On Aug. 9, the Gates Garden Club will host a 50th anniversary party at Bella Pasta.
In 1968, Mrs. Anthony Quattrone (Mickey) and Mrs. John Chuhay (Tina) placed a simple ad in the Gates Chili newspapers inviting women in the town who were interested gardening and floral arrangement to join a club. The first year, 45 women joined the newly formed Gates Garden Club. The first meeting was held in Mickey’s house, where Mickey was voted in as the first president, and Tina was voted in as the first vice president. Club member Mrs. Chester McCann, with the assistance of the Shorewood Garden Club, drafted up the bylaws and constitution of the club.
For the first year, the meetings were held at the homes of the club members. In 1969, to better accommodate the growing needs of the club, the meetings were moved to the Gates Community Center, and meetings were held on the second Thursdays each month. They laid a strong foundation, since this is the same time, date and place we have now. The June picnic was held at Mrs. Bolonek’s home, and the Christmas party rotated years between the members’ homes. The Gates Garden Club became a member of the Federated Garden of New York State, National Council of State and the Garden Center of Rochester in 1969.
By the 10th year of the club’s inception, the focus of the club was horticulture, civic beautification (planting trees and shrubs in the back entrance of the town hall), hosting the flower show at the community center and participating in the town Memorial Day parade.
Over the past 50 years, the seeds that our foundresses have planted have indeed left a bountiful harvest and legacy in the town of Gates and within the community.
The club would not be what it is today, had it not been for the help of our members, federation, district, friends and supporters who have served as co-laborers in helping the Gates Garden Club to fulfill our mission over the years.
Presently, the club has 27 men and women who are in our club. It is because of the dedication of our members that our town enjoys three beautiful gardens located at the town hall, Wegman Road and Westgate Plaza. The club is proud to be a part of the town memorial celebration where they give a rose to remember those who died fighting for our county. The club proudly hosts Wreaths Across America, where we coordinate a ceremony with town officials and veterans. This ceremony is dedicated to remember, honor and teach about our veterans. Wreaths are placed at the Gates’ veteran memorial located at the Gates Community Center.
The club has applied for and won grants from our federation for wooden planters and flowers to help beautiful the town. The club has also built relationships with the Gates library to host story hours and provide a variety of activities such as arts and crafts, reading books, games and songs that illustrate and promote conversation and the joys of gardening. The club has built a relationship with Gates Recreation, and participated in the town Fairy Gate scavenger hunt where community the looks for fairy gates that are placed in the gardens in the town. The club has also held learn and grow programs at elementary schools in Gates. The club has helped organize garden therapy programs at nursing homes and at the MS Achievement program to bring the joy of gardening to those who are medically frail in our community.
The club seeks to educate the town on gardening through vibrant displays at the town hall. The garden club has also donated food to the St. Theodore’s Food Cupboard to help those in need in our community. We weeded and planted gardens in the community for the Gates Day of Caring, the Ronald McDonald House and Monroe Community Hospital. The club makes and donates a wreath every winter to support the Eastman House. We decorate a tree at the historic Hinchey House. The club also donates money to the World Gardening Project to benefit Water for South Sudan and the Navajo Water Project. We also donate to The Nature Conservancy and the Genesee Land Trust.
In addition to all of the wonderful programs offered thought the district, our club offers quality programing, speakers, trips and presentation from Master Gardeners. The club is excited about our upcoming program for the year that includes touring whimsical gardens, a Japanese-themed garden and viewing thousand of Dahlias. Touring the Bejo Seed Co., Bristol’s Garden Center and the Buffalo Botanical Gardens and take a digital tour of the Philadelphia Flower Show.
The club will also have presentations on moon gardens, rock gardens and container gardens; about the Dutch Connection; and our annual fall potluck dinner, holiday party and summer picnic.