Category: Club Announcements

Meetings, socials, sales, field trips, study group, In Memorium, updates

BOOK REVIEW: The Illustrated Garden Book by Vita Sackville-West

The Illustrated Garden Book by Vita Sackville-West

The author of this book was not trained as a horticulturist or designer. Neither was her diplomat husband, Harold Nicolson. Nevertheless, the two of them created one of the most visited gardens in England, at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, an Elizabethan ruin which they acquired in 1930. The creation of the gardens was a labor of love that lasted decades; their marriage, not so much! The garden was open to the public in 1938 and now run by the National Trust.

West wrote gardening articles for 15 years to help pay the bills. This 1989 book version uses many of her columns, beautifully written, filled with humor and lovely photographs. It is just the perfect book for all gardeners to curl up with during this unusual summer.

Their son, Nigel Nicolson, tells the story of his parents’ unconventional marriage and social connections in Portrait of a Marriage. This book sounds intriguing as well and I have it on my future read list.

Joan Meister

The Illustrated Garden Book

July 2020 Newsletter

July 2020 Newsletter

Hello Garden Club Members!

We hope you all saw the nice article in the Wednesday Journal, June 24th featuring the Garden Walks that we co-sponsor with the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory. Since we could not hold it this year they featured one of the garden owners and the 27 year history of the Garden Walk. The article is available online at Oak Park.Com. Also see Dan Haley’s

The Oak Park Art League was to be on the Garden Walk this year showcasing our 3 year club project. We received a thank you from OPAL Executive Director Jill Kramer Goldstein and Board President Kim Robinson for “funding and planting foliage and shrubbery in our Carriage House Gallery.” OPAL is to maintain the garden. Then during the June 26th storm, lightning struck two trees on the property to the west and they fell across the entire front court yard. The trees have been removed and Elaine Allen, co-chair of Civic Beautification has been in contact with them concerning insurance replacement. The most damage was done to a Hemlock, Magnolia and three Quick Fire Hydrangeas. Elaine had documented the entire project in a book of photography and plant material care.

The club gave two $3,000 scholarships to Oak Park River Forest High School graduating students, Elise Beile and Geneva Domantay. Elise will be going to The University of California Santa Cruz and is planning on majoring in environmental studies and sustainability. Geneva will be going to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and will be studying marine biology and environmental science. They wrote informative thank you notes to the club. Cherie Fedota is our Scholarship Chair.

Gina Sennello, Cherie Fedota and Kathy English have been working this summer on a logo/shield for our club to use as a signature design. Look for it on our Membership Directory in September.

Website – Dori Bernstein has been busy working on our Website, adding more information about the club.

Membership Chair, Joan Figatner reported that we had 9 new members after the Wednesday Journal article and a comment on the FaceBook group by Katrina Spears.

Mosquito alert! River Forest has mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus. So please, be sure to spray repellent before gardening and eliminate any standing water.

PLANTCEDES: If you are interested in being notified when a neighbor has extra plants to share, or if you occasionally have extra plants yourself, please directly contact Gloria Backman at to join her email list.

The September meeting has not as yet been planned. We have had a Zoom meeting with other Garden Club presidents as to how to maneuver under the new COVID-19 guidelines. The board will be meeting this month to discuss our programs going forward.

Stay safe and enjoy your gardens!
Mary Ellen Warner & Lisa Cederoth, co-presidents