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Evanstonians pride themselves on having a beautiful place to live, yet few may realize how many spots of beauty are provided by garden “guardians” – members of local garden clubs.

 Garden clubs were first established in the early 1900s by women who wished to do service work, gather socially and learn more about gardening.

Four active clubs contribute to the beauty of Evanston by maintaining public plots and gardens and contributing essential funds to other worthy projects. The emphasis is on having a good time while benefitting others.

Highland Garden Club

One of the oldest clubs in the area is the Highland Garden Club of Evanston, several of whose members have been with the club for 40 or 50 years. The founding members lived in the “high ridge” part of Evanston. When the club was established in 1951, annual dues were just $1. Dues are now $30, and meetings are held in members’ homes except during the the busy growing season. The only requirements for membership are enthusiasm and time to help with projects.

Highland Garden Club volunteers maintain gardens and pockets along Central Street at Stewart Avenue, at Oldberg Park (Orrington Avenue at Clark Street) and Hill Arboretum Apartments at Over the Rainbow Association, Brown Avenue at Bridge Street. 

Evening meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month, September through June, with a speaker or a workshop planned for each meeting. Connections with the Garden Council of Illinois provide members with information on state wide issues. The club also has a representative on the Evanston Garden Council keeping members informed with regard to City wide projects.

This club’s biggest fundraiser is the summer plant sale, Backyard Botanicals, which will be held on June 1 in Independence Park, Central Street at Stewart Avenue. Home-grown plants from club members own gardens are sold at the sale.

Garden Tip: Sprinkling Epsom salts on the garden may boost the soil.

Garden Club Contacts

Highland Garden Club of Evanston: Marcia Sadler, 847-676-9659; Kay Hamel, 847-677-6259

Four Seasons Garden Club of Evanston: Phyllis Rostrum, 847-328-9448

Garden Club of Evanston: Sue Durburg, 847-433-4373

Lincolnwood Garden Club of Evanston: Gloria Wildenradt, 847-328-2482

Evanston Garden Council, Evanston Ecology Center, Claire Alden, 847-448-8256