members and visitors to enjoy the gardens during regular park hours.


SVBG Children’s Garden

SVBG Children’s Garden began the spring of 2014.  Jonathan Chandler, Agriculture / Horticulture teacher at Halifax County high School received a grant for the purpose of planting a Children’s Garden. The garden was already in place with a fence and some planting beds. HCHS students built more beds and the grant paid for the soil mix. Garden beds are 4 feet by 4 feet and 1 foot deep and the soil mix is made of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost.  On March 15, 2014 Jesenia, Luke, Emma and Olivia meet with Southside Virginia Master Gardeners and parents, prepared the beds and planted beets, potatoes and onions.

2010 SVBG Board Members
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