By Chris Biddle
State Representative Larry Cupoli of Rutland (left) stands with Rutland Garden Club President Marlene Burke and State Senator Kevin Mullen of Rutland (right). Cleary holds a framed copy of Senate Concurrent Resolution 39, commending the organization’s beautification efforts in the city of Rutland for the past 100 years.
By Chris Biddle
RUTLAND – With Rutland’s image on the up-swing, one of the area’s oldest social institutions is as vital as ever. The Rutland Garden Club was founded in 1915, and last Tuesday, May 10, State Senator Kevin Mullen of Rutland presented them with a plaque to commemorate more than a hundred years of service.
“It was absolutely wonderful for the state to recognize our hundred years of service to the Rutland Community,” said Marlene Burke, president of the RGC. “It was a privilege that we were just tickled with.”
Mullen and State Representative Larry Cupoli of Rutland, who was also in attendance, were two of 19 representatives from around the Rutland region that signed Senate Concurrent Resolution 39, which recognized the RGC’s efforts in design, installation and maintenance of 23 gardens in Rutland, as well as last year’s standard flower show at the Proctor Marble Museum, informational and therapeutic gardening services, and many other efforts to beautify and stimulate Rutland City.
SCR. 39 was the result of a petition submitted by the Vt. Farmer’s Food Center. Greg Cox, VFFC’s president, said in an interview, “Farmers work in the dirt, and so does the Garden Club, and we just thought they deserved some recognition for all the wonderful things they do.”
With nearly 80 members, RGC has enjoyed an influx of interest, according to Taffy Maynard, a member of more than 30 years. “The club seems to be extremely vital, and it’s doing an amazing job,” Maynard said in an interview after the event. “In recent years, what has really made it shine is the community service,” she added, “From [gardens at] the police department, to the dog with no leash downtown, depot park, the Green Mountain Boy, the Blue Star Memorial, it goes on and on.”
“When I first joined the Garden Club, we were almost described as a bunch of women who sat around drinking tea, pinkies up…we were not considered a work organization,” said Valerie Cleary, the club’s design chairman and former president. “These are women who have maintained gardens in Rutland for years and years…This is the first time we’ve gotten this kind of recognition, and it feels wonderful.”
Running on the steam of their successful 2015 flower show at the Vermont Marble Museum, the RGC will hold another show this November. They will also host a dedication ceremony on June 15 for a newly refurbished WWII veteran’s memorial on Woodstock Avenue.