What We’re About

What we’re working toward is a greener, more beautiful Richmond through the thoughtful planning and planting of trees and public gardens, mindful of the city’s extraordinary heritage and location on the banks of the James River.

Our mission is to transform Richmond into a greener, more beautiful, more livable city. We advocate for the powerful connection between people and nature.

How We Came to Be, and Why

Capital Trees began in 2010 as a consortium of the Boxwood, James River, Three Chopt and Tuckahoe Garden Clubs of the Garden Club of Virginia. The four Richmond clubs were inspired by many people and one river, especially Rachel Flynn, then director of planning and development for the City of Richmond, Lynden Miller, New York City public garden designer and director of the Conservatory Garden of Central Park, and the James, the site of America’s founding and an important tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

We are literally rooting for the river. The more green earth we expose, the more concrete we can unearth, the more roots we can plant, and the more thoughtfully we choose those plants and the places we put them, the better we’ll all live, and breathe.

We know that storm water run-off is bad for the river and bad for the people and creatures who depend upon it, not only here in the city but also downstream of us and along the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. Thoughtless proliferation of impermeable surfaces – concrete medians, highways, parking lots, driveways, rooftops – create an expressway for rain water, so when we have as little as a sudden shower, water rushes through antiquated storm sewers and brings whatever is in its way, chemicals, fertilizers, trash, other pollutants and sometimes even raw sewage with it, directly into the river. Even the velocity of the water is damaging to the delicate underwater grasses we depend upon for filtration and breeding grounds for important aquatic life.

And we’re rooting for Richmond. Ours is a grand old city on a beautiful, historic river, but our public green spaces could use some help. We advocate for good stewardship of our city trees, public gardens, streetscapes and green spaces. We’d like to see some smarter decisions made about how, when and where we plant city trees and gardens and how we plan to maintain them once planted.

Since 2010, we’ve earned the recognition of people and organizations we respect, the confidence of some prestigious foundations, and made a lot of friends who share our concerns for our city. Our projects began with Three Chopt Garden Club’s renovation of the Historic Three Chopt Trail Garden at Cary Street and Three Chopt Roads, and the more ambitious 14th Street Project, Great Shiplock Park, the Daffodil Project and the anticipated Jefferson Greenway.

Capital Trees is a non-profit organization that came together in an effort to enhance and restore the urban landscape and public spaces in the Richmond community. We are recognized for our expertise in environmentally sensitive, responsible and sustainable beautification projects, for our collaborative relationships with other non-profits, and the volunteer power we can bring to a project. Further recognition includes the Garden Club of Virginia’s Bessie Bocock Carter Conservation Award, Scenic Virginia Trees Award for advocacy and demonstration of better planting standards for trees, and New Yorkers for Parks for our Daffodil Project.