Since it was founded in 1921 with a mandate for education, conservation, preservation and beautification, the Wilton Garden Club has remained steadfast in its commitment to Wilton.
Early on, members planted trees on the Town Green and along Danbury Road, maintained window boxes and plants for the Post Office, spruced up the grounds of the town’s schools, and planted evergreens along neglected stretches of highway. For many years, the Club nurtured dogwood trees from the Connecticut Arboretum in an experimental nursery behind Old Town Hall, which members later transplanted to the roadsides near the new Town Hall.
Conservation has always been a priority for the Club. In the early 1920s, the Club sponsored a bi-annual tree-spraying program in an effort to save the town’s elm trees, battled voracious tent caterpillars, and removed much of the poison ivy that ran rampant throughout Wilton. Since 1968, the Club has urged voters to adopt “Open Space” resolutions to preserve the rustic character of the town. When not working to save the town’s trees, the Club’s Conservation Committee is busy identifying invasive plants, raising awareness of the dangers of pesticides, and championing a host of other important causes dedicated to preserving our town and its environs.
The Club is also devoted to the care and preservation of Old Town Hall, located directly across the street from the Wilton Congregational Church. In the early 1930s, the Club stepped in to renovate and preserve this beautiful and historic building, which at the time sat empty and had begun to deteriorate at an alarming rate. The Club struck a deal with the town promising to renovate and maintain Old Town Hall in exchange for the right to lease and use the building for the Club’s purposes. The Club organized and led a second major renovation in 1977 when rotten support timbers were discovered, and the building was condemned for use. Upon the completion of that renovation, Old Town Hall was officially reopened in December of 1980 with the Club acting as its rental agent and caretaker.
Through its many civic projects, the Club has also contributed to the beautification of the Wilton community. The design and maintenance of numerous public gardens in town and the annual Holiday Workshop are some examples of the club’s efforts. More recently, the Club championed the “Making Wilton Beautiful” campaign, which was instrumental in raising the funds necessary to purchase the beautiful hanging flower baskets that adorn the lamp posts in town, and the lighted snowflakes that sparkle in the night sky during the holiday season.
Over the years, the Club’s numerous activities have included garden-related workshops, lectures and demonstrations in horticulture, flower shows, floral design workshops, conservation-related programs, an annual Mother’s Day plant sale, garden tours and trips, plant propagation, and programs for both seniors and youths. While the Club’s activities may shift over time reflecting the current interests of its members the love our members share for gardening and our town has remained unchanged since the early years of the Club.