Capitol Hill Garden Club In Washington, D.C., Since 1952

Community Projects

    Since 1952

The Capitol Hill Garden Club has a history of involvement in our neighborhood, performing gardening related services and projects to enhance our community. These activities have included gardening at libraries, working at the Arboretum, donating Spring bulbs for planting in public spaces, designing and building the new Verizon garden, and more.


    Current Projects:

CHGC Club Members Continue Efforts

At Eastern Market & Turtle Park

Once again, on April 8, 2017 a team of gardeners from our Club met at Eastern Market to weed and mulch tree boxes. It does not take long for this project to complete, but things sure look nice when it's over. Many thanks to Eileen Reagan, Pat Hanrehan, Marian Wiseman, Carol Edwards and Leanna Fenske.

Later in the month, on a rainy, cool Earth Day, a stalwart group of 10 garden club members and our young friend Kyle, who lives very near the park, spent the morning weeding and laying some mulch. The Community Services Committee again sponsored the event, and the club members brought tools and gloves for the tasks. The weeding went quickly with many hands. Muriel Martin-Wein, dressed in her finest bad-weather regalia, planted many zinnia seeds. The 750 daffodils we planted last fall put on a grand show for much of April, and we hope the zinnia seeds will bring great blooms this summer. We decided to allow a low-growing plant normally considered a weed function as a ground cover in the western portion of the park, as there are only scattered plants there. Its purple flowers add color to the park at this time of year, and these plants do not deplete the soil.

These are very valuable effort for our neighborhood, as nearly everyone who lives or works on Capitol Hill eventually goes to Eastern Market. And on weekends, this area is filled with visitors from around Washington and Tourists from around the country and the world.

Fall Turtle Park Workday

On November 5, 2016 the Community Projects Committee organized a second workday at Turtle Park, which is a very heavily-used triangle park just north of Eastern Market. A group that included 15 garden club members and six neighbors came out on a beautiful fall day to clean the park and plant 750 daffodil bulbs, several shrubs, and some perennials. At our first workday last spring, we removed dead, dying and invasive plants, spread about 100 bags of mulch, and hung a number of birdhouses.  Along with these plants and materials, we also purchased a hose that can reach all of the garden areas. The CSX grant obtained early this year and small donations from club members and neighbors provided the funds to buy all the items for both workdays.  Staff of the Capitol Hill Business Improvement District hauled away the many bags of refuse from both workdays.

In addition to being heavily used by neighbors and tourists, particularly on weekends, the park has become a site for other activities that are permitted by the Department of Parks and Recreation, which has jurisdiction over the park.  At least one bicycle group uses the park as a pit stop for their group bike rides and there have been two weddings in the park since late summer, one just a week after our work day.  We are glad to see these uses of the park, but we hope everyone respects the plants and does not abuse their right to use of the park.

At our last club meeting, 12 members agreed to help water the park to help the perennials and shrubs survive the winter.  With our very dry fall and the imminent arrival of winter, the plants desperately need watering to prosper. Sandra Bruce has agreed to coordinate the watering effort through the end of the year, when we will remove the hose for the winter.  The very kind neighbors who live next to the park on Independence Ave. came to help us at this workday and have agreed to allow us to use water from their home to water the plants, without charge.  Their outside hose bib is quite convenient to the park and we have left the hose new stretched out a bit, so there is not much need to drag it far.  And,as always, we are indebted to Muriel Martin-Wein, who helps at every workday and is our inspiration for this work in the park, having cared for it with the help of just a few others for more than a decade.  

Also, just before the big November winds came through, the DC Urban Forestry Administration sent a contractor to bring down the very large dangling branch on the largest tree on the park.  While this was considered an emergency removal, the crew also cut all the dead limbs on the tree, so it is free of these intimidating limbs.  Thanks to Ward 6 arborist Steve McKindley-Ward for his help in arranging this work.  Now that the responsibility for trees in parks under city jurisdiction has been transferred to UFA, anyone can call 311 and ask that trees in the city parks be cut down or pruned.  As Steve told us at our October meeting, the list of tree work is long and non-emergencies may require nine months to complete, but they will get to it.


CSX Awards Grant to Garden Club For Turtle Park

CSX Corporation has awarded a $2,000 grant to the garden club for our work in Turtle Park, the city park just north of Eastern Market. The company has established a grant program that will provide alleviation to residents directly affected by their Virginia Avenue Tunnel project and for beautification projects in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The CHGC is very grateful for this grant, as it will enable us to bring the Turtle Park back to its role as a showplace of Capitol Hill.

Longtime garden club member, Muriel Martin-Wein cared for the park for many years. She collected money from neighbors, convinced the city to do work in the park, arranged to have broken turtles replaced, coordinated work days, and hung many birdhouses. As her health began to restrict her activities, Muriel was less able to do these things, but her spirit remains strong and she retained her interest in the park.

