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Preserving the Legacy of the Gardens at Culpepper Garden

The affordable senior housing community known as Culpepper Garden is unique for many reasons, but among the most significant is its location amid the gardens that the botanist Dr. Charles Culpepper created and lovingly cultivated for more than thirty years as part of his home. From the beginning of the project in the mid-1960s, the gardens were a vital part of creating Culpepper Garden a project Dr. Culpepper enthusiastically supported by providing his land at reduced cost.

Hence, the gardens are a historical asset of this affordable senior housing community and form part of its identity. Over many decades, Culpepper Garden’s determination to maintain the gardens has prevailed over the varied challenges of extreme weather, financial limitations, and the natural cycle of nature.

After the housing community was established and Dr. Culpepper became too old to take care of the gardens, their stewardship was assumed by Culpepper Garden board member Carl Gibboney and his wife, Wilhelmine. The Gibboneys revived and maintained the gardens, and they looked to the future by writing “A Garden Manual for Culpepper Garden.”

In 1981, Dr. Culpepper’s daughters, Myra Henry and Sarah Anspach, donated money to establish a Memorial Garden Fund to preserve and enhance their father’s legacy. Among those succeeding the Gibboneys in caring for the garden legacy were Culpepper Garden board members Alice McLellan and Sharon Sundial.

Today, Culpepper Garden’s board oversees the care and nurturing of Culpepper Garden’s flowers, shrubs, and trees through the work of a groundskeeper supervised by the community’s Plant Operations Director.

Dr. Culpepper’s perennials remain the main attraction of the gardens. To introduce additional year-round color for the enjoyment of residents, Culpepper Garden has established evergreen plantings in several strategic locations on the property and, in the process, has carefully relocated some perennials elsewhere on the grounds.

The gardens are valued across the entire spectrum of people who cherish this unique community including the members of the Culpepper Garden board of directors, who remain committed to the preservation of Dr. Culpepper’s legacy.

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