Los Alamos Garden Club Celebrates 75th Anniversary At Memorial Rose Garden

Members of the Los Alamos Garden Club gather Friday afternoon at the Memorial Rose Garden to celebrate the club’s 75th anniversary. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Debra Sorrel, vice president of New Mexico Garden Clubs, Inc., congratulates Los Alamos Garden Club members on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

New Mexico Garden Clubs District II director Kersti Rock describes the history and current work of Los Alamos Garden Club, Summit Garden Club and the Floral Designers Club, Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

BY MAIRE O’NEILL
maire@losalamosreporter.com

The Los Alamos Garden Club celebrated its 75th anniversary Friday afternoon with an event at the Memorial Rose Garden and honored members who have belonged for as long as 56 years.

Speakers at the celebration included New Mexico Garden Clubs, Inc. state vice president Debra Sorel and Kersti Rock, director of District II, which includes Los Alamos Garden Club, Summit Garden Club and the Floral Designers Club. Other speakers were Los Alamos County Council Chair Randy Ryti, Memorial Rose Garden chair Judy Handy and Nancy Bartlit of the Historic Preservation Board.

Kersti Rock noted that the Garden Club, which formed in 1947, actually predates by a few years the state level organization it has long been a part of. New Mexico Garden Clubs was federated in 1950 and currently has about 27 clubs and more than 500 members.

“Our District’s current theme is ‘Celebrating Nature with Connections, Knowledge and Creativity’. We celebrate nature through our connections with each other, we share our various insights and knowledge about plants and gardening, and we use creativity to express our love of nature in its many aspects,” Rock said.

The oldest of the three clubs is Los Alamos Garden Club which was created to stimulate interest in gardening, aid in protection and conservation of natural resources, and promote community beautification.  Rock said the club currently has 25 members and meets monthly from September through May with interesting speakers, floral design programs and workshops as well as three field trips during the summer months.

Rock said the club’s primary community project is maintaining the Los Alamos Memorial Rose Garden which has existed since 1958 with club workers working to plant new roses and maintain it ever since. It was designed by landscape artist and club member Lila Gardner.

“The Parks Department, first Zia and then Los Alamos County, has also worked in partnership with the club to keep the Rose Garden a beautiful and inspirational centerpiece in historic downtown Los Alamos,” Rock said.

Summit Garden Club was founded in 1960 by Dorothy Crawford and was mentored by  Los Alamos Garden Club mentored in the early years. Its   The primary community project is maintaining the White Rock Community Garden where an onyx solar-powered fountain created by Santa Fe sculptor Greg Robertson was installed by Los Alamos County. Summit also maintains three gardens at Bandelier National Monument, Rock said.

The third District II club, the Floral Designers Club is a design study club that formed in 1994. Rock said Doris Jackson and Shelby Green are two of its original founders of the club and that potter and skilled floral designer Sara Gilstrap was the club’s first president.  The club currently has 10 members.  Every month the club chooses a design theme and each member creates a design based on the theme, then the members meet to study, discuss, and learn about each of the designs.

Long-time Los Alamos Garden Club members honored at Friday’s celebration are:

Joyce Cady joined in 1966. She has been a member for 56 years. She was club President twice, 1970 and 2001-02.

Nancy Bartlit joined in 1968. She has been a member for 54 years. She was club President for two one year terms, 1979 and 1980.

Janet Clayton joined in 1968. She has been a member for 54 years. She was club President in 2000 and 2003-04 each one year terms.

Jill Forman joined in 1968. She has been a member for 54 years.

Jane Sherwood joined in 1968. She has been a member for 27 years. She was club President for two one year terms in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

Trish Spillman joined in 1968. She has been a member for 54 years. She was club President twice in 1977 and 1978.

Harvey Cruz joined in 1971. She has been a member for 51 years. She was club President twice in 1973 and 1974.

Doris Jackson joined in 1975. She has been a member for 47 years. She has been club President four times; 1991-92, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2009-2010. She has been active at all levels of our organization; National, Regional, State, District, and local.

Irene Aikin joined in 1978. She has been a member for 44 years. She had been the Memorial Rose Garden Chair for many, many years. She wrote the “Historical Information on the Los Alamos Memorial Rose Garden” be found on the Los Alamos County website.

Linda Hoffman joined in 1993. She has been a member for 39 years. Over the years she has been Second Vice President, Recording Secretary, and Science Fair Awards Chair.

Ann Shafer joined in 1995. She has been a member for 27 years. She has been club President twice; 2004-05 and 2013-14.

To view Sharon Snyder’s history of the Memorial Rose Garden, see https://www.losalamoshistory.org/history-blog/memorial-rose-gardens-history-in-los-alamos

To read Irene Aikin’s history of the Memorial Rose Garden, go to:

https://cdn5hosted.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_6435726/File/Government/Departments/Community%20Development/Historic%20Preservation/RoseGardenhistory.pdf

Joyce Zaugg introduces speakers Friday at the Los Alamos Garden Club’s 75th anniversary celebration. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Los Alamos County Council Chair Randall Ryti congratulates Los Alamos Garden Club members on its 75th anniversary. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Los Alamos Garden Club members, from left, Irene Aikin, Judy Handy, Cindy Hills, Joyce Zaugg, Linda Hoffman, Kerstie Rock and Bob Aikin gather on a recent Monday morning at the Memorial Rose Garden. The members pull weeds and try to do everything possible to save the rose bushes from wandering deer. They recently planted marigolds around the flower beds as a deterrent and built wire cloches to cover the plants. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Bob Aikin constructs wire cloches for placement around rose bushes to deter the deer from eating them. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Joyce Zaugg, left, and Linda Hoffman pull weeds at the Memorial Rose Garden. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Memorial Rose Garden Committee chair Judy Handy describes the ongoing work at the garden during Friday’s 75th anniversary celebration for the Los Alamos Garden Club. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Checking out the cloches over rose plants recently at the Memorial Rose Garden are from left, Judy Handy, Irene Aikin and Linda Hoffman. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com