Camillo Honors Riverside Garden Club on 100 Years Beautifying Greenwich

On Tuesday the Riverside Garden Club was recognized by First Selectman Fred Camillo, who congratulated the club on a century of volunteering to beautify the community.

Twenty volunteers from the club turned out on a chilly afternoon, dividing into two groups of ten in order not to exceed guidelines for gatherings during the pandemic.

First Selectman Fred Camillo, Ann Simpson, Sandy Lindh, Beverly Smith, Susan Foster and Terry Lubman. Dec 1, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

At the event, Beverly Smith noted the club, among the ten oldest garden clubs in New England, was founded at the tail end of the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919.

Smith explained that after mailing out 40 postcards to gauge interest in forming a club, eight people attended the first meeting.

“The president was Mrs. Lockwood,” Smith said, noting the namesake of the familiar road in Riverside.

And while some of the club’s minutes disappeared during World War I and World War II, Smith said a massive trove of scrap books and newspaper articles are now in the care of the Greenwich Historical Society.

Smith explained that the club engages in civic projects, and the train station is one of its great achievements.

Bev Smith and Debbie Krautheim at the Riverside train station. Dec 1, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

The Club got the commission to beautify the train station in 1920, exactly 100 years ago.

These days, the Club continues to focus its efforts on the train station, planting the North Native Garden in December 2017 and planting three pollinator gardens on the south side in spring of 2018.

They also maintain planters at Hill House and do the flower arrangements at Perrot Library.

Currently the club has 50 members and meets once a month, these days of via Zoom to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. Members do not have to be from Riverside to join.

Every meeting includes a presentation by an expert in a relative area of interest along with both horticulture and design submissions by members. These submissions are judged by professional horticulture experts and prizes are awarded. Meetings also include some time at the front end for members to connect with each other.

“We won’t let Covid-19 dampen our goal of sharing knowledge and the love of gardening and horticulture among our members,” said former president, Amy Butler.

“I love to garden and care deeply about our environment and, as a recent retiree, was looking for a garden club where I could learn more about horticulture and meet people with the same interest as mine,” said Debbie Krautheim. “Joining Riverside Garden Club did that for me even though I live in Glenville.”

Sandy Lindh, Bev Smith, Susan Foster, Terry Lubman and Cindy Lindemeyer. Dec 1, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Some sample programs include:

• October: Creating Different Eco-Gardens with Native Plants
• November: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper
• January: Updating Your Garden

Program information can be found on the club’s newly developed website: where there is a link to a video of the club’s September meeting, the first via Zoom – “Easy and Enjoyable Floral Designs From Your Garden” by Cathy Ritch, National Garden Clubs Accredited Judge.

The website also features information on how to join, composting and food scrap recycling in Greenwich, and upcoming events.