Booming Blooms

Garden Club of Virginia publishes new study.

Photo courtesy of the Garden Club of Virginia.

Visitors at the Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

In October, the 81-year-old Garden Club of Virginia received the results of its first economic impact study and discovered something many of its 3,400 members already knew: Historic Garden Week packs a big punch.

“While complete data wasn’t available all the way back to the very first tours in 1929, the Garden Club of Virginia was able to provide reliable figures estimating the cumulative impact of Historic Garden Week over the last 45 years to be $425 million,” says GCV executive director Lynn McCashin. In 2014 alone, the country’s oldest house and garden tour, which saw nearly 30,000 visitors to the 234 private houses, gardens and historical sites that comprised its 31 tours around the state, had a total economic impact of $11 million. (The survey was conducted by Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics.)

Data was collected for visitor spending on food and hotels, as well as the costs of preparing homes and gardens for tour day (which often begins several years in advance), and the financial benefit that GCV’s garden restoration projects reap from the annual week-long event. “It’s the largest ongoing volunteer effort in the state,” says Karen Miller, HGW director. “We felt an economic impact study would validate that work.” VaGardenWeek.org

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