Club History – Established 1968 ~ Federated 1982
In the fall of 1968, Pepperell residents Peg Gillette gathered five or six people to discuss the possibility of organizing a local garden club. In the spring of 1969, the elected officers took the helm, and the Pepperell Garden Club grew to twelve members.
The Club voted for membership in the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts in 1982. Our purpose, then and now, is to provide beautification to the Town of Pepperell, and to increase appreciation and awareness of horticulture, landscape and floral design, gardening and environmental concerns.
Over the years, the Club has held meetings in members’ homes (1968-69), the Lawrence Library (1970-76), the Monument Federal Savings Bank (1977-78), the Methodist Church Parish Hall (1978-79), and the Pepperell Community Center (1979-2005). The Club meeting location changed again in the fall of 2005 to our current venue, the Pepperell Senior Center.
The Club has been dedicated to a wide range of horticultural community projects during its history. The following section provides some highlights of the hard work and commitment exhibited by members over the years.
Flower Shows – 1985-1992. In 1985, the club entered the New England Flower Show, winning third place in the Kitchen Window Greenhouse Division of Amateur Horticulturists. In September 1992, the club received three awards at the Nashoba Valley Technical High School Flower Show. Members have volunteered as judges and clerks at the New England Spring Flower Show
Lawrence Library – 1985-99. The Club planned and planted a perennial flowerbed at the Lawrence Library. In 1997 and 1999, we sponsored a Library garden Clean-up Day. Currently, the Library coordinates their own volunteer network to maintain their beds.
Town Rotary – 1986-present. Planning for this garden in the center of town began in 1986. In the spring of 1988, the Highway Department brought in new loam and placed various sized rocks under the direction of the Garden Club. The Club then planted annuals, perennials, and trees, some donated by townspeople. In 1994, the project was finally completed according to its original plan. The Club purchased two granite benches for the rotary. In 1995, a sprinkler system was purchased by the Club and installed by Parks and Recreation Committee. Club members continue to add plants, manage and maintain these beds in the summer months.
July 4th Celebrations – 1992-2002. The Garden Club entered floats in the Pepperell Fourth of July parades from 1992-95, 1997, 1999 and 2002, winning second prize in 1993 and 94, and grand prize in 1999. The grand prize theme was “Flower Power” featuring a 1960s brightly painted VW Bus. The Club plans to revive this activity, particularly in 2018, which will be the Club’s 50th Anniversary.
Pepperell Community Center – 1995-1999. In 1995-96, the Club helped Pepperell Parks and Recreation redesign the Community Center beds, donating plants and labor. In 1999, the project was completed with construction of a terraced retaining wall. The Club also helped fund, design and plant a garden in front of the new Community Center sign.
Pepperell Bandstand Garden – 1998-2002. Working with the Pepperell Business Association, the Club designed, organized, and planted the bandstand gardens at the town field. On September 24, 1998, we installed a woodland garden, shrubs, trees and large perennial beds encircling the bandstand. The Club was awarded grants from Shell Oil Co. and the National Council of State Garden Clubs to assist in funding. We were also awarded the Garden Club Tour Civic Development Grant from Jacqueline Lane Award. In 2002, Brownie Troop #2013 helped the Club plant around the bandstand flagpole.
Arbor Day Plantings – 1999-2002. The Club celebrated Arbor Day in 1999 by planting trees at the Lawrence Library and Peter Fitzpatrick School. In 2001-2002, the Club planted trees on Main Street in conjunction with our Main Street Beautification project.
Town Wreaths – 1992 – present. Since 1992, large holiday evergreen wreaths have been placed at many town locations, including the Police Department, two Fire Stations, Town Hall, Lawrence Library, Highway Department, Post Office, Community Center and the Senior Center.
Garden Safaris – 2001-present. During the summer months, Club members visited many local gardens and other venues of horticultural interest. Visiting other gardens as a group has increased our knowledge of design and horticulture and is inspirational as well.
