We are so fortunate to be a part of Norwalk’s history for nearly 90 years. Please read and enjoy some of the memorabilia we have preserved all through the decades!
July 1951 newspaper photos from the 26th annual flower show:
1941 – noted the Garden Club’s planting of laurel at Merritt Parkway and Route 7 underpass.
June 1939 Garden Club member exhibits at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York!
July 31, 1935 Civic Project [click on media to enlarge]
Below: Annual program May 1935 – April 1936
Twelve women were present at the first meeting of the Norwalk Garden Club on May 21, 1924. They met at the home of Mrs. Philip Knapp at 6 West Avenue, and elected Mrs. Louis Lehmaire as their first president.
It was a gracious time of large houses and extensive grounds. Meetings were held at members’ homes, usually followed by a tour of the garden and a very formal tea; hats and white gloves were de rigueur.
Times have changed, but the original purpose of the Garden Club remains the same; teaching flower arrangement and promoting civic beautification. Planting on the Norwalk Green began as far back as 1925, and at the same time the club began donating trees for planting at Norwalk Schools and along roadways leading to the city. The tree planted on the Library Green still thrives, as do the roses at the Irving Freese Apartments.
Beginning in the 40’s, Arbor Day was observed, with the Club issuing certificates to those who planted trees. During World War II, they sponsored Victory Gardens, with the City of Norwalk providing the land. Under the leadership of Innis Osborn, the Club held a showing of garden produce at harvest time in Mathews Park, a project which was carried on for several years. Also in the 1940’s, money raised through house tours was donated to the Red Cross.
In 1950, with Mrs. Addison Austin as President, the proceeds from the Flower Show were given to the Cancer Society.
The 1960’s saw the Club’s emphasis put on conservation and ecology, with training from the Connecticut State Extension Service at Storrs.
In the 1970’s all Garden Clubs in the state of Connecticut worked hard for the passage of the “bottle bill”. Proceeds from the 1978 flower show were given to the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion towards the restoration of the conservatory.
Classes in flower arrangement are taught from time to time by qualified members.
At the club’s regular meetings held on the second Wednesday of each month at the Gallaher Mansion in Cranbury Park, members enjoy a varied program of instruction in gardening and related crafts, advice from knowledgeable speakers, the ongoing exchange of gardening experiences and ideas, as well as tours of home and gardens.
The Norwalk Garden Club continues to plant on the Norwalk Green each year and maintain the plantings all summer long. Each December the members gather to create holiday wreaths for all of Norwalk’s public buildings as well as hold a Christmas Fair selling crafts and wreaths as our major fundraiser. At the present time, the Club maintains the plants at our “Adopt a Spot” at the intersection of Park and East Wall Streets, indoor and outdoor plants at the Norwalk Library, plantings at the Norwalk Senior Center, East Norwalk Historic Cemetery, and our early June plant sale. We also participate yearly in the Norwalk Regional Tree Festival.
The Norwalk Garden Club is a member of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.