Last winter, the Community Projects Committee of the club decided to sponsor a work day at the park to begin the renovation. The effort began with the application to CSX for grant monies to be used for materials and plants. The work at Turtle Park began on April 9, with a large turnout of CHGC members and nearby residents. This stalwart group pulled weeds and invasive bushes, planted rosemary, Hellebores, and liriope, and laid 75 bags of mulch on the park through rain and snow. (See story below.) The following day, a small group of members came to continue the work. Muriel was present on both days to help direct the work in the garden beds. Since then, she has recruited volunteers to help her complete the renovation work. She plans to continue this work in an effort to control the weeds and provide water to plants that need it. The Community Projects Committee will plan another major work day in the fall to lay mulch and plant spring-blooming bulbs, additional perennials, and perhaps a small tree or two. Because all the work will be done by volunteers, the funds from CSX will go far.

Thus far, the garden club project to renovate the park has been a great success. But we all know that weeds are persistent. If any club member or community resident would like to help Muriel over the rest of the spring and through the summer, please call her at 202-546-8977. And, she is still collecting birdhouses and donations to purchase them. Muriel also has several birdhouses that had hung in the park but need repair. If anyone knows of a person who could do the simple woodwork to repair these birdhouses, please let Muriel know. With CSX funds, the club will pay for materials. Muriel would like to hang a large number of birdhouses in the park so our neighborhood children can search for them, as did generations past when 75 birdhouses hung in the park.

Additional photos from this event may be found on our Recent Happenings pages here on the website or on our Facebook page.


Weeding and Mulching at Eastern Market

Also on April 9th, a group of Club volunteers led by Leanna Fenske, weeded and mulched the tree boxes on the north plaza of Eastern Market and in front of the Natatorium.

This is becoming an annual event for our Club, doing what we can to keep our neighborhood beautiful.


Capitol Hill Garden Club Conducts a

Holiday Wreath-making Workshop at the Hill Center


On Sunday December 6, 2015 the Capitol Hill Garden Club taught a wreath-making workshop at the Hill Center at the Old Navel Hospital. This activity was a project of the garden club’s Community Service Committee. Barbara Marks, Vira Sisolak, and Carol Edwards taught 12 workshop participants to make holiday wreaths with fresh greens.  The workshop was a success, and all the participants were happy with their final product.  The wreaths were varied and creative.


Participants were provided with some special decorative greens—variegated holly, eucalypts, and boxwood courtesy of the garden club’s Deck the Halls Workshop, and wreath forms, greens, hot cider and holiday tunes by the Hill Center.  Doris Celarier, Leanna Fenske, Joan Fallows, and Carol Edwards provided hand tied bows for everyone.  This event fostered good will in the community and informed participants about the garden club. Many thanks to Charlotte Oman, Program Director for the Hill Center, who ordered the greens and supplies, publicized the workshop, and registered participants. We are proud that this community service project fostered good will in the Capitol Hill community.


Dish Garden Workshop Held for Residents of
 Capitol Hill Towers Apartments

The dish garden, once a staple in the 'modern home', is now seeing a resurgence in popularity using an array of containers and plants, from tropicals, to succulents, to whatever you can imagine. But for seniors, especially those living in subsidized housing, access to the plants, planting tools, and the ‘know how’ to create a dish garden for their home or apartment can be a challenge.

So for our 2015 major project, the Community Projects Committee held a dish garden workshop at the local senior residence Capitol Hill Towers Apartments, located at 900 G Street NE. Nearly 20 residents attended and learned how to make and care for their own dish garden. To participate, our volunteers attended the April Club meeting where they learned the ins and outs of planning, planting and caring for a dish garden.

Each volunteer from the Club assisted a resident one-on-one to make the same dish garden arrangement made at the Club’s own Dish Garden Workshop held at the regular April 14 Capitol Hill Garden Club meeting.

The Club provided all materials including plants and pots.

The Club gratefully acknowledges the grant

it received from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation which covered the costs of this workshop for Seniors.  


Club Again Mulches Tree Boxes at Eastern Market

On March 28, 2015, a group of Club volunteers, led by Leanna Fenske, weeded and mulched the tree boxes on the north plaza of Eastern Market and in front of the Natatorium.  It was cold, but thankfully the sun was shining.   Barry Margeson, Manager of Eastern Market, and Leanna laid out fifteen bags of mulch. 

The volunteers, Carol Casperson, Wendy Blair, Betty Hageman, Barbara Marks, Stephen Bauer, Eileen Reagan, Sandra Bruce, Susan Thompson, and Rodney Burton, arrived at 8 AM and efficiently completed the project in about an hour.  This project began in 2014 when the newly formed Community Projects Committee responded to a request from Eastern Market to mulch the tree boxes on the plaza area in connection with the fall Bulb Sale.  All involved in our two years running can feel good about their contribution to the beautification of Eastern Market.  

Many thanks to our 2015 volunteers and also our 2014 volunteers, led by Ida May Mantel:  Sandra Bruce, Carol Edwards, Leanna Fenske, Elizabeth Hageman, Gene Smith, Mary Ann Sroufe, Jerry Sroufe, Sallie Strang, EJ Truax, Keats Webb, and Marissa Zapata.   


Older Community Projects:

Call To Action, for our long term members:

Now that we have this website, it would be great if long term members could look through their photo albums and other files to see what stories and old photos they may have from earlier Capitol Hill Garden Club Community Projects.  If you do, please contact the webmaster so that we can make copies of your stories and photos and include them on our website like the one(s) below.

@ 2016 Capitol Hill Garden Club, Inc.

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