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Awards 2024

See the list below for this year's award winners, or click here to see all winners of all awards back to 1980.


Susan Straten was added to our list of Members of 35 years or more, and Suzy, Gretchen Prater, and Barbara Meyer were honored with the title of Emeritus.


And see below the winners of our new Bloomies awards. Their names will also be immortalized on our Awards page.

Ellie Bristol Novice Award

Karen Fricke

President’s Trophy for Flower Design, Intermediate

Cheryl Slutzky

The Garden Club Award for Flower Design, Advanced

Floss O’Sullivan

Kay Maclane Van Deusen Award

Fran Ackerly

President’s Award for Horticulture

Cynthia Corhan-Aitken

Estelle Leibrecht Award

Celia Radek

Amy Hatrak Award

Celia Radek

Barbara Meyer Rose Award

Deborah Hirsch

Botanical Arts Division Award

Karen Fricke

Till Beatty Allis Award

Deborah Moran

Bauer Horticultural Award

Karen Whitehaus

Louise Mann Award

Sue Young

Bloomies

Award shows are famous for recognizing individual accomplishments and we anticipate guessing who will win the coveted top prize. But what about all the other people in the room who also make important contributions that we sometimes forget to celebrate? This was the thinking behind our first inaugural BLOOMIES Awards Presentation and we hope you join us in celebrating not only the silver trophy winners, but everyone who helped make this year amazing for The Garden Club of Montclair.

 Mission Impossible Award

There was a large homeless family with a long list of needs and low budget looking for a home: large entertaining space, a prep kitchen for hosting parties, space to display their extensive art collection that changed over monthly, and seating for 60, furniture included.  Impossible you say?  Not for Cheryl Slutzky.  Thanks to her persuasive efforts, she found our Club a place to call home at Bnai Keshet that met all our wants and needs and for this we are all truly grateful. It gives us great pleasure to award Cheryl the Mission Impossible Award.

 

Guardian of the Garden

“Two things cannot be in one place. Where you tend a rose, a thistle cannot grow.” This quote from The Secret Garden describes one of our members from the Avis Campbell crew. You don’t often see this individual at our meetings, workshops, or competitions, but looking out the back windows of 60 S. Fullerton, you’ll often see her quietly tending to the beds, expecting no fanfare, but consistently nurturing our garden. For this reason, we want to award Maggie Rothman the Guardian of the Garden Award.

 

Paparazzi Award

She may not have a long lens or be hiding in the shrubbery waiting to accost you, but when it comes to candid photos at all our garden club events, Sue Yu is our gentle paparazza. She has a knack for capturing the spirit of our events, making sure everyone has a cameo, and somehow getting our “best sides” so we all look beautiful.  She offers us her talent with humility and grace and for this we award Sue Yu the Paparazzi Award.

 

Helping Hand Award

A well-known line from Bill Withers’ Lean on Me song goes: “You just call on me [sister] when you need a hand/We all need somebody to lean on” and it could not describe Nancy Stroud more perfectly. If any event required a volunteer, Nancy volunteered. She offered to help us distribute yearbooks last year but didn’t let us put her name on the committee. She is cheerful and an asset to all which is why we’re excited to award Nancy Stroud the Helping Hand Award.

 

Party of the Year Award

Walking into Avis Campbell Gardens for the Mad Hatter party, I felt just like Alice who exclaimed: “When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one.” The theme, the décor, the food, the hats, the whole production felt magical and came from the inspired imagination of Lauren Zodel. She persevered through three weather-related postponements to host what can only be called a Fairy Tale Fantasia. For this reason, we award Lauren Zodel the Party of the Year Award.

 

Innovator Award

A cartoon depicting the Garden of Innovation by Tom Fishburne of Skydeckcartoons.com illustrates a woman with a single rose bush to plant surrounded by a crowd wielding clippers and cutters. Our budget meetings often focused on cost-cutting measures, but the Boutique figured out how to grow and turn a profit. Susan Benner and her team rose to the challenge of a moveable boutique that popped up at programs, workshops, and social gatherings introducing new merchandise – something we’ve all come to appreciate and enjoy. Therefore, Susan Benner is the winner of the Innovator Award.


 Painter’s Palette Award

Danny Kaye once said, “Life is a great big canvas. Throw all the paint on it you can.” Who embodies this more than Karen DeLuca? From the Club’s branding, logos, and stationery, to flower show merchandise and watercolor painting with youth, her gentle artistic influence has woven itself through so many of our Club’s undertakings. Not only is Karen prolific, she is generous and joyful in sharing her art.  For this reason we are thrilled to award her the Painter’s Palette Award.

