History of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.

On April 30, 1929, The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc. was organized with 31 Connecticut garden clubs as charter members. The following day, May 1, 1929, it joined with twelve other states to form the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc., now known as National Garden Clubs, Inc. The Federation has had almost continuous representation on the National Board since its founding.

On September 24, 1929, for a charter fee of $15, Prudence Demarest, Maude Warner, Clarissa Miller, Beatrice Allien, Marguerite Peck and Harriet Price signed the State Charter for The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut. The first president was Prudence Demarest, then known as Mrs. John Demarest. According to a history prepared in 1930, the following clubs were Charter members: Bridgeport, Branford, Cheshire, Connecticut Valley, Danbury, Derby, Fairfield, Glenbrook, Greenwich, Madison, Middletown, Milford, New Canaan, New Milford, New Haven, Newington, New Haven Woman’s Club, New London, Norwalk, Pomperaug Valley, Riverside, Salisbury, Shippan Point, Spring Glen, Sound Beach (now Old Greenwich), Southington, Stamford, Stonington, Stratford, Westport and Wilton.

The Federation has continued its interests in Civic Development, Environmental Concerns/ Conservation, Garden Therapy, Historic and Memorial and Public Gardens, Horticulture, Legislation/Government Action, Public Relations, Scholarships and Youth Activities. It sponsors Flower Show, Landscape Design, Gardening, and Environmental Schools for the continuing education and benefit of its members.

The Connecticut Federation NEWS publication (CFN), which has been in existence almost since the beginning of The Federation, publishes 6 issues a year to keep members informed of Federation activities. The NEWS is distributed electronically via email.

Beginning in 1935, each year at its Fall Awards Luncheon, The Federation presents its highest honor – the Bronze Medal- to an individual, club or group for outstanding accomplishments in upholding the aims and purposes of the organization. A multitude of traveling silver awards and certificates of achievement are also presented at that time, both to clubs as well as to individuals. The first silver award was presented in 1959 – the Award of Honor – to clubs (at that time only three club-size categories), followed in 1971 by the Ellen Carder Memorial Award and the Lucille Schavoir Award in 1978. Thereafter, four or five were added every decade, with a total of 31 silver awards to date. Tribute Awards, one of the highest awards a garden club member may receive, were begun in 1994.

The Connecticut State Flower Show has been presented by the FGCCT continuously every year since 1982 in the city of Hartford. Prior to that time, there were at least two, one in 1976 and one in 1978, but they were not continuous. These shows had a promoter named Lawrence DeSando of L.A.D. Enterprises.

A promoter named George Gonsalves of North East Promotions, Inc. invited The Federation to be part of his Hartford Flower Show which consisted of vendors and landscapes staged by various local landscapers.The Flower Show still consists of the landscapers, the vendors and our Flower Show but our promoter has changed from George to his daughter, Kristie Gonslaves. Kristie changed the name of the show to the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show.

FGCCT Presidents 1929 – Present

FGCCT Bronze Medal Winners 1935 – Present