98 YEARS AND STILL BLOOMING!
On September 11, 1924, eight ladies met to organize a garden club to create a more beautiful city. This group ultimately was to become the Gainesville Garden Club and in 1927 became affiliated with the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.
When founding members created the club, they envisioned a small organization to further their garden research and to enhance city spaces. Because they did not have a place to meet, they gathered in members' homes which limited enrollment. However, by 1930 the new club was such a success that over 100 women had asked to join and garden circles were initiated. The first four circles were Founders, Azalea, Camellia and Oleander. Circles continue to meet monthly from September to May, and they now meet at the Garden Center in Gainesville or at other locations in the surrounding area.
During the early years the Garden Club focused on civic projects and city planning and in the 1940's were active in providing assistance to servicemen and in sending packages overseas to war torn Europe. The Garden Club with other civic organizations worked together to establish a Community Cultural Center, a portion of which was allocated to the Garden Club for a library and meeting place; the Garden Club members landscaped and maintained the grounds of the Center.
A New Home
With the blossoming growth of the Garden Club, it soon became clear that a permanent location was needed. In 1968, four acres of land were donated by Dr. Lamar & Mrs. Louise Roberts to build the current Garden Center. In the 1990's a generous endowment by Laura Carmichael allowed for the addition of a smaller building for more meeting space. The entire campus has been enhanced with several patios, walkways, gardens and a demonstration butterfly garden. These buildings continue to be the site of garden club meetings, lectures, demonstrations, exhibitions, and plant and garden sales as well as weddings and other special events.
The Club is a self supporting, non-profit organization dedicated to education, beautification, and conservation. Each year, members work on over 2 dozen community projects together. The Community Efforts button below shows you the scope of efforts. GGC also fund-raises to sponsor youth enrollment at Camp Wekiva, a nature camp, and to send teenagers to SEEK, a conservation conference, both operated by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs (FFGC). GGC also provides scholarships in horticulture and related fields.