Norfolk Botanical Garden 75th Anniversary Celebration

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NORFOLK, VA– Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) launches its 75th Anniversary Celebration beginning January, 2013. It’s an exciting year for the Garden with several celebration events scheduled. More than seven decades ago when the Garden opened – Franklin D. Roosevelt was the President of the United States, Walt Disney’s Snow White was publicly released and gasoline was approximately 10 cents a gallon. The country was also struggling through an economic recession. During this time of uncertainty, the future of the Azalea Garden project would require great faith and perseverance.

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 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 twenty-five cents an hour.

Thanks to the commitment of employees, volunteers and the community throughout the years, the Garden is presently an oasis of more than 40 themed gardens encompassing 155 beautiful acres and is the only WPA garden in existence today. It is a diverse garden with stunning plant collections that can be explored by tram, boat, or walking tours.  2013 is a time to celebrate the dedication of the WPA workers and the accomplishments of the Garden over the last 75 years! Come celebrate Norfolk Botanical Garden’s 75th Anniversary – 75 years and still growing!

The Norfolk Botanical Garden 75th Anniversary events include:

NBG Photo Contest January 1 – September 15
February Fun Month $5.00 Guest admission. Ride bikes all day, every day.
Big Bike Bash February 2
NBG Wedding Giveaway Week of February 18 – Finalists announced on Hampton Roads Show
Bridal Open House March 17 – Wedding Giveaway winner announced
WPA Heritage Celebration April 6
Evening with Maya Angelou May 2 at Chrysler Hall
Landscape Then and Now Exhibit April – September
Eagles of Tidewater Workshop April 20
Creation of NBG Glass Sculpture April 24 by Craig M. Smith at Chrysler Museum
Glass Sculpture Exhibit May 1 – August 18, Reflections of Nature by Craig M. Smith
Annual Plant Sale May 10-12
Virginia Arts Festival Concert May 19
Bressingham Gardens Tour May 20-28, Trip to England – English Garden Tour for Passionate Gardeners
Butterfly House Opens June 14
Hometown Hero’s Day July 4 – Military Appreciation, complimentary military admission
Honey Bee Festival August 17
75th Anniversary Gala October 5 – An Evening Celebration in the Garden
Family Fitness with Fido October 26 – Walk your dog through the Garden
Dominion Garden of Lights Thanksgiving – December 31
Million Bulb Walk November 23-27, 2013 and January 1-5, 2014

For additional 75th Anniversary events, including the 2013 Plant Society Shows & Sales, visit the Norfolk Botanical Garden website at

Press and Media inquiries–For a NBG Press & Media Kit visit the Garden’s Media Center at

This is the largest celebration in the Garden’s 75 year history!

About Norfolk Botanical Garden
Norfolk Botanical Garden represents more than 40 themed gardens including WOW- World of Wonders: A Children’s Adventure Garden. The Garden is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is recognized as a Virginia Historic Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a Virginia Green attraction, and is managed by the Norfolk Botanical Garden Society supported by the City of Norfolk. Admission is $11 for Adults, $10 for seniors and military, $9 for ages 3-17, 2 and under are free.  For more information, visit


The 200 African American women and 20 men planted the first plants in the Garden and left a remarkable legacy for all of Hampton Roads and the nation. By 1941, the Garden displayed nearly five thousand azaleas, and seventy-five landscaped acres that were encompassed by five miles of walking trails.