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Four-city TCC campuses need helpers to create historic gardens


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – (April 18, 2007) – With today’s ‘luxury’ of abundant flowers and shrubs, the Jamestown founders of 1607 would be amazed at America’s Anniversary Gardens now underway in Virginia. And they would be proud of the collaboration and citizen involvement in honoring 400 years of Jamestown.


Especially here in South Hampton Roads - where citizens will join Tidewater Community College staff and students on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to noon, to plant Jamestown Commemorative Gardens on each city’s TCC campus and in front of Chesapeake City Hall. Planters ready to help include Master Gardeners and Cub Scouts.


At TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, horticulture faculty will demonstrate how to make a container garden with red, white and blue plants, on the half hour from 10 to noon. To help home gardeners with their own creations, TCC will offer free Jamestown Commemorative Garden information kits, created by faculty and assembled by Girl Scouts.


The gardens - designed by TCC horticulture students - will boast a mix of plants with historic meaning, native to the region, and both annual and perennial (returning) plants. All will blossom in “palettes” of red, white and blue.


TCC’s renowned horticulture degree program stepped forward to launch the gardens, beginning to plan them during winter months. Students and staff also grew 500 assorted annuals in TCC’s greenhouses to get a start on the thousands of plants, shrubs and trees needed to fill five very large, permanent new gardens. Designs, shapes and sizes will vary at TCC’s campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.


  • The Chesapeake Campus garden will shape up in a 40' x 45' bed around the flag pole in front of the Pass Building.
  • Norfolk Campus’s garden, in a pentagonal shape, will take approximately 1,100 square feet, surrounding the flagpoles on the plaza by Andrews Science Building.
  • Portsmouth Campus will have 14 container gardens placed around Beazley Building, because that campus will move in the near future to Victory in the city of Portsmouth.
  • At the Virginia Beach Campus, between the Kempsville and Princess Anne buildings, the garden will measure 40' x 40'.


To locate where to join the garden planting, click Campus Maps; the chart will include campus maps and driving directions. For more information, call TCC’s Information Center at 822-1122.


Historical Notes: Jamestown founders would have grown very fragrant posies, if they had the luxury of flower gardens versus food, says TCC history professor David Kiracofe, a Colonial America expert and author. “Scents that covered up the smells of their rather dirty, foul-smelling environment were highly valued,” he notes.


That’s why the governor wanted flowers to keep the air “passing sweet” in the first House of Burgesses meeting, says Kiracofe. Researchers believe those would have been native flowers like honeysuckle, trumpet vine, clematis, sweetbriar, swamp roses and red swamp lilies. 


With food production a major factor, fig trees were mentioned in one of the first large gardens, and the sunflower - a native plant - was often cited in early records, probably because of the edible and oil-producing seeds. “They were always on the look out for marketable commodities,” adds Kiracofe. And basic gardening-type tools appear to have been spades and billhooks - which point towards trees as part of English garden design. 



Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College is the second largest of the 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, enrolling more than 37,000 students annually. The 37th largest in the nation’s 1,600 community-college network, TCC ranks among the 50 fastest-growing large community colleges. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-four percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit