Creating A Legacy

In spite of the vagaries of spring weather in the Midwest, Mother Nature came through with another spectacular display for the Garden Club’s luncheon on May 6. The entrance drive to the Oak Park Country Club was a showcase of gorgeous blooming trees, flowering shrubs and plants.

Centerpiece by Sue Milojevic
Centerpiece by Sue Milojevic

The human touch wasn’t bad either. The tables bedecked with beautiful floral centerpieces and pink napkins, along with the twenty colorful floral raffle items all presented a powerful “wow” factor upon entrance to the dining room. Add to that the guests wearing beautiful hats and lovely clothing and you get an idea of the visual impact we felt.   Yes, it is nice to enjoy the four seasons!


Wearing a floral decorated hat to the luncheon is a tribute to our club’s 98 year heritage of women loving flowers. Granted hats and gloves were de rigueur for the well dressed women even fifty years ago, but today it is an enjoyable event at our luncheon. We promenade our creations and vote for our favorite decorated hat. Delia Vargas, Ginger O’Malley and Linda Zwierz received the People’s Choice awards this year.


Delia, 1st
Ginger, 2nd






Another returning favorite was speaker, Cornelia McNamara.Cornelia We last saw Cornelia’s floral magic at our luncheon in 2010. A Chicago native, who graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago, she lived and worked in Manhattan, was a candidate for the position of Chief floral designer at the White House and finally she returned to Chicago and opened her own firm in 2005. Although Cornelia has handled the floral designs for numerous prestigious events and weddings in Chicago, she maintains the demeanor of a girlfriend chatting across the table from you. While creating gorgeous arrangements with ease right before our eyes, Cornelia was also telling us about her flower farm outside of Chicago, “Five Row Farm” and her participation in “Chicago Honey Co-op”, an urban bee farm both in an effort to reduce her carbon foot print on the world. She maintains that 85% of the flowers sold in the US are grown on another continent with unregulated pesticides and shipped in refrigerated containers to the final destination. We can do our part to lessen the carbon impact, she told us, by buying locally grown flowers in season or to grow our own.

The Oak Park Country Club has been such a wonderful venue for our annual luncheon. In addition to being a beautiful location, Tracy Reyes and her crew are unbelievably cheerful and helpful assisting us with our early morning set up, special diets, bar tender, punch, car valet and clean up! Chairwoman Kathy English was ably assisted by board members, club members, guests, and husbands to deliver a beautiful event

Special thanks to Sue Milojevic for designing the centerpieces and to the Ways and Means team of Mary Ellen Warner, Ruth Rowe and Barbara Graham for the unique raffle items. We couldn’t have had a better day-of-supporting crew! Ticket sellers: Alice Blanchard, Sherry Pavel and Cindy Rossi plus  GC male auxiliary of Graham, Vitullo and Zwierz were outstanding.

Thanks to all who helped continue the Garden Club legacy.

View the “Photo Albums” in the side panel on the main page for additional pictures of the May 2015 Luncheon