1997 -1999 Elisabeth Hume 1999 -2000 Sally Murphy 2000 -2002 Eileen Rais 2002 -2003 Carole Schepis 2003 -2004 Diana Appleton 2004 -2006 Susan Gough 2006 -2007 Lorna Robinson 2007 -2009 Carolyn Rini 2009 -2011 Nancy Gulley 2011 - 2013 Ann Tarlton 2013 - 2015 Jane Finn 2015 - 2017 Pat Wilson 2017 - 2019 Neely Barnhardt
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GREAT ISLAND GARDEN CLUB By Elisabeth Hume In 1997, a group of women decided to organize a garden club - the first in New Castle’s 374 year history. Seventeen enthusiastic ladies attended the first meeting and planned programs for the coming year. Monthly meetings, featuring horticultural speakers, were held in members homes. Field trips were arranged to introduce members to historic gardens, botanical gardens and nurseries. As word of the club’s interesting programs spread, attendance grew and soon membership expanded to fifty. A name was chosen, officers elected, and bylaws were written. Space became an issue so club meetings were moved to the more spacious New Castle Congregational Church Parish Hall. Because an essential purpose of the Garden Club was to assist in civic beautification, it soon became necessary to raise money. The first fundraising event, held in 1998, was the English Tea and Plant Sale held at Parish Hall. Wonderfully successful, it became a biennial event for several years and funded the club’s civic projects. By 2006, club members decided a different kind of fundraising event was needed. The result was the Gardener’s Tea and Tag Sale. Originally held in the Parish Hall, this plant sale quickly outgrew the space and was moved to the town’s Recreation Center. It has become an anticipated spring event. Its great success, brought about by the dedication and hard work of club members, has allowed the Club to gradually install a sustainable landscape in front of the Recreation Center. Working with a professional landscape designer’s master plan, club members have purchased, planted and maintained the ever expanding landscape composed primarily of native New England plants. In the fall of 2012, the entrance to the Library was planted and an irrigation system installed, which completed a significant portion of the master plan. The extensive project has been the Garden Club’s gift to the Town of New Castle. It has taken time and commitment for the garden club to evolve and become a meaningful part of the New Castle community. It is hoped that the Great Island Garden Club will continue to grow and diversify; and hold true to its mission; which is to “stimulate members’ knowledge and love of gardening”.