1969-2019 Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary
The Rye Driftwood Garden Club marked its 50th year in operation with a gala event for members and guests at the Rye Congregational Church on June 6th. The celebration featured a town proclamation from the Rye Selectboard Chairman Phil Winslow citing the club’s many activities within the town, and declaring June 6, 2019 as Rye Driftwood Garden Club Day. More than 70 club members attended the celebration, including many past club presidents. To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the club has installed a plaque at one of the gardens it maintains next to the Rye Transfer Station.
Rye Driftwood Garden Club started in 1969 with a $100 Sears Roebuck Beautification Project grant which was used by the club members to refresh the landscape in front of the Rye Public Library. From the beginning, RDGC established its mission “to encourage interest in all phases of flower arranging, home gardening and better horticultural practices,” as well as promote “civic beautification and the conservation of natural resources.” Meetings were initially held at the Rye Public Library until the size of the membership required the club to move its monthly lecture programs to the larger function hall at the Rye Congregational Church.
In 1971, RDGC began one of its most important missions to encourage succeeding generations interest in horticulture and conservation by sponsoring a young woman’s attendance at the Bear Brook State Park Conservation Camp. This long-standing commitment has continued to today, as RDGC has provided yearly scholarships to students who attended the University of New Hampshire Thompson School’s horticultural program as well as grants to youngsters attending UNH’s Plant Camp. Because the Thompson School has closed the horticultural program, the club will now offer scholarships to other students interested in horticultural.
Since its beginning, RDGC has engaged in a wide range of activities, such as historical house and garden tours, book donations to the Rye Public Library, plant sales, participation in Rye Art in Bloom, woodland walks, and holiday greens sales. Over the years, the club took on responsibility for managing multiple green spots in Rye, and continues to maintain plantings at Parsons Fields, the Rye Transfer Station, Rye Museum and Tonis Common as well as flower boxes at Rye Center, Rye Public Library, Rye Safety Building and Rye Beach Post Office. The club’s efforts to promote beautification and conservation have been repeatedly recognized by the Town of Rye as well as by the NH governor.
Today, RDGC is a vibrant organization of 100+ members from Rye and many area towns. The club offers multiple activities, including a monthly speakers’ program of horticultural and environmental professionals which is open to the public, holiday greens workshops and its always popular spring plant sale held in early May. In addition to student scholarships, RDGC awards yearly landscaping grants to local businesses, schools and organizations to landscape public areas.
RDGC History Slide Show. Click image to view.
Rye Town Proclamation. Click image to enlarge