Southampton Garden Club PROJECTS

Village Community Projects

Southamptons’s oldest wood framed house in its original setting is the historic Halsey House, c.1660 on South Main Street in the heart of Southampton Village. The herb garden, originally installed by the Southampton Garden Club as a colonial garden, was restored during the summer of 2015 under the direction of local landscaper Tish Rehill and the Southampton Historical Museum.

The Southampton Garden Club’s project was the revitalization of  a former garden on Village property located between Windmill Lane and Nugent Street. The garden was overgrown with weeds, full of trash and in urgent need of renovation.  With unanimous approval of the Southampton Village Board of Trustees, a ground­breaking ceremony was held on April 28, 2012.  

The committee chose ‘Kwanzan’ cherry trees and planted them as a focal point to the site. The garden was planned for a succession of bloom. The SGC partnered with the Village and adjacent bank to install irrigation and the Horticultural Society of Southampton, which donated most of the shrubs.

In October 2012, SGC members gathered and planted approximately 2,000 daffodils and 2,000 grape hyacinths in the garden. On April 20, 2013, with the daffodils in full glory, a dedication ceremony took place and a beautiful plaque was installed which reads: “The Southampton Garden Club, a member of The Garden Club of America, 1913-2013, Centennial Tree Project.”

In accordance with President George W. Bush’s suggestion that American Garden Clubs dedicate a garden to the victims of 9/11, the Southampton Garden Club established a garden in the spring of 2002 at the fire station on the corner of 27A and St. Andrews Road. Since firefighters were among those most affected by the tragedy, a planting near one of stations seemed an ideal way to honor them. The garden includes shrubs, as well as perennials, donated by Bob Frankenbach who also helped with the planting. The design and planting of the garden is an on-going project.

As recommended by the Garden Club of America, each member club undertook a special project in celebration of the millennium. The Southampton Garden Club’s project was to enhance and beautify the gardens at the Southampton Historical Museum. With the help of a landscape designer, and in partnership with the museum director, the Club adopted a plan for a more inviting entrance, a new fountain, and seating areas for visitors. New plantings included additional trees, as well as the areas around the foundation of the house itself and around existing trees. The intent was to bring more attention to the museum by enhancing the surrounding grounds.

Billy’s Garden, a garden in memory of the brother of a former SGC president, became the focus of the entrance to the museum.

Since 2001, the Southampton Garden Club has planted and maintained several areas of the library, originally planting the seasonal garden that surrounds the library’s flagpole and today planting the containers by the library entrance .  Additionally, in 2001, the Club gave the library an awning to cover the outdoor patio entrance to the Morris Meeting Room.

The Scholarship Committee originated in 1993 with the presentation of the first Southampton Garden Club Scholarship of $500 to Jennifer Halsey.  The award honors a senior who is continuing his or her education in the field of conservation, environmental concerns, or horticulture. The scholarship’s outreach efforts have recently been enhanced and the award itself has been increased to $2,000.

Since 1959, Southampton Garden Club donations have funded plantings to beautify the grounds of the Southampton Fresh Air Home, a not-for-profit summer residential camp for physically challenged boys and girls. The Club has also sponsored flower arranging workshops for the children in which garden club members work individually with campers to help them make flower arrangements.

The Southampton Garden Club and Stonybrook Southampton Hospital have enjoyed a long association. For many years, the members of the Club took turns providing flowers for the waiting room of the radiology department.  In 1994, the Club helped underwrite a project to enhance the hospital grounds, and contributed horticultural and artistic advice in planting both the main and the emergency room entrances. Planting flowers in these areas on an annual basis and overseeing their maintenance continue to be important on-going projects. 

In addition to the plantings at the actual site of the Hospital, the Southampton Garden Club maintained the garden on the grounds of the former Southampton Care Center, now an adjunct facility of the hospital for many years. The garden, dedicated to the memory of the husband of an SCG member, was the catalyst for a larger project. The SGC planted a connecting garden with a winding walkway that the residents could enjoy. This second garden was dedicated in August 1996. Today it is maintained by the Hospital.

A Southampton Garden Club member, Doris Magowan, established this award-winning garden in memory of her husband. Designed by an SGC member in 1984 and dedicated in June of 1987, it won first prize in a Zone III Landscape Design competition. Although the original garden was destroyed when St. Andrew’s Dune Church was moved back from the dunes to protect it from storms, the garden was rebuilt under the direction of Mrs. Magowan and another Southampton Garden Club member, the late Lee Lisman.  Lee’s husband, Dr. Richard D. Lisman, catalogued the garden’s plantings. When Mrs. Magowan died in 2001, she left a lifetime gift to maintain the garden which the garden club does each year in her memory.