Varnum Brook Middle School, Green Thumbs – 1996-98. In 1996, Club members worked with middle school students to grow annuals from seed in the school greenhouse. They planted annuals and bulbs in front of the school. In 1998, the Club won the “Bridging the Gap” award for this project. The school removed the beds when the science teacher who spearheaded this project retired.
Handicapped Gardening – 1988-89. The Club initiated a Handicapped Gardening Program designed to assist handicapped Pepperell residents care for their gardens. These efforts continue today and are now combined with Main Street beautification.
Town Hall – 1989-90. The Club designed and planted new garden beds at the Town Hall. In 1991, we donated a new redwood “Town Offices” sign to replace the old, weather-beaten one. Club members continue to provide annuals and maintain the beds throughout the growing season.
Peter Fitzpatrick Elementary School Garden – 1999. The Club worked with school students and staff to design and plant a large perennial bed in front of the Peter Fitzpatrick School. The Girl Scouts participated in maintaining the beds.
Fund Raising Events – Annual Plant Sale and more – The Club’s primary fund raising event is the annual plant sale. Club-grown, donated and commercial plants are sold to the public to raise money to support the club’s civic projects, and programs. Each year our plant sale is very profitable due to the efforts of many club members to secure donated plants for the yearly sale. The sale has been held in various locations over the years, and is currently held at the Pepperell Senior Center. Other Club fund raising activities included publishing a cookbook in 1981, selling bulbs during the fall, and raffling off 10 hours of free garden labor and design expertise for a homeowner’s garden.
Daffodil Trails – 2002. The Club has planted naturalized daffodil clusters throughout the community, funded by selling quality bulbs at reasonable prices to the community. In 2002, a daffodil trail was planted along the Pepperell Rail Trail. The Club also assisted Brownie Troop #727 in planting 200 bulbs in East Pepperell.
Scholarships – 2006-current. The Club funds scholarships for North Middlesex Regional and Nashoba Valley Technical high schools seniors interested in pursuing degrees in horticulture or applied sciences. Initially, scholarship applications were reviewed and awarded within the Club, with members voting on final awardees. In 2014, the procedure was streamlined when the Board turned the award process (based on Club guidelines) over to the schools’ Scholarship Committees. Awardees of $500.00 scholarships over the years include:
2006: Jeffery Berringer, Laura Watka and Justin Querze
2007: Jillian Collins and Michael Luibil
2009: Amanda Hart and Edd Ricker
2014: George Nieves and Matthew Nelson
2015: Alexander Featherston and Phoebe Hynes
2016: Samantha Archer and Philip Dwyer
2017: Caroline McMaster: Washington College, Taylor Rajaniemi: Salem State University and Madison Staley: Curry College
Main Street Beautification – 2001-present. The Club launched a new program to beautify Pepperell’s Main Street in 2001. The project began with placing a large classical style planter with a Sergeant crabapple tree on Main Street. In 2002, the Club purchased three metal grates and installed them, along with three more flowering crabapple trees near the rotary. The committee, led by Lorraine Prost, culminated seven years of hard work by adding more planters, trees and new garden beds along Main Street. From 2007-08, a major redesign, and new garden and some trees and shrubs were installed along the Rail Trail in East Pepperell. In 2013, work continued adding 15 large whisky barrel planters in front of business establishments in East Pepperell. In addition to these 15 containers, the Club also continues to donate the plants and plant the “around town” containers at: the Town Hall (2), Pepperell Family Pharmacy (2), former site of McNabb’s, now Sunny’s Liquors (6), Dr. Attar’s (2), the 7-11 (2), and Ray’s Package Store (2). The Club provides materials and labor, and the businesses weed and water the planters throughout the season. In October of 2016, the club funded a major beautification effort to the Rail Trail Clock Garden. Using proceeds from the annual plant sale, we contracted with local landscapers to remove invasive plants, overgrown plants and embedded landscape fabric, prune and relocate shrubs and trees, add compost to the soil, edge the bed and bring in fresh mulch.
