2 minute read

Get to Know the Town and Country Garden Club

Contributed by Kara Sibilia, MyChathamNJ | Photos Courtesy of MyChathamNJ

If you take a stroll through downtown Chatham Borough, no matter the time of year, you’ll be greeted with lovely containers full of ornamental plants and flowers. The seasonal planters are one of the things that make Chatham so charming, but have you ever wondered who helps to maintain them?

It is the quiet but voluminous effort by the Town and Country Garden Club that works to achieve the seamless transition annually. This enthusiastic group of volunteers has been around for almost 70 years–its mission to “aid in the protection and conservation of the environment and to encourage civic beauty and roadside beautification” primarily in the Chathams.

Town and Country Garden Club member Mia Craig working on the grounds of the Red Brick Schoolhouse.

The Red Brick Schoolhouse in Chatham Township is where you can see the majority of the club’s work – they landscape the grounds using historically correct plantings and decorate with wreaths and greenery for the holidays. Beyond beautification, there are many other ways the club contributes to the community, including education and conservation. One new endeavor they are particularly excited about is creating a pollinator garden in the Loantaka Brook Reservation.

Chatham Living recently spoke with Town and Country Garden Club co-presidents Donna Keenan and Barbara Whitmore about the different projects in which the club is involved:

Please tell us a little about the Town and Country Garden Club.

Since 1952, our club has actively engaged in activities to add beauty to our community through projects that involve gardening and/or protecting our local habitat. Our club also strives to educate our members in the fine art of gardening and new ways to protect and conserve our environment.

What are some details about the pollinator garden project?

Using funds generously donated to us by the Chatham Jaycees, we will plant milkweed and other plants that attract pollinators at Loantaka Brook Reservation. We hope this will help stem the serious statewide decline of the Monarch butterfly.

Library of The Chathams Christmas tree 2018. Town & Country Garden Club volunteers: Back Row (L-R): Kaoru Steward, Anne Noser, Kathy Woodward, Joyce Kern, Dinah Berntsen and Irmgard Geddes. Front Row (L-R): Virginia Hofler, Barbara Whitmore, Mary Keselica, Sandy Salvas, Crary Reynolds, and Gina Smith.

What is the process for decorating the planters?

Each year, we are honored and pleased to plant pansies and begonias in the planters. The Borough supplies the plants and members then meet downtown and plant them along Main Street.

Tell us about the Library Christmas Tree decorating and the “little critters” that you create.

We are especially proud of the all-natural Christmas tree we assemble for the Library of the Chathams. In keeping with our mission to protect and enhance the natural beauty of our environment, we decorate this tree using natural materials. The cute ornamental critters are made by our members using pinecones, acorns, dried leaves and dried hydrangeas from former president of the Club, Virginia Hofler’s garden.

Are you looking for new members? If so, how can people get involved?

Yes! We love visitors to come to see what we’re all about! For those interested, please contact a member or visit our website townandcountrygardenclubofthecha.weebly.com for more information.