Sometimes the biggest impact on a community comes from simple, small beginnings. Such is the case of The Garden Boutique of Reynolda Gardens. This beautiful, charming and unique garden and home accessories shop is not only a good place to find a special gift, but it is also the headquarters for the Garden Club Council of Winston-Salem, 850+ members strong, from 22 garden clubs across the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County area. It might surprise you to know that The Garden Boutique has been around for over 50 years and that, behind the scenes of this quaint shop, is a hardworking group of volunteers making our city beautiful through fundraising and donations to support projects of beautification, restoration and conservation in our community for future generations to enjoy.
The Garden Boutique began as a consignment shop in the old Sears building in the early 1950s. As the store grew and changed, it eventually moved to its current location in 1972 as a part of the historic shops at Reynolda Village.
“Our visitors are often amazed that The Garden Boutique is a non-profit organization, with net income from the store sales going into the Garden Council’s programs and projects, including Friends of Reynolda Gardens and recipients of grants from our Beautification Fund. Forty-five percent of our income goes to The Friends of Reynolda for support of Reynolda Gardens. The other 55% is placed in the Council for the Beautification Fund to benefit people who apply for grants, given for plant materials for community, church, school and non-profit gardens,” said Loy McGill, President of Garden Club Council. Some of the projects that we enjoy every day that the Garden Club Council and Boutique, as its permanent retail operation, have supported from beautification efforts are Paul J. Ciener Gardens, Tanglewood Park, Buena Vista Median Project, Martin Luther King Boulevard, and, more recently, the plant materials for the walkway under construction between Trade and Cherry Streets in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. For many of us, including myself, who grew up and attended WS/FC Schools, the Garden Club Council, has given away over 500 trees for decades to fifth graders on Arbor Day. I remember the Sugar Maple that I brought home and planted all those years ago and I had no idea the people who were behind that little tree. To accomplish all that The Garden Boutique does takes a group of dedicated volunteers with Ann Rudkin, Chairperson of The Garden Boutique Committee of The Garden Club Council, and Charlotte Croft, The Garden Boutique Sales Manager/Office Manager at the helm.
“We want our customers’ purchases to be unique, so we put a lot of energy into selecting classic items that reflect the current styles, not seen at other home accessory or garden shops. We’re always on the lookout for something new, so our inventory is constantly changing, keeping the store fresh. In addition to paid staff, many volunteers are members of local garden clubs, and they volunteer and give their time so that The Garden Boutique can, in turn, give the proceeds back to our community,” said Charlotte Croft.
For Those Who Like to Dig in the Dirt…
The Garden Club Council also offers scholarships to students who are currently attending or applying to local landscaping and agricultural accredited NC schools. “Through The Winston-Salem Foundation, we offer scholarships to Forsyth County residents and those in the six counties that border Forsyth to pursue their education in the areas of landscaping or horticulture. We have given scholarships to those entering college, including community colleges and those who have made a decision to start a new career. A few years ago we had a woman who was a nurse, and she decided to change career paths and become a landscaper, and we awarded her a scholarship. Currently, we have a surplus of grant monies and encourage anyone thinking of a career in landscaping to go online to The Winston-Salem Foundation and apply,” Ann Rudkin commented.
The Garden Boutique, an arm of the Council, may look small from the outside, but there’s so much going on inside to beautify our community. “The Garden Club Council fuels camaraderie of the 850+ garden club members, educates about plant purposes, promotes conservation and good stewardship of the environment, as well as models a charitable spirit by giving back to our community. We continue to focus on beautifying our city that we love so much,” stated Loy McGill.
The Garden Boutique is located at 100 Reynolda Village, Winston-Salem, NC. Hours of operation are: Monday-Saturday 10-5pm, *Seasonally on Sundays 1-5. *Check with The Garden Boutique before visiting on a Sunday. For more information on upcoming events, visit reynoldagardenboutique.com or call 336-722-5640.