The New Canaan Garden Club (NCGC) was founded in 1909 by a group of like minded women whose mission was to “stimulate the love of gardening among its members and the members of the community, to promote conservation and to encourage civic planting”. NCGC was the third garden club to be established in the United States and by 1920 the club became a member of the Garden Club of America (GCA), expanding its focus to national conservation and environmental issues. Through two world wars and more than a century, we have grown and thrived. Our legacy can be seen in almost every corner of our beautiful town and in our participation and support of the GCA mission nationwide.
In the early 1920’s, New Canaan was a small summer colony with many of its residents coming from New York City and Brooklyn. Original members hailed from towns as far away as New Rochelle and Bridgeport as well as several nearby towns. Over the century, there are few places in New Canaan that have not received the attention and care from NCGC members. One time civic improvements such as the railroad station planting and the Bristow Wildlife Sanctuary continue to benefit our community today. Annual events such as the assembling of wreaths and trees for the town holiday festivities are annual events. Some projects, such as the care and upkeep of the Waveny Walled Garden, the management of Irwin Park and the New Canaan Historical Society herb garden have been ongoing for decades. Even the beautiful wrought iron welcome signs on our towns borders were originally commissioned by the NCGC and are here forever.
In contrast to when the club was first founded and meetings were held only during the summer, monthly meetings now follow the school calendar. They include floral design, horticulture and photography sweeps, refreshments and thoughtful lectures from both local talents and well known individuals in fields such as landscape design, environmentalism, horticulture and photography. Throughout the month numerous educational workshops are offered on topics such as floral design, and conservation to name a few. In addition to our Waveny Walled Garden commitment we also tend to the Parterre Garden and Peony Walk. Civic committees work with residents at the Waveny Care Center providing valuable Horticulture Therapy projects as well as brightening the atmosphere in the center with seasonal flower arrangements. Our Conservation Committee sends representatives every year to Washington D.C. where over the course of a few days the members are educated on valuable pressing environmental concerns and how to take action and enact change on both the regional and state level. There are numerous trips throughout the year to historic and private gardens, nationally and internationally. All of these are important parts of our tradition as we gather and share the camaraderie and our mission through shared interests and the desire to enhance and improve our world community.