The Westport Garden Club is 90 years young this year.
They’ve come a long way since 1924. Back in the day, members sent their gardeners to do the heavy lifting. In 2014, they do it all themselves.
They’re constantly at work, maintaining gardens at cemeteries, the Earthplace entrance, and many other spots. Their work is invisible — until it’s not done.
You know their work at Compo Beach, even if you don’t realize the Garden Club does it. Their handsome “Beach Buds” garden greets everyone at the entrance, while the Charles Lucas Garden at the marina honors an avid gardener who died in a boating accident. Lucas was not a Garden Club member — though he was often 1st in line at the annual plant sale.
Russ Miller, though, does belong.
That’s right: the Westport Garden Club welcomes men. In fact, John Morris joined in the group’s earliest year. (He was a librarian. It is believed he organized books on flowers. He was recruited for his library skills, not his interest in gardens.)
But Miller is gung ho. A Westporter for 10 years, he’s spent the past quarter century in landscaping. He wanted to get involved in community service, and knew the club maintains gardens all over town. He’s beginning his 2nd term on the board.
These days, he and other members are busy preparing for the annual plant sale this Friday (May 9, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Jesup Green). It’s right before Mother’s Day, guys. Construction at the usual site — Saugatuck Congregational Church — is the reason for the new location. (Interestingly, just a few yards from Jesup Green is the Westport Library’s winter garden, which the club maintains.)
Hundreds of perennials will be on sale, plus garden-related items, homemade baked goods, antiques and collectibles. Club members are on hand to give horticultural advice.
Proceeds help maintain local parks and gardens; Staples Tuition Grants; the Sound Waters program for elementary school children; 4 Colonial-era cemeteries, and speakers for meetings.
This winter, some of us thought spring would never come. For 90 years, the Westport Garden Club has known it always will.