NORWICH — The Norwich Garden Club is ringing in their 90th year of serving the Norwich community through beautification projects, charitable causes, and support of other organizations.
The club began as a women's civic organization to beautify the city, according to Norwich Garden Club President Della Erickson. Over the years, the group has added many enhancements to the area, such as planting a tree in city parks every Arbor Day.
The Norwich Garden Club also installed the fountain garden on the corner of Broad and Main Streets, a rose garden on the street behind the Guernsey Memorial Library, the garden bed in front of Minty's Candies and Treats, and the hanging baskets of flowers along Broad Street.
“It kind of adds a little something to downtown I think,” said Erickson.
The group gets involved with several local organizations as well. Every year when Meals on Wheels delivers food to area residents, the Norwich Garden Club sends along a poinsettia. At the end of the school year, the club provides a scholarship to a graduating senior going into the conservation or horticulture field.
Erickson said they're always willing to help other groups with anything garden related.
“From time to time we help things like The Place, if they’re doing a garden and want some help. Earlier this year at Saturdays in the Park we were approached to help pick the flowers or get some information on some plants for a garden at Kurt Beyer Pool, but then they had to shelve it for next year. It was getting quite late in the fall. But we’ll probably be working with them on that,” she said. “So we’re constantly doing things that may be only a one time deal, but if we can help with them we’re willing to.”
The Norwich Garden Club is always seeking new members to help them enhance the Norwich area and support local organizations. Those interested in getting involved can contact Erickson at 607-334-7404, or club member Jean Hayes at 561-758-3696.
“It’s hard to keep an organization like this going because it’s not something that we’re constantly out there asking for people, but we’d like to get more members,” said Erickson. “The more people you have to help [the better], plus some of our members are getting older and can’t do the work in the gardens. But we like to keep them going because we think it adds a little something to downtown.”
The group meets once a month from April to November. Erickson said while they do discuss projects and civic work, members also enjoy lunch together. Sometimes they hold additional meetings to have some fun with crafts as well.
“We usually start off with lunch and go from there, and we work on different projects. We also have fun. This year we made cement vases out of bath towels and cement, and we had a bunch of fun pressing flowers, and then we had another one where we made bookmarks from the pressed flowers,” said Erickson. “From time to time we have flower arranging classes and stuff. So we have fun too, as well as the work that we do.”
For some meetings, members will also participate in a game where they all bring a wrapped nonperishable food item, then take turns guessing what's been wrapped. If they guess correctly, they win a small prize, and at the end all the food is donated to the Emmanuel Episcopal Church food pantry, Our Daily Bread.
In addition to their projects and community support, the Norwich Garden Club also has some fun by judging the Home for the Holidays downtown lighting contest every holiday season, and holding a flower and flower arrangement exhibition at the Chenango County Fair.
Erickson said the exhibition isn't just for Norwich Garden Club members, either.
“There’s horticulture where you can just enter one flower from your garden in a class, or the other section is a design where you do an arrangement with a theme,” she said. “That’s open to anyone in the county, so you don’t have to be a Garden Club member to exhibit. Some people think you have to, but you don’t. We encourage anyone to enter in that.”
The Norwich Garden Club has spent 90 years improving downtown Norwich and support members of the Norwich community, and are looking forward to many more years of horticultural projects and civic engagement. Next week, the club will hold their final meeting of the year and initiate their new officers, who will take the reins when meetings start up again in April.
More information on the Norwich Garden Club can be found on the Norwich Garden Club, NY Facebook page.