On April 13, 1921 a group of Riverside ladies met at what was to become the first meeting of the Riverside Garden Club. The meetings were held in people’s homes and it is believed that the meetings were social in nature with refreshments being served. 

Discussions lent themselves to gardens and it is thought that many of the club members had gardeners, but that there was a shared interest in gardening and gardens. The club began with only women members, and in 2015 its membership is still all women.

As the years progressed so did the club’s membership as people took more of an active part in the landscaping and gardening at their homes. With a town so devoted to landscaping and trees, it was only natural that the Riverside Garden Club would become an active presence in the community.

Over the years the Riverside Garden Club members could be seen attending to the landscaping around the train station and, with the Frederick Law Olmsted Society, providing landscaping outside the Riverside Public Library. 

Today they still attend to the Driver Memorial in Guthrie Park across from the library. It was formerly a horse trough and now, thanks to the Riverside Garden Club, is decorated with seasonal plantings. 

The club still participates in decorating the library at holiday time. Their fundraising efforts have made it possible for them to donate thousands of dollars for parkway trees. Many of the funds were raised through a plant sale and a garden walk. There has also been a scholarship for a graduating high school senior planning to continue on in some form of nature studies.

As membership has dwindled, club President Joan Wiaduck stated that the club is reorganizing in an effort to increase membership and accommodate the busy schedules of today’s women. 

It’s open to women of all ages who have an interest in gardening. There will be two business meetings a year and two lecture meetings.

 According to Wiaduck, the club continues to help wherever it can and on more than one occasion has helped Village Forester Mike Collins. She continued that anyone is welcome to attend a meeting to learn more about the club. 

Those interested can contact Joan at 312-518-9939. Other club officers include Jane Birmingham, Diane Cerigioli, Cheri Simo and Allison Vollman. 

Learn how you garden grows or how to make it grow.