History of Stamford Garden Club Civic Efforts

In the early days of the SGC (1920’s), members landscaped the area around the Stamford Railroad Station. (This was destroyed when a new station was built.) Early records show that a plaque was placed at the site of the glacial pothole on Stillwater Road near the intersection of Cold Spring Road. (It is still there in 2009)

In 1946 member Key Cammack gave 14 acres to the City of Stamford for a bird sanctuary adjacent to the Stamford Museum and Nature Center.

In 1958 the SGC received the Founder’s Fund Award for the Mianus Gorge Wildlife Refuge and Botanical Preserve. A rustic shelter for educational displays and maps of the trails there was built. Members served as guides and financial supporters as well as key board members.

An Herb Garden was planted at the Betsy Barnum House (built ca. 1699), the former home of the Stamford Historical Society.

At some point SGC planted hemlocks, other evergreens and vines at the Eagle Cage at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. They also landscaped the Enzio Pinza Outdoor Theater there, as well as at the Stamford Hospital.

A Reading Garden was created at the Turn of River Branch of the Ferguson Library, the design for which won the Vitale Cup in Miniature Landscape Design at the International Flower Show in NYC in 1968.

Two members won the Fenwick Medal for Artistic Design. (The library has since moved to its current location on Vine Road)

In 1972 the SGC received a Founder’s Fund Award from the GCA for the Dwarf Conifer Garden at the Bartlett Arboretum. Members were instrumental in raising monies for the purchase of the land when the Bartlett Tree Co. was selling it. Members have served on the Board of Trustees there as well as Tour Guides, Greenhouse workers and financial supporters. The SGC values its connection with the Arboretum and the University of Connecticut.

In 1976 the SGC restored a walled perennial garden in Fort Stamford Park (listed in the National Register). This is a park that is open to the public. The SGC continues to maintain this garden with great care. In 2007 after a major renovation, the garden was renamed “The Goodbody Garden at Fort Stamford”. This is in recognition of the family that lived on the property and built the Italianate garden. Please click on the Goodbody Garden in the menu above for more information.

In 1982 the SGC landscaped Ferguson Plaza in front of the library, an historic landmark. We led other garden clubs in the area in a project called “The Blossoming of Broad Street”, a commercial area of downtown Stamford. We also did major work in the Kiwanis Park in downtown Stamford, which was dedicated by former First Lady, President Lyndon Johnson’s wife, “Ladybird” Johnson, upon completion.

In 1991 The Stamford Garden Club Board recommended, and the members voted into being, an Educational Endowment Fund (EEF). This fund will be used specifically by members of the SGC for fees for educational programs in the areas of horticulture, conservation, landscaping and artistic beauty if they are designated as a Stamford Garden Club advocate, delegate or trainee.

In 1994 the Downtown Special Services District (DSSD) started a streetscape program. Members of the SGC were involved in the creating the master plan to beautify the center of downtown Stamford. To this day members give their time to plant in spring and fall several garden areas and planters. The club also supports the DSSD Streetscape Program financially.

In 2007 – Mill River Park – The Stamford Garden Club planted 10 Princeton Elm trees at Mill Park in memory of those Stamford residents who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

In 2010 the Lettuce Challenge Contest began as part of our efforts to support and feature a new educational program in Stamford, called G.I.V.E.: Green Initiative for Vegetables in Education. The objective is to give students from 2nd grade through high school a hands on experience in growing lettuce – the chosen vegetable – in the classroom. Students are provided with pots, soil and lettuce plugs to be grown with teacher guidance, with judging, awards, and recognition program at the Stamford Government Center where the children’s accomplishments are displayed. In 2013 to increase the alignment with G.I.V.E. special emphasis was placed on coordinating the Lettuce Challenge Contest with the 2nd Grade Curriculum on soil.

Our “Wish List” for the future includes the continuance of our work at Goodbody Garden, a continuance of support for the Mianus Gorge Preserve, a firm commitment to the beautification of Stamford, and the cleaning up of Long Island Sound as time, energies and funds permit.