By Carrie Debrone
Kitchener Citizen
March 9, 2017

​In March, 60 years ago, twelve women met to begin the Kitchener-Waterloo area’s first garden club. Like honey bees drawn to nectar, within two months the new club had 40 members.

And, each year since then, the seeds of enthusiasm sown at that first meeting have continued to inspire local flower enthusiasts to learn more about growing and arranging flowers and plants.
With a goal to “encourage an active interest in all subjects pertaining to the cultivation and use of flowers and plants” the club’s current 60 members enjoy workshops on floral arranging, and about growing plants, flowers and vegetables, visiting and competing in floral competitions, and – one of the most important benefits --
​each other’s company.

The club’s home base is a portable classroom-studio on
​the University of Waterloo grounds where the club holds
group meetings, seminars and workshops relating to floral design and horticulture.

Since 1967, the club has held a bi-annual flower show, which is open to the public. It also holds mini shows twice a year. Each year in May, (the Saturday before Mother’s Day), it holds a plant sale with plants donated from members’ gardens.

Generously giving back to the community, the club created an entrance garden in 1994 at KidsAbility in Waterloo. Dedicated in 1996 to the memory of Past President Betty Stuart, the garden continues to be lovingly maintained by club members.

Members also enjoy taking day trips to shows put on by other garden clubs in Ontario, including Canada Blooms at the Royal Botanical Gardens, and tours of private and public gardens in Southern Ontario.

The club meets the third Monday of each month from September to June at 1:15pm at the Albert McCormick Arena, 500 Parkside Drive in Waterloo. The membership fee is $50 per year.

“We’ve all made some wonderful friendships through the club,” said K-W Garden Club president Gay Anderson who joined more than 40 years ago.

“It’s a great way to meet new people and learn about a fun hobby,” she said.

Members of the Garden Clubs of Ontario (GCO), the club is self-supporting and raises funds for community projects through sales, flower shows and private donations. It maintains an extensive library of floral design books to which members have access. The Garden Club of Kitchener-Waterloo encourages members to enter competitions put on by its own club and by the 12 other GCO clubs in Ontario.

“We had one of our members present her designs at the Chelsea Flower Show in England and she placed!” Anderson said, adding that other members over the years have entered competitions in various locations around the world.

In celebration of its 60th anniversary, this year the club will host a Garden Party on Friday, June 2 and Saturday June 3 at Victoria Park Pavilion, 80 Schneider Ave. Kitchener. Open to the public, the show will feature floral designs and horticultural exhibits in 29 classes and a sales boutique.

With names like The Way we Were, Line of Beauty, Fairy Dust, Reflections, Garden Sculpture, Diamond in the Rough, and Friendship’s Blossom, the event invites competitors to stretch their imaginations and exhibit unique, carefully thought out fresh floral designs.

The arrangements are then judged (by qualified floral judges) on their composition, practicality, synergy, mass and many other qualities. There are even classes for miniature floral arrangements, and one that asks exhibitors to create a fascinator (a decorative form of formal head piece worn as an alternative to a hat) out of fresh or dried plant material.

Tickets to the Garden Party are $5 and available at the door or by contacting Gay Anderson at 519-893-6827. A High Tea is also available for $20 at the event. Reservations are required for the tea - contact

For more information about the Garden Club of Kitchener-Waterloo visit
​Garden Club of Kitchener Waterloo celebrates 60 years
The Garden Club of Kitchener-Waterloo is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. A mini flower show was held during the club’s regular February 27 meeting. From left: Club President Gay Anderson, Judge Ann Diebel, 1st place winner (horticultural category) Charmain Patrick, 1st place winner (floral design) Gwyn Brundrett.