From beautification, to educational outreach, scholarships and more, there are many ways our members help contribute to Maplewood. All of this is possible thanks to those who support our Annual Plant Sale. Below is a partial list of what we do.
Annual Plant Sale: MGC’s only fund-raising event. All MGC activities and projects are funded by the proceeds. The Plant Sale takes place each May on the Thursday through Saturday before Mother’s Day. Plants are grown from seeds, cuttings, division, and bare-root. Wholesale orders and member-grown items round out our offerings. Customers come from all over the state for our annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, trees, shrubs, and container plants. The Star Ledger has called ours “the Big Momma of all Plant Sales.” From potting up and harvesting, transporting plants to the sale, setting up and selling, to breaking it all down at the end, members devote countless hours to ensure a successful sale.
Durand-Hedden Herb Garden: The Herb Garden was designed and installed by the MGC in 1979 as a formal garden to complement and enhance the historic Durand-Hedden House. This award-winning garden contains one of the largest collections of herb species on the east coast. The garden is often used to demonstrate the propagation and cultivation of herbs and their use for culinary, medicinal, fragrance, ornamental, and craft purposes. A group of members continues to meet to maintain and further develop the garden. New helpers are always welcome!
Hilton Rain Garden: Supported by a $10,000 grant from the New Jersey American Water Company, and with the able assistance of the Township’s Engineering and Public Works Departments, members of the club designed, constructed and planted a 1,200 square foot rain garden adjacent to the Hilton Branch Library. The garden is able to capture approximately 200,000 gallons of stormwater run-off from the library’s roof and parking lot, redirecting it to the Arthur Kill Watershed. It also provides an expanded habitat for local pollinators seeking the native species of plant material which were selected. The Hilton Rain Garden is the largest in New Jersey.
Maplewood Library Donations: Each year, MGC donates current books and other garden-related library materials for adults and children to the Maplewood Memorial Library and the Maplewood Hilton Branch Library. The Garden Club contributed to the recent renovation of the Main Library’s Memorial Hall by purchasing folding tables, which are used for meetings, after-school programs, and other events.
Wreath-Making Workshops: All members are welcome to join in our annual wreath-making workshop held at the Civic House in Memorial Park. All materials are supplied by the MGC. The wreaths are used to decorate the Railroad Station, Durand-Hedden House, the Y, the First Aid Squad, and the Libraries.
Additionally we started a Fall Wreath-Making Workshop at Durand-Hedden where we used our Herb Garden materials to make beautiful fall wreaths.
Railroad Station Decorating: We use the wreaths created at the wreath-making workshop, create swags, and also decorate a tree with our always-unique handmade ornaments to decorate the station, both inside and out.
Maplewood Township Greenhouse: Donated to the Township by MGC in 1974, the greenhouse contains 160 benches, which are rented to Maplewood residents from October through May. A Garden Club crew oversees the greenhouse operations and the MGC pays for the ongoing maintenance. Our volunteers maintain the watering system, keep soil and compost supplies filled, and are often on hand for advice when the greenhouse is open.
Memorial Garden Behind Town Hall: In 2006 we created this garden to commemorate the contributions Vincent Ferraro and Max Idel made to the greenhouse.
Scholarships: Annual scholarships are awarded to Rutgers Cook College students and to Columbia High School seniors who have shown an interest in studying horticulture, landscape design, environmental studies, or related scientific areas. Additionally, the MGC makes scholarships available for township employees for the Continuing Professional Education Program at Cook College.
Community Projects: Wherever you go in Maplewood, you’re sure to see one of our Township beautification efforts. We have established several theme gardens, have revitalized the WWI Memorial monument and sundial sites in Memorial Park, and have contributed trees and shrubs throughout the parks and along some of our streets. Each spring, we offer a contribution to a different school for its gardening projects, and each summer we pot up the planters at the railroad station and contribute flowering plants for the town pool. MGC has twice been honored to receive a certificate of appreciation and recognition from the Township Committee. We will continue to introduce rare and unusual specimens to the township and will continue our ongoing efforts to enhance our public spaces.
Dickens Village: In 2001, in honor of our 75th anniversary, we added a Victorian Conservatory to the collection of period buildings on view in Ricalton Square each holiday season. We were helped by a generous donation from Walter Santner, whose parents were longtime club members. Every year we embellish the conservatory with exclusively live and dried plant material.
Youth Gardening: Children enjoy hands-on activities related to all aspects of gardening. They meet regularly in the greenhouses and the MapleFood garden. Participants learn the fun and satisfaction of gardening with an experienced youth leader.