Our Project History
Since 1912, The Garden Club of Cleveland has been involved with the beautification of the city of Cleveland.
In the 1920’s, we raised funds to create and dedicate the Fine Arts Garden in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art and continue to support this garden today. In 1930, we raised funds to help establish the Garden Center (today The Cleveland Botanical Garden) which housed the nation’s first library dedicated to horticultural books.
During World War II, members participated in the Seeds to Britain Program, planted Victory Gardens and grew vegetables for the Child Day Care Program.
In 1959, the club started a project at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History planting an area adjacent to the Museum for an educational garden. Members saved hundreds of plants from areas being developed around Cleveland and planted them in the garden. We continue to support this activity today, both financially and through an annual “Big Dig” that transplants plants to the garden.
Our Project Fund was established in 1962. The first gift went to the new Garden Center which was built on the land northeast of the Museum of Art in Wade Park. The new building opened in 1966.
In the mid 1970’s, the club voted “to make a major contribution to beautify and renovate Cleveland’s Public Square.” Through major fundraising funds were raised to develop a design for Public Square by Sasaki and Associates. The funds went to the renovation and beautification of the Northwest Quadrant of Public Square.
The Public Square renovation was completed in the mid 80’s and a member of our club continues to serve on the committee that oversees the maintenance and preservation of the Square.
In 1996, our club and the Shaker Lakes Garden Club raised significant funds for our Bicentennial gift to Cleveland. The funds went to create a park and gathering place in the heart of the Theater District. Starr Plaza was planted with twenty three shade trees and other landscaping that make it a greenspace.
Cleveland was the site of the Annual Garden Club of America meeting in 2000. Garden Club of Cleveland and Shaker Lakes Garden club hosted the event and were awarded the GCA Founders Fund Award for the renovation and moving of the “Little Yellow House” which has become the office of the CBG Green Corp at the Dunham Tavern Museum garden.
In 2008, we paid for the renovation and landscaping of the Marie Bruot Gate in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.
In recognition of the Garden Club of Cleveland’s Centennial in 2012, the Club embarked upon a plan to design and fund a unique observation patio at the waterfront beak of the newly created Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve. The Preserve is a great Cleveland story–an 88-acre former Cuyahoga River dredge disposal site on Lake Erie, it is a place where trash has literally turned to treasure as a wildlife haven and migratory bird resting spot. Our gift underscores that part of our Mission that is dedicated to conservation, environmental education and civic improvement. The GCC Centennial Overlook Plaza was dedicated and opened to the public in 2013.
In 2015, we hosted “Rooted in Cleveland,” a GCA Zone X meeting and Zone Flower Show. The meeting was held at the Cleveland Intercontinental Hotel. Over 70 GCA members from our zone (Ohio, Indiana and Michigan) as well as national leaders from around the country were in attendance. In addition to the business meeting, there were field trips to learn about urban farming and the restored Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve. Speakers educated us on community collaboration and on cultivating our soil, land and communities. Members throughout the zone had the opportunity to showcase their horticulture, floral design and photography skills in the accompanying flower show.
Many of our members are actively involved at Holden Gardens & Forests, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes.
Each year our Research and Review committee reviews proposals for funding from organizations that fit our goals of restoring, improving and protecting the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvements. We continue to help make Cleveland a little greener!