 

“Rat Pack” Award

“The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.” So said Frank Sinatra, leader of the Rat Pack. But it could also be said of our intrepid Betty Murphy. She and her Triangle Gardens team replanted Church Street with gusto, never backing down even with the infamous “rat problem in town.” Furthermore, she helped galvanize an overhaul for the Church Street plantings in partnership with Cynthia Corhan-Aitken and the Business Improvement District. With great appreciation, we award Betty Murphy the Rat Pack Award.

 

First Responders Award

“Whenever you call me, I’ll be there” is the famous lyric sung by The Spinners in I’ll Be Around.  Whenever there was an emergency, Barbara Meyer, Maureen Sprong, and Karen Whitehaus were the first to respond. They assessed and notified appropriate parties, and worked on quick solutions.  For getting the cracked fountain repaired, for handling the tree that went down in Avis Campbell Gardens, and for working to replace the vandalized Memorial Garden bench, we thank these women by awarding them the First Responders Award.

 

Bright Ideas Award

Like a breath of fresh air, Karen Fricke joined our Club and quickly got involved with projects the Garden Club had undertaken for years. Under her leadership and creativity, we won the Scarecrows in the Garden contest with Amanda Van Vleck and historically reimagined the yellow parlor in The Crane House with amazing and innovative period detail. For demonstrating how far you can take your designs and imagination, we award Karen Fricke the Bright Ideas Award.

 

Unsung Hero Award

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” So said Christopher Reeve. When it came to reviewing and revising the Club’s ByLaws and Standing Rules (multiple times), a job few have ever undertaken due to its complexity, we have Fran Wong to thank for stepping into the breach. Our own Superwoman, Fran Wong has rightfully earned the Unsung Hero Award.

 

Call-to-Action Award

From Nike’s slogan “Just Do It” to Tom’s Shoes “Pay It Forward” our President, Sarah Olson sounded a new call to action: Think of the Environment. She worked tirelessly to help the Club embrace an environmental focus and challenged each committee to find ways to plant natives, reduce waste, or choose environmentally friendly oasis substitutes. With Sarah’s vision, our Environmental/Civic Beautification committee is undertaking new projects and educating us along the way. For this we award Sarah Olson the Call-to-Action Award.

 

The Rookie Award

Each year the sports world holds drafts, excited to recruit the best rookies for their team. How lucky were we when Pam Turre and Melody Brown walked into our club and joined last year? Between their outstanding participation in Club events, to their enthusiasm for flower design, to now joining the Board of Trustees, we are thrilled to honor them with Rookies of the Year Awards.

 

 The Artists’ Muse Award

As designers and gardeners, we look for inspiration everywhere. All of our artistic souls benefit from a little nurturing when our endeavors fail or we feel defeated by the rigors of the artistic process.  Enter Tova Narrett. An artist in her own right, she makes it a point to be an encourager of others, a muse defined as a “personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.” Her enthusiasm and genuine joy in the abilities of others are qualities we wish to celebrate by giving her The Artists’ Muse Award.


Where's Waldo Award

In the popular “Where’s Waldo” children’s book series, the goal is to find Waldo in the midst of crowded people scenes in different destinations. You could play the same game looking for Bob Chapman, our beloved Treasurer and one and only gentleman in the midst of a 142-member Club.  Additionally, he and Florence Sinofsky are always traveling the world, so the first question for him is always "Where have you been and where are you going?" What would we do without our intrepid “Numbers Guy?” Therefore, we award Bob Chapman the Where’s Waldo Award.


Guidepost to Compost Award

The Garden Club of Montclair welcomed a new baby to our ranks this year, that’s right our Composter!  Hearing Wendy Stahl introduce our new little genius with a huge smile made all of us proud.  Perhaps the best way we embraced our environmental goals this year, we congratulate Wendy on working to turn Avis Campbell Gardens refuse into life-giving compost and hereby award her the Guidepost to Compost Award.


Poet Laureate Award

There once was a woman named Marilyn

Encouraged everyone to join in her shenanigans

Persuaded gardens to open

Celebrated members with poems

Is anyone in need of a mannequin?

 

Where would we be without our theatrical genius, Marilyn Zaret? She has brought us her talents as art teacher, play director, garden guide, scarecrow maker, and Crane House kitchen designer. She generously offers her own garden for cuttings, her pool for summer refreshment, and welcomes every new member with attentive curiosity. For all the unique and wonderful qualities she brings to our lives, we award Marilyn the Poet Laureate Award.

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I believe there was another Bloomie Award not posted here?🤔 Marilyn

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