The Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) will host the 9th annual Works Progress Administration (WPA) Garden Heritage Day Celebration on Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to noon. This year’s celebration features Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander as the keynote speaker. The event will also feature a reading of known WPA worker names, and an appearance by WVEC on-air talent Ashley Smith, who will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. The Garden will offer complimentary admission between 9 a.m. – noon.
The WPA Garden Heritage Day event began in 2009 with the unveiling of the commemorative sculpture Breaking Ground and the dedication of the WPA Memorial Garden. The Memorial honors and celebrates the contributions of the 220 African-American workers whose labor created the Garden.
On June 30, 1938, Representative Norman R. Hamilton announced a Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant project to create Norfolk Botanical Garden. A group of more than 200 African-American women and 20 African-American men were assigned to the project. The workers cleared dense vegetation and planted the first azaleas around what is now called Mirror Lake. In just one year, thousands of azaleas, rhododendrons, shrubs and trees were planted. Laborers were paid 25 cents an hour.
Norfolk Botanical Garden represents an oasis of 53 themed gardens encompassing 175 beautiful acres. From stunning plant collections to WOW- World of Wonders: A Children’s Adventure Garden, this diverse landscape can be explored by tram, boat, or walking tours.
For more information, visit www.norfolkbotanicalgarden.org.