FSBG
Because Life Should Be Beautiful

Retrospective: 25 Years of Beautifying Columbia

25 years ago, gardening was on the rise

Gardening at A.C. Moore in 1985The year is 1985, and you could establish a state-of-the-art Square Foot Garden in your neighborhood or local school for only $25. Columbia Green launched the sale of Square Foot Garden kits 25 years ago. These kits included interlocking boards for raised flower or vegetable beds, three large bags of potting soil, a trowel, stakes, wire for trellises and printed instructions. The gardens, which were all the rage in the mid-80s, were the cornerstone of Columbia Green's neighborhood gardening efforts, and profits from the kit sales were used for other public planting efforts.

In 2010, Columbia Green continues to reach out to neighborhoods, but primarily through our Neighborhood Grant program. This grant program allows neighborhoods, schools, and community groups to plan a project on their own and apply for up to $3,000 for their beautification efforts. Read more about how your group can benefit from these grants.

Mann-Simons Cottage in 1984

Columbia Green's first beautification effort was a teaching garden at the Mann-Simons Cottage in 1984, which at the time was owned by Columbia Housing Authority and maintained by Wisteria Garden Club. The plantings were used as a demonstration garden, and Columbia Green held many subsequent workshops and teaching programs at the cottage, which is now under the auspices of the Historic Columbia Foundation. The cottage was built around 1825 and was the home of Cecilia Mann, a freed slave who walked from Charleston to Columbia, where she settled as a mid-wife. 

Forest Hills Residents pitch in - 1986

13 years ago, residents of Forest Hills pitched in to build raised planters in the neighborhood areas and filled them with dogwoods, azaleas and other beautiful trees and shrubs.  That same year, the Hollywood-Rosehill neighborhood received funding to beautify their local park with more flowering trees and shrubs as well as perennials and annuals.

Columbia Green's tree planting thrives in the 1990s

Columbia Green board members and city officials held a tree planting ceremony in 1995, kicking off the I-126 Gateway Project. This beautification effort landscaped Elmwood Avenue between South Carolina Highway 126 and Bull Street with trees that continue to thrive today. Columbia Green is continuing in it's efforts to plant more canopy trees with our 2009 Tree Initiative, part of our 25th anniversary celebration. Over the next five years, Columbia Green will spend $25,000 on new trees throughout the Columbia area.

School children grow stronger working the soil!

Columbia Green has been working with local schools since the 1980s when it was founded as a non-profit beautification organization. In 1986, children at Lyons School worked on landscaping efforts at their location; this year, Columbia Green was proud to award grants to both the Richland County Center of Inquiry and Hand Middle School for projects that allowed students and parents to participate in landscaping efforts. Other school projects include Arbor Day plantings at Caughman Road Elementary School, landscaping at Dreher High School and beautification at South Kilbourne Elementary School.

Columbia Green members

Educational programs have been well-attended since Columbia Green was founded in 1984. Here, members were treated to a program on Rhododendrons, Azaleas and a winter holiday workshop in 1992. Columbia Green will be hosting a canal walk in September where members will enjoy learning about the native plants thriving along the Columbia Canal which runs through downtown. Look for more information about this event in the coming month!

Show your support - and encourage another 25 years - by either becoming a member or donating to our efforts! Click here to learn more>>