Happy 50th Anniversary, Arboretum!

“In the Arboretum”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Nannine Clay Wallis’s bequeathal of her 616 Pleasant Street home to The Garden Club of Kentucky, to be used as its headquarters and to promote gardening. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the garden is a certified arboretum. GCKY is the only state member of National Garden Clubs to have its own headquarters and an arboretum. What a magnificent gift Mrs Wallis gave the Garden Club, Paris, and all who are interested in gardening and learning more about gardening.

Mrs. Wallis had three loves: gardening, her husband Frederick, and children. She was always generous with her 3.6 acre garden, and she hosted many school, church and other groups to visit and even picnic.

The Garden Club of Kentucky has continued to make the Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum available for groups. On Monday, July 12, more than 100 children will participate in the annual Kids Day at the Arboretum.

Another custom that GCKY has continued is the planting of the latest introductions of plants with each marked as to name, date and if planted in honor or memory of a person or group. Some are collections of a plant, such as the Hosta, Crabapple, and Daylily. Others are grouped in specific gardens including Rain, Butterfly, Monarch, and Herb gardens. The Arboretum plants have outdone themselves this year, as if they know they are a part of the 50th-year celebration.

Among the spectacular trees is the Tricolor Europian Beech (Fagus sylvatica), whose striking purple foliage with creamy pink and rose margins make it a stand-out. It greets visitors (no admission fee) just left of the 7th Street side of the entrance. Equally stunning is The Rising Sun redbud (Cercis canadensis) located to the right of the rectangular pond. Its new foliage is apricot that turns yellow and yellow-green as it matures. Among the trees from the 1900s is a row of ginkgo that separates the Gazebo from the original cutting and vegetable gardens. They are now the site of the Crabapple, President’s (former GCKY presidents’ favorite plants) and Daylily gardens that includes varieties hybridized by Martha Porter, a former GCKY president.

Come visit our wonderful gift from Mrs. Wallis. It is open to all during daylight hours and is available for special events – GCKY club meetings, family picnics, weddings, etc. Contact: 859-987-6158 and leave a message.