This is the Southampton Garden Club’s most recent initiative and was prompted by the Garden Club of America’s nationwide focus on native plant propagation and the endangered Monarch butterfly population. At the edge of the sand dunes and along the north border of the church’s property, Southampton Garden Club members planted a selection of about 75 native plants — many from members’ gardens including asclepias, achillea, monarda, eutrochium and verbena — in two prepared beds. Click here for a plant list. Cribbing logs were added to provide more stability to the dune and to appeal to butterflies who are attracted by decaying wood. New plants will be added in the fall and the minimal maintenance required for this native garden will be performed by club members. Click here for directions on how to plant your own butterfly garden!

Workshops for Hospice began in December 2011 using remaining greens from the SGC members’ Holiday Boxwood Topiary Workshop.  The following Monday, SGC members: Jane Fear, Janis Murphy and Cindy Willis, and a Hospice volunteer, Carolyn Gemake, met at the home of president, Lydia Wallis, and made 7 boxwood topiaries decorated with ribbons, walnuts and Lady apples and filled seven baskets with greens, ornaments and bows as gifts for Hospice patients in Southampton Town, to be delivered by Hospice nurses and volunteers.

The baskets were so well received by East End Hospice staff and patients that a full member workshop was planned for the following December.  At the suggestion of SGC members, a summer workshop was added in July 2013. Summer workshops have included containers with fresh cut flowers, mini orchid plants and African violets.  In December 2016, fifteen felt holiday baskets were filled with candies for children either in Hospice care or with family members in Hospice care.

This popular tradition continues with members holding two workshops each year filling 80 baskets for adults and children.

The Southampton Garden Club engages in a number of other projects each year that serve to strengthen the bond between the club and our local community. For example, each holiday season, club members gather to create floral arrangements for East End Hospice. And, in the fall of 2013, club members designed and planted a small garden at the side entrance of St. John’s Church, a long-time supporter of garden club activities.

National and Regional Support

Group for the East End is an environmental advocacy and education organization, committed to the preservation of eastern Long Island’s natural resources and rural heritage.  Formed in 1972 by local citizens concerned about mounting development pressures, the Group has fought passionately and steadfastly ever since to protect the region’s unique environment, agricultural tradition and quality of life.  (From the Mission Statement of Group for the East End)

In 2009, the 7 GCA Long Island garden clubs (Southampton GC, Three Harbors GC, North Country GC, South Side GC, North Suffolk GC, GC of East Hampton, GC of Lawrence and the GCA New York Committee) joined forces to form the Long Island Tree Committee.  

Inspired by the GCA’s Centennial challenge to promote awareness of trees in local communities, the LITC extended these objectives to a wider audience. They planned a series of four annual symposia at notable regional institutions. Their objective was to promote awareness of the value of trees and forests to our environment and welfare and to recognize that we need a shift in our current horticultural paradigms to accommodate a changing ecology. Their goal: to inspire curiosity and build knowledge about plants and wooded landscapes in order to enhance life, preserve nature and advance sound stewardship practices. Their solution: to help sustain a healthy natural landscape, collaboration must be fostered among diverse groups and organizations such as property owners, landscape designers, land trusts, watershed associates and municipal boards. 

To carry on their educational goal, the LITC has funded a GCA Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry and contributed to the Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Fund for Early Environmental Education.

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.  To date, the Conservancy and its members have been responsible for the protections of more than 11 million acres in 50 states and Canada. The Conservancy owns more than 1,600 preserves—the largest private system of nature sanctuaries in the world. (From the Mission Statement of The Nature Conservancy)

The mission of the New York Committee of the Garden Club of America is to carry the message of GCA throughout the 5 boroughs of New York. It does so by developing and implementing various hands-on horticulture and conservation projects such as the annual bulb planting at Hopper House on the lower East Side, the Peter Pan garden at Carl Shurz park on the Upper East Side and the Millennium garden at the Bowe Notch on the lower Hudson River. Members of the New York Committee come from GCA clubs within the tri-state area and all local club members are
encouraged to participate.

The Peconic Land Trust is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to the preservation of farmland and open space on Long Island. To this end, the Trust acquires and manages land, as well as easements, for conservation purposes.  In addition, the Trust assists farmers and other landowners in the identification and implementation of alternatives to full-yield development. (From the Mission Statement of The Peconic Land Trust)

Consistent with the vision of the Village of Southampton where cultural arts and humanities are a defining characteristic of its community, the Southampton Cultural Center’s mission is to provide venues for quality education and performance. In addition, the Southampton Garden Club’s Annual Flower Show is often held at the center.

The VIAS is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1881 with the mandate to preserve and beautify the Village of Southampton. The SGC, in spirit and funding,  has regularly supported and shared in the VIAS mission to keep Southampton beautiful via thousands of plantings, from tulips to trees, adorning our village parks and colorful flower boxes that line our village streets, while maintaining the beauty of our environment through the pruning of trees and tending of gardens—all projects that help preserve the special and precious character of our local community. 

The Student Conservation Association, Inc – changing lives through service to nature—was established 43 years ago by a Garden Club of America member to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.  (From the Mission Statement of SCA)