Atop the namesake, Mill Mountain, a mountain within the city limits, is the pride and joy of the Mill Mountain Garden Club. In the fall of 1971, the City of Roanoke asked the Mill Mountain Garden Club to develop a two and one-half acre wildflower garden atop Mill Mountain, an area deeded to the City with the stipulation that it remain a public park. Professional landscaping was already planned, and the city agreed to grade the site and install irrigation. It was not until 1975 that this was accomplished.
The planting of the first 36 trees that spring coincided with a series of vicissitudes that would have discouraged anyone but true garden club members. The City mistakenly hydro-seeded the entire area with tough fescues. Hurricane Eloise obliterated the paths, poison ivy flourished, and two forest fires and a drought closed the mountain to visitors. But members of Mill Mountain Garden Club persevered – weeding, mulching, transplanting ferns and wildflowers and overseeing the professional planting of shrubs and trees. Today, with a planned system of meandering paths, the garden connects the picnic area of the Mill Mountain Parkwith the Mill Mountain Zoo.
Since the establishment of The Mill Mountain Garden Club’s Wildflower Garden 46 years ago, over 80,000 club member hours of work have cultivated, nurtured and expanded this crown jewel of Roanoke, Virginia. It is now a living connection between the City’s Discovery Center and The Roanoke Zoo. An amphitheater enhances the site as an educational tool, making it a working ‘classroom on the mountain.’ Many kids, big and small, enjoy the small water feature, too. Thousands of students and visitors to the city enjoy the efforts of Mill Mountain Garden Club as they explore the unique natural setting and the magnificent examples of native plants and horticulture specimens within the Mill Mountain Wildflower Garden, a treasure within the city limits. For directions to the Wildflower Garden, click here.