A Garden Club Evolving

CP&GC has indeed evolved since its Victorian era origin, yet retains many of the traditions set forth in its early bylaws. Each season’s calendar continues to offer a rich combination of presentations by academics and other notable speakers, horticultural workshops, garden visits, and conversations sharing the advice and expertise among members. Affiliations with the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, The Garden Club of America, and the Boston Committee of the GCA continue to offer enriching experiences by providing connections to gardeners and conservationists in nearby towns and across the country.

Though the members of CP&GC have long looked beyond its own members and into the community, this outreach effort has become increasingly important to CP&GC as environmental challenges are more widespread than at any time in the club’s history.

The health of the city’s trees always been a central concern to CP&GC. Early attention was paid to plantings on the Cambridge Common, and later members’ civic activism led to the creation of the Cambridge Committee on Public Planting. In 1979, CP&GC members advocated for the hiring of a City arborist and strongly supported the planting and maintenance of street trees. A succession of club members have given their time serving as members and chairs.

We now understand that our tree canopy contributes not only shade and beauty, but is a key component strengthening our resilience against the effects of climate change. A City master plan is underway to study our City’s trees and CP&GC members are proud to serve on this master planning task force. The Urban Forest Master Plan seeks to continue to increase the range of a healthy, dense tree canopy, mitigate the effects of urban heat islands and steward healthy trees into the future.

CP&GC is proud to count among its members the founder of the Charles River Conservancy, a leading advocate for the river’s parklands almost immediately upon its founding in 2000. As stated in the Conservancy’s mission, they “invite and engage all in their use and stewardship” of the river. CP&GC is pleased to have been an early supporter of CitySprouts, a hands-on schoolyard gardening initiative that puts children into the garden and fresh garden vegetables into their diets since 2001.

Since 2017, CP&GC has supported the restoration of the 17-acre Magazine Beach Park, the second largest park in Cambridge, and are proud to count among our members the President of Magazine Beach Partners, a position she held since 2010. Long neglected, attention brought to this important public green space has resulted in major investment by the City and State. The cool river breeze and free outdoor pool are a draw for families, who have picnicked under generations-old shade trees.

The club continues to be energized by its work in the City and enrichment from among its own members. We are strengthened and buoyed by shared concerns—a sustained interest and affection for Cambridge—and a commitment to making our city a greener, healthier and more sustainable environment.