Pepperell Senior Center – 2006-present . Doreen Goscomb initiated the gardens at the Pepperell Senior Center. An Eagle Scout project contributed mulch, shrubs and blueberry bushes and families donated trees in memory of loved ones. The Club donated shrubs, trees and many plants. Several years later, Dianne Kazanjian assumed the responsibility of maintaining the beds, which have grown extensively over the years. Club members continue to maintain the gardens with monthly maintenance during the growing season. She and her family donated mulch, labor and plants to help bring the beds up to the stunning display of color that lasts the entire growing season.
Senior Center Potting Shed– 2009 . The Council on Aging and the Garden Club commissioned Nashoba Valley Technical High School students to custom-build a storage and potting shed on the Senior Center grounds. The 12×12 foot shed has an adjoining 8×10 foot potting shed. This is now Plant Central for all our potting needs, abutting a fenced-in area with raised beds, used as a holding site for our plant sale plants, all thanks to the coordinating efforts of member Dianne Kazanjian. A brief ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on September 9, 2009 to celebrate project completion. The cost of over $3,000 was covered through a combination of Senior Center building funds and proceeds from Club plant sales. In 2013, Dianne coordinated the effort to rebuild the raised beds, which was accomplished by member Mike Alfonso.
Serving Pepperell Senior Citizens – 2011-present. As a recurring contribution to enhance the lives of our Senior Citizens, member Lois Libby asked several friends to join her in preparing a hot lunch to serve at the Senior Center once a month. Although this is not a Club-sponsored activity, all hands who assist in providing these meals are Club members.
Art in Bloom – 2011-present. In the fall of 2011, our Club was introduced to Art in Bloom when we were invited by the Lawrence Library to participate in teams of two to create floral arrangements inspired by art exhibited in the library. We continue to create beautiful arrangements each year. Members take floral arrangement workshops to increase their skill, and the Club funds arrangement expenses for participating teams. The Friends of the Lawrence Library sponsor a reception for each Art in Bloom event.
Veterans of Foreign War Memorial – 2011-present. The Club designed a garden around the VFW memorial stone and along the walkway leading up to it. On the grounds around the flagpoles, we planted two crabapples and one Amelanchier tree. In the fall of 2013, the Club further improved the space by donating two granite benches for those visiting the memorial. The Club continues to maintain this garden.
Tree Plantings – Over the years, the Garden Club donated and planted numerous trees throughout town, to include locations such as the rotary, Peter Fitzpatrick Elementary, VFW, Varnum Brook Middle School and the Lawrence Library.
Virginia Thurston Healing Gardens – 2014. Joining with several other garden clubs in the Central North District of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, club members volunteered with the fall clean-up of the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden in Harvard, MA. These gardens are part of an integrated group of therapies aimed at reducing stress, reducing anxiety and improving the quality of life of those affected by cancer.
|1968 – 1970 Peg Gillette||1990 – 1991 Dianne Kazanjian|
|1970 – 1972 Peg Lupien||1991 – 1992 Linda Bisbo|
|1972 – 1974 Susan Boklaga||1992 – 1993 Julianne Pickard|
|1974 – 1975 Pam Leslie||1993 – 1995 Cathe Kehoe|
|1975 – 1977 Pat Osten||1995 – 1997 Diane Murphy|
|1977 – 1978 Judy Dalton||1997 – 1999 Julie Danforth|
|1978 – 1979 Vicki Ashcraft||1999 – 2001 Lynda Pozerski|
|1979 – 1981 Judy Duggan||2001 – 2003 Lucy Browne|
|1981 – 1982 Dixie Pickard||2003 – 2005 Jennifer Conneilly|
|1982 – 1983 Denise Dastous||2005 – 2006 Lois Libby|
|1983 – 1984 Dixie Pickard||2006 – 2008 Sandra Buss|
|1984 – 1986 Sue Adams||2008 – 2010 Joanna Reagan|
|1986 – 1987 Nancy Olson||2010 – 2011 Nancy Hennessy|
|1987 – 1988 Lynda Pozerski||2011 – 2013 Lisa Moran|
|1988 – 1989 Lorraine Prost||2014-2016 Carol Swift|
|1989 – 1990 Stacy Smith||2017- Terry Geddes|