In 2007 the St. Albert and District Garden Club celebrated the 25th. anniversary of the formation of the Club on January 2nd. 1982.
At the end of the first year our bank account balance was a modest $ 268.81. Every year since, our bank balance has grown, allowing the Club to finance selected projects.
The first major activity of the fledgling club was the staging of an annual bench show of home grown flowers, fruit and vegetables, and some floral arrangements were evident. The first four annual shows were held in the friendly environment of the Senior Citizen’s Recreation Center on Tache Street. In 1986 the venue was moved to the lobby of the new St. Albert Center, where the annual show is successfully staged to this day. The show is now established around Saturday and Sunday on dates in the last two weeks of August. In the first year there were some 65 classes. In 2006 this had risen to over 270 classes with approximately 800 exhibits. In 2001, to celebrate the Millennium year, a Photography Section was added to the Show and has become another highlight of the Show. As well as modest cash award for winning entries there are also 19 trophies to be competed for.
For the first six or seven years, the Floral Arts Society of St. Albert held an exhibit of professional floral arrangements in conjunction with the Garden Club, which greatly added to the colorful scene. With the 1988 show, Floral Arts ended their association with the Garden Club, and the Decorative Arrangements became an integral part of our show.
In 1990, and again in 1991, Club members volunteered to fill three planters at the North end of the Children’s Bridge with Petunia plants (no particular type) which they also kept weeded and watered. The Petunia was designated the official flower of St. Albert. Designed by a Club member, Hiromi Ikemura, it is featured as the logo of the Garden Club.
In 1993, the members chose to donate $ 300 toward the establishment of a Peony bed in the newly created St. Albert Botanic Park situated on Sturgeon Road and down to the riverbank. The Botanic Park is adjacent to the Red Willow walkway / bicycle path and the forty nine different kinds of Peonies can easily be seen and admired by the many passersby as well as the large Rose garden, Dahlia, Lily and other perennial beds.
There is now also a “John Beedle Park” in the Red Willow Park, created by the City to honor John Beedle for his many years work with the City, and the new Botanic Park Clubhouse, being completed this year, has also been named in his honour. John is a founding member of the Garden Club and still has a very active roll in the executive and as chair of the Show Committee.
The Club now has over 70 active members and each month meetings are held in the lunchrooms of one of the City schools and feature guest speakers on a wide variety of subjects of interest to members, followed by a break for coffee, home-made cookies and for socializing.In Spring and in Fall the meetings take the form of a Plant Auction with plants donated by members and by several of the local nurseries. Tours are arranged by the Garden Club to attractive public and private gardens and facilities surrounding St. Albert, and the summer tours of members’ gardens are eagerly anticipated and well attended - even when some of the tours have required “wellies” and umbrellas, members’ enthusiasms are not dampened.
At least four present-day members are founding members of the Club, and engage regularly in all activities, even if they are listening to a talk which has, for them, come around to the third or fourth time. From these talks and from the annual Shows, even the most timid members have blossomed into quite knowledgeable and competent gardeners, who are eager and willing to share their experiences, which is reason enough for the Garden Club to flourish and to have become an institution embraced by the City and its residents.
The St. Albert and District Garden Club is affiliated with the A.H.A., the St. Albert Botanic Park, and the Garden Clubs of Canada.