photo of a bumble bee on a coneflower with pink petals and orange stamen with a second coneflower next to it and blurry plants in the background
photo of dogwood blossoms
photo of some native plants and a large rock
Blair Pond
Thuya Garden, Dahlias and Snapdragons, 7/24/16
Green, leafy London Plane trees

Welcome! Seeds for today’s club were first planted in 1889. Our mission remains “to increase knowledge of and to stimulate interest in all elements of horticulture, botany, and design, and to support conservation and community improvement in the urban setting of Cambridge.” Local project work remains central to us, and as in the beginning, our members care for the environment and share a love of plants and gardens.

CP&GC Honors Ekua Holmes: GCA Commendation for Civic Improvement

Photo of Robin Powell Mandjes handing the commendation certificate to Ekua Holmes

CP&GC past-President Robin Powell Mandjes presents Boston-based mixed-media artist and children’s book illustrator, Ekua Holmes with a Garden Club of America Commendation for Civic Improvement.

CP&GC has been greatly enriched by its association with Ekua Holmes, a Boston-based mixed-media artist and children’s book illustrator. This spring, CP&GC was pleased to be able to honor Ms. Holmes with a Garden Club of America Commendation for Civic Improvement.

Ms. Holmes initiated the community-wide The Roxbury Sunflower Project in 2018, that has brought nature, beauty, and color to Boston’s Roxbury where community members were invited to plant 20,000 sunflowers. This project inspired others—a 2021 community planting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and our club’s “Sunflower Project” with Prospect Hill Academy Charter School (PHA). Ms. Holmes generously collaborated with us at PHA, a Cambridge charter school that innovatively educates children from primarily underserved communities.

Recent CP&GC past-President Robin Powell Mandjes first suggested a club partnership with Ms. Holmes, a long-time friend and collaborator. We were “sheltering” due to COVID restrictions and no longer meeting in person. These extraordinary times encouraged CP&GC to consider what we could do to more directly contribute to the greater Cambridge community and we believed that making a connection with young people was the best way in which to contribute

Our members, as well as the PHA students, were recipients of Ekua’s creativity and generosity as she collaborated with us in producing six Zoom sessions related to art, science, math, and literacy. We are grateful for and honor Ms. Holmes’ leadership, collaboration, and friendship.

Cambridge Plant & Garden Club Partners with Local High School to Sell Native Plants

For a third year, Cambridge Plant & Garden Club offered native plants for sale in collaboration with students from the local Cambridge high school—Cambridge Rindge & Latin. The students organized the ordering technology and helped to prepare orders. CP&GC members and associates selected the plant species, developed the marketing information, promoted and managed the sale, and purchased the plants.

We selected four shade and four sun plants and bundled them, selling three plants—at just a little over cost. In 2022 we sold 1,100 one-year old plants; in 2023, about 1,400; and this year almost 1,900 plants.

The plants come from North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, PA requiring a winter order. The orders arrived in early May and CP&GC and the students got to work to sort the orders. Our goal is not to make money, but to get as many local, native plants out into the world as we can.

We have also partnered with the CRLS students on two other related projects:

  • native plant seed distribution at Cambridge-wide events including the City’s compost giveaway and Biodiversity Day held at a local park. The high school students created and published native plant “zines” for our events and we included these with the seeds and plugs.
  • creating a native plant garden at the high school. Proceeds from the plant plug sale will go towards this effort and other student-led environmental initiatives.

CP&GC’s partnership with the students has been very fruitful, the students providing technological know-how, creative publications, and physical labor. The garden club members (and associates) provided horticultural expertise, funding, a space for order preparation and distribution, recycled materials for plant packaging (newspapers, plastic bags and cardboard boxes) and labor.

While CP&GC is getting many more native plants out into the world each year, we feel our real accomplishment has been in raising awareness of the importance of native plants. Our community is engaged and eager to make Cambridge a more welcoming place for butterflies, bees and birds.