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Our History

The origins of an informal Stonington Garden Club date back to the early 1900’s, but the first recorded account was July 6, 1926, when "Mrs. Frank L. Henderson won first prize in a rose contest," according to "The Stonington Chronology 1649-1976." In 1929, this casual group became one of the charter members of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut. During World War II, however, it disbanded to put energies into knitting for troops abroad and planting personal Victory Gardens. Reorganized in 1958 with 30 members, its charter was "to stimulate interest in gardening, to encourage civic planting and to promote measures for the protection of wildflowers, native plants, birds and wildlife." In 1996, with the active membership limited to 48 people and an unlimited number of Friends, the membership voted to change the Club’s objectives: "to educate and encourage interest in the environment, conservation, civic beautification and to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening." In 2000, the Stonington Garden Club joined The Garden Club of America, increasing membership to 55 and expanding committees. The Club’s archives stored at the Woolworth Library total more than three dozen volumes. The earliest periodical clippings date from 1934. Committee reports have been gathered since the 1960s. Photographs document current activities. The volumes tell of the Club’s help with the beautification of both the Town and Borough. Through the years, funds to support many projects in the community have been raised by the club’s Gardens by the Sea walking tour. To increase awareness of preserving the environment, the club has published "What’s Up Outside" and "Earth Friendly Alternatives."


Executive Board 2024-25

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Laura Metzger


Jill Corr


Susan Alston

Vice President
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Deborah Kotchen

Vice President

Helen Garten

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Valerie Kelsey

Assistant Treasurer

Dodie Bump

Communications Secretary
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Pamela Wright

Recording Secretary

Chairs 2024-25

Standing Committee Chairs

- members of the Governing Board

  • Community Gardens: Elizabeth Johnstone & Meredith Falvey
    • Lighthouse Museum Mentor: Candy Sanford

    • Borough Post Office Mentor: Joyce Pandolfi
    • Wayland’s Wharf Mentors: Kirby Williams & Laura Metzger
  • Conservation/NAL: Terri Brennan & Bill Hobbs
  • Floral Design: Shonah Drakos
  • Garden History & Design: TBA
  • Horticulture: Laura Hall & Kay Graham
  • Photography: Jill Corr
  • Programs: Deborah Kotchen
  • Visiting Gardens: Anna Bell McLanahan

Administrative Chairs

  • Archives: Alice Houston & Candy Sanford
  • Awards: Kathy Conger
  • Federated Garden Club (FGCCT) Liaison: Jill Corr
  • Finance Committee: Susan Alston
  • Flower Show & Judges: Pamela Wright
  • Hospitality: Helen DePersia
  • Garden Club of America Liaison: Jill Corr
  • GCA Bulletin: Dodie Bump
  • Grants Program (Donations to NFP): Lois Cole
  • Grants Program (Donations to SGC): TBA
  • Founders Fund: Kirby Williams
  • Membership Chair/Memorial Books: Susan Alston
  • Newsletter Editor: Dodie Bump
  • Nominating Committee: Kirby Williams
  • OCCC Liaison & Lobster Trap Tree: Dodie Bump
  • Public Relations: Dodie Bump
  • Social Media Editor: Jill Corr
  • Stonington Borough Merchants Assoc. (SBMA) Liaison: Ann Buffum
  • SGC Scholarships: Terri Brennan
  • Website (Editor & Administrator): Dodie Bump
  • Website (Designer and Editor): Anna Bell McLanahan

Community Project & Event Chairs 

  • COMO Children’s Learning Garden: Deborah Dodds
  • Community Gardens Native Plants: Elizabeth Johnstone & Kirby Williams
  • Community Wreaths: Susan Alston
  • Create a Grants Program for SGC donations: Beth Stewart & Kirby Williams
  • Deck the Walls: Mary Suter & Mary Boyer
  • Greens Workshop: Susan Alston & Deborah Kotchen
  • Holiday Party: TBD​
  • Stonington Borough 4th of July Parade: TBD
  • Stonington Free Library Flowers: Kim Kunzik'
  • Task Force Lead - 100th Anniversary (2026): TBD
  • Task Force Lead - Gardens by the Sea Tour (2026): TBD
  • Task Force Lead - SGC 5 Year Strategic Plan: TBD
  • Village Fair Booth 2024: Susan Alston & Kristi Andersen

Garden Club of America Zone II Representatives

  • Presidents Representative: Kathy Conger
  • Communications Representative: Kirby Williams

Standing Committees


Conservation Committee

​The purpose of the Conservation Committee is to inform members and the public about critical issues threatening the environment and to educate and inspire members and the public about conservation preservation actions that can be taken to improve the health of the environment. The committee focuses on community outreach, educating members through the monthly newsletter on water and energy saving tips, and providing visibility on key national and legislative conservation issues.

Floral Design Committee

The Floral Design Committee provides workshops led by talented in house members, Zone II floral design experts, and guest designers. Its members have created floral arrangements for local non-profit events as a public service to the community. In return, these projects have provided a valuable and enjoyable learning experience. The committee also hosts Bench Shows, which are a friendly way to enter a very small GCA sponsored Flower Show. In the process and through Workshops, members will learn about the guidelines for entering all GCA Flower Shows.

Garden History & Design Committee

The Garden History and Design Committee uses photography and research, the study of good design practices, education, and lecture programs to develop an appreciation of America’s gardens. The committee works closely with the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens to document cultivated gardens in the area. Several local gardens are now in the Smithsonian archives as a result of this committee’s efforts.

Horticulture Committee

The committee seeks to nurture the knowledge and love of gardening, to promote useful and valuable plants, and to conserve those at risk. It supports the GCA in their efforts to educate their communities in responsible ways to plant, propagate, grow, and show. Every year the SGC arranges a horticulture-related membership meeting with the Programs chair. The committee also participates in activities within the club to educate its members.

Photography Committee

The Photography Committee furthers the knowledge and love of gardening and the natural landscape through photography. It promotes the art and science of photography at all skill levels through education. It provides training through workshops and opportunities for members to submit photos for publications and GCA Flower/Photography Shows. All of the photographs on this site were taken by or of club members.

Visiting Gardens Committee

Visiting Gardens strives to enrich the experiences of all SGC members through its outreach. Its purpose is to explore, challenge, and grow our understanding of gardens, of the social and cultural history of gardens and landscape, and of gardening practices and landscape design. This comprises of organizing field trips, guest speakers, films, and writing newsletter profiles of those in the field. In addition, Visiting Gardens can facilitate SGC member visits to GCA gardens in other locations as well as GCA member visits to SGC member gardens.

Join Us

Join Us

Membership Benefits

  • Education on garden related subjects such as: horticulture, nature photography, landscape, floral design, and conservation.
  • Enjoying the company of friends
  • Making new friends
  • Sharing common interests
  • Designing and working in our community service projects
  • Learning sustainable gardening skills
  • Learning floral design skills

Membership Requirements

  • Join and be an active member on a minimum of one Committee
  • Attendance at Membership Meetings
  • Support our Community projects by volunteering at the project locations, attending workshops and events
  • Volunteer for the Gardens by the Sea Tour and purchase a ticket
  • Payment of annual dues

Applying for Membership

If you are interested in joining the Stonington Garden Club (SGC), click on the link below for more information on applying for membership.

Contact Us by Email

Contact Us
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Proud members of The Garden Club of America, Federated Garden Clubs of

Connecticut, Inc., National Garden Clubs, Inc., New England Garden Clubs, Inc.  

Copyright @ 2024  The Stonington Garden Club, Inc.

Stonington Garden Club   PO Box 385   Stonington, CT 06378

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