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President's Letter
Sarah J. Olson, President
The Garden Club of Montclair

A very hungry Monarh caterpillar munches on milkweed

The very hungry Monarch caterpillar munches on milkweed.

Dear Fellow Garden Club Members and Provisionals,

It’s been a busy year but that’s not surprising, is it?  In the fall, the Club found a new home for program meetings and competitions at Bnai Keshet while continuing to maintain the beautiful Avis Campbell Gardens at 60 South Fullerton.  We will be heading back to our old home for the upcoming year.

​Last year I challenged you to make an impact and pay it forward.  Garden Therapy did that with some of our treasured partners…Toni’s kitchen, Oasis for Women, and CUMAC. Our Youth committee is back working in the schools and gardens teaching youngsters about planting, floral design, and plant identification. Avis

Campbell Gardens volunteers spent a countless number hours designing and tending to the garden’s upkeep. Our Club worked with our neighbors at 5 Roosevelt place and provided the plans for a garden which resulted in a discretionary grant from the Geraldine Dodge Foundation of $2500! And our Workshop Committee utilized the skills of our member community who volunteered their time and knowledge to educate us in so many ways. 

I challenged us to find a way to create an Act of Restorative Kindness to our earth. To that end we started an environment section on our website with educational information, upcoming environmental events and musings from our members; The Environment and Civic Beautification committees conducted a clean-up in the Upper Montclair business district and assessed the health of the trees in the area; we began using  compostable plates & cups at our monthly meetings; our Triangle Gardens committee designed and presented a new vision for the garden beds on Church Street using native plants and installed it early in June. To help fund this our Club received a grant of $2000 from the Montclair Foundation; we obtained a new compost machine for Avis Campbell and our Programs committee has lined up a powerful group of speakers to address transitioning to environmentally friendly gardening. 


Lastly, I asked that the Garden Club integrate with the community in a bigger way. All the projects that I just mentioned have done just that and we didn’t stop there! We entered “Mandy” the scarecrow into the annual “Scarecrows in the Garden” contest and won a $500 award! Thirty-one of you designed arrangements for Art in Bloom held by the Montclair Art Museum, and we are working with parent groups at two schools to beautify their sites and create native gardens. Student groups were guided through Avis by our members, pictures of Avis Campbell Gardens grace the Town calendar and the gardens have been the topic of a “Montclair Girl” article and a destination spot cited in “The Garden Tourist.” 

We capped off the year by celebrating our membership at our annual meeting in May, awarding the coveted perpetual awards as well as the newly introduced ”Bloomie Awards” which highlighted unsung heroes in the Club. 

Our upcoming year looks to be an exciting one as we begin putting into place the groundwork for our 100th Anniversary year celebration. This Club has really stood the test of time, continuing to influence and support the community in a myriad of ways. I feel privileged to be a part of an organization so full of kind, creative, and fun individuals. Thank you for doing all that you do and being who you are!


With appreciation,



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