The Rutland Garden Club
The Rutland Garden Club, established in 1914, initially began beautifying Rutland with flower shows and floral programs. The club planted their first garden in the Main Street park, and additional gardens were not created until the 1950’s when members of the club provided landscape design and plantings for a new local elementary school in Rutland,the Northeast Primary School. Launching their efforts to begin beautifying the Rutland community, the club started work for the Rutland Hospital, a local community center, and a city park. These are just a few examples of the projects that brought the club to life here in Downtown Rutland, and they are now an important part of the development and placemaking of the community. The club volunteers to improve the face of many downtown shops and has worked with different organizations in Rutland to make the city a desirable location not only for its visitors, but for the residents too. Members today continue to beautify Rutland, just as their predecessors have been doing for 105 years.
The Rutland Garden Club does work in many areas of Downtown Rutland. They have planted gardens for The Rutland City Police Department, The Chaffee Art Center, The Rutland Free Library, and have gardens devoted to pay respect to our country’s Veterans as well. They have received the “ Downtown Hero” award for beautifying Rutland and gained recognition from the National Garden Club for their efforts.
Depot Park is in the center of downtown Rutland by the Rutland Plaza. The park got its name because it was once part of a twenty acre area which included a Railroad station and large parking garage. Having no longer a need for the RR station and parking garage , in 1997 the “Big Dig,” started the construction of a shopping mall and parking lot. Brenda Isaacs, a member of the garden club, wanted to create a park with “head turning, traffic stopping” beauty. The garden club developed three gardens in this location with the help of The Boys and Girls CLub , 4-H , and the Rotary Club.
Rutland Police Department
Rutland City Police Garden is in front of the police station on Wales Street. It was started by two Rutland residents who designed and planted the garden in 2002 as a project to meet their master Gardener course requirement . Donations of plants came from downtown vendors and private gardens. 1000 yellow tulips were originally planted in one section to honor men and women in the services. In more recent years the Garden club has planted and maintained the garden.
Godnick Adult Center
Vietnam Memorial Garden
Located on the Westside of Route 7 South, next to the Main Street Park near downtown, is a garden dedicated to the veterans of Rutland who served in Vietnam. The memorial was carved by a Vietnam Veteran and the marble was donated by a Rutland Businessman. After interviewing many of the veterans, a landscaping design was created around the memorial to provide “peace, reflection, and solitude” that the veterans had requested. Valerie Cleary and Becky Rizzi from the Rutland Garden Club designed the garden and it was installed in May of 2000. Valerie, the veterans, and members of the Rutland Garden Club continue to maintain the garden today.
One of the clubs larger projects is the Godnick Adult Center; where they manage four different garden projects. In 1976 , the club agreed to do landscaping and garden design for the new building off of Deer Street. A public preview of the plans was held in May of 1977 and the project was completed in 1979 with three special trees planted as memorials to members, and a sign at the corner was erected for the Adult Center. The club today removes old overgrown shrubbery and plants as necessary, manages new plantings of primarily perennials and adds annuals for some extra color in the early summer. The club does work in the front of the building where the Godnick Garden is located, where they clear overgrown shrubs and plant lillies to bloom for people to enjoy when they enter the building.
For over 35 years, the club has also planted crocuses on the center’s side bank. This started as a tribute to Julia Granger, a charter member of the 1914 club, and in 1990 Ginny Mitchel restarted the project, where it continues as an annual program since that time. Ginny left funds to the club to continue her special program, and as a result, the club has been able to plant between 800 and 900 bulbs a year for passersby to view.
Another member of the club is paid tribute at the center through the Lorilee Foley Garden, located on two sides of a gazebo behind the Godnick Adult Center Building. The memorial garden was designed in 2010 as a tribute to Lorilee who was a long time active member of the Club. The garden, full of shrubs and perennials is part of lovely and serene area where picnics, weddings, and even exercise classes are enjoyed. The Godnick Adult Center is a very busy place and attendees are always grateful to see the flowers and shrubs in bloom.