One of the best ways to increase your home’s curb appeal is to update your landscaping. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, local garden clubs can be great resources for learning about planning, planting, and nurturing your own garden as well as for sharing your horticultural skills with the community. Locally, there are several clubs with varying missions to consider. When weighing your options, be sure to ask membership chairs about requirements and benefits.
Bedford is home to not one but three garden clubs. In 1913, twelve regional garden clubs joined together to create the Garden Guild, which later became The Garden Club of America. One of those founder clubs was the two-year-old Bedford Garden Club. “In those very early years of the 20th century, the Garden Club was a nexus of revolutionary environmental activism led by well-educated, worldly, willful women,” former BGC President Mimi Lines told the Bedford Patch. “Which is pretty impressive considering women didn’t have the right to vote yet.” More than a century after its founding, BGC members are still dedicated to both conservation and serving the community. Outreach includes planting and tending civic gardens at the John Jay Homestead and the historic Bedford Court House, planting trees, and sponsoring internships. All BGC members are members of the Garden Club of America, which includes privileges such as educational opportunities, access to speakers, and use of the NYC headquarters. For more information, contact club secretary and Houlihan Lawrence agent, Linda Merrill.
In 1939, a group of Bedford women felt there was room for a second club, and they banded together to found the Rusticus Garden Club to “increase interest in and to promote the knowledge of gardening and flower arranging among its members and to stimulate interest in and to carry out projects relating to civic planting, conservation education, and horticulture.” Like BGC, Rusticus is a member of the Garden Club of America and is active in the community. From funding interns at the Mianus River Gorge, Muscoot Farm, and the Westchester Land Trust, to maintaining civic gardens at the John Jay Homestead and the Bedford Free Library, outreach is a huge part of the club’s activities.
In 1975, Bedford’s Hopp Ground Garden Club formed with similar goals, namely “to conserve our natural heritage, add to the town's beauty through plantings, and to increase our own horticultural knowledge.” Current membership requirements include attending meetings, a personal interest in gardening, and a willingness to hold office and share in the work of the club which includes Civic Beautification Projects at six locations, including the Bedford Village Park, Katonah Village Library, and John Jay Homestead. HGGC hosts workshops and mini-lectures throughout the year. Interested gardeners may call HGGC president Victoria Wooters at 914-232-8389.
The Pound Ridge Garden Club has been involved in design, horticulture, and community service for more than 75 years. The PRGC welcomes the public to their meetings and events—usually held at the Pound Ridge Library—to share ideas and information, to learn from the club’s accomplished and talented speakers, and to develop skills as a gardener and designer. Club members host a biennial flower show, create centerpieces for an annual holiday luncheon, attend monthly meetings to learn about floral design and horticulture and work together on various projects to enhance the beauty of Pound Ridge. “We are always happy to welcome new members—including men—at any level of experience. Some have joined us with extensive knowledge of horticulture and floral design, while others have joined with little or no knowledge at all,” says membership chair and Houlihan Lawrence agent Jill Posner.
Last but not by any means least, the Lewisboro Garden Club was founded in Lewisboro back in 1972 “to promote the art of gardening, to aid in conserving natural flora and to help beautify public areas.” The membership includes both men and women and a full range of gardeners, from the very experienced to those new to gardening. The club says they “design, plant, and maintain roadside flower triangles; care for the Alice Poor Memorial Garden at Onatru Farm; manage the organic community gardens at Onatru Farm, tends the window boxes at the Cyrus Russell Community House, and more. The club also sponsors Lewisboro's Golden Roads, an annual spring tour of 38,000 daffodils planted by members over the past ten years.”
Photos thanks to Bedford Free Library, Bedford Garden Club, Jody Sullivan, and Lewisboro Garden Club.