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The Garden Club of Bermuda 100th Anniversary

April 4, 2021 marked The Garden Club of Bermuda’s 100th year of existence which is a tremendous achievement.

The Club has grown and expanded over the years but throughout its evolution has always maintained a standard for excellence and a desire to assist other charities.

Donations to the Seaman’s Fund and the Military and the Naval Hospitals during the war and the creation of the gardens at Agape House are only a few examples of the Club’s commitment to its philanthropic endeavours.

From the creation of KBB to the participation in the Buy Back Bermuda campaign and more recently the Skills Development Programme, the Club has always supported causes associated with the conservation and preservation of natural resources and championed education.

We thank all our past Presidents and lifelong members who have helped the Club flourish and to our current President and existing members for carrying on their legacy and ushering the Club into a new era.

In this year The Garden Club of Bermuda held celebratory events in recognition of its rich lineage while continuing to support the community in its initiatives.

Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, there was no big party, but events took place regularly until April 2022.

To start the celebrations, we were pleased to announce the launch on April 1st of a Commemorative Stamp Issue designed by Sheila Semos, photography by Chris Burville.

The Bermudian magazine had a feature in their 2022 spring issue covering this milestone.

May 2022

Waterstart Donation

As our 100th anniversary year drew to a close, The Garden Club of Bermuda made its final $10,000.00 donation to Waterstart.

Waterstart is an outdoors real-world education programme encompassing the ocean and the environment offering students between the age of 12 and 18 training in water-based disciplines, conservation and marine science.

Their main base of operations is located on Burt Island in the Great Sound where they have welcomed a total of 545 students since last March alone! Their team teaches a variety of programmes and classes all year around focusing on the terrestrial and marine environments of Burt Island and Bermuda. Their current projects include seagrass management, shellfish restoration, woodland restoration and organic gardening.

In regard to the seagrass management, Waterstart is working with the local community and The Department of Environment and Natural Resources to protect seagrass in Bermuda. Phoebe Barboza, Operations and Research Manager said “Seagrasses are beautifully unique, they are the only flowering plants adapted to grow submerged in the sea and are extremely valuable and crucial species to the environment. These species should be protected to ensure the food sources, shelter and essential nursery areas they provide to commercial and recreational fishery species as well as many invertebrates living in seagrass communities remain. Our team is extremely lucky to be able to work towards the protection of these meadows whilst also providing a memorable hands-on experience for many students and community members. Thank you to The Garden Club of Bermuda for their incredible support and belief in our efforts to protect the environment and share our natural classrooms with all who join us at Waterstart”

The Garden Club is delighted to support such a worthy cause.

Pictured from left to right: Rosemary Holmes – GC 100th Anniversary Co-Chair, JP Skinner – Waterstart Director, Carol Sims – GC 100th Anniversary Co-Chair, Phoebe Barboza – Waterstart Operations and Research Manager and Jan Macdonald, GC President

Below photos: Burt Island, Seagrass Management, JP Skinner, Jan MacDonald and Phoebe Barboza, Start of Nursery on Burt Island, Spring Camp.

May 2022

Carter House Donation

The Garden Club of Bermuda donated $10,000.00 to Carter House (the St David’s Island Historical Society) which is believed to be one of the oldest Bermuda vernacular farmhouses surviving largely in its original structure and form for over three centuries. An authentic mud and stud palmetto thatched Settlers’ Cabben of 1612 was added in 2012.

An Open House was held selling plants, crafts and gifts and there was also a planting activity for children. People in period costumes welcomed visitors and gave guided tours of the historical buildings.

The house is now a museum preserving the one-of-a-kind culture and history of the St. David’s Islanders. The garden has been replanted with endemic and native trees and plants as it once was to complement the old house and the Cabben.

Two benches, two picnic tables and three olivewoods were also donated offering visitors a place to sit quietly and let history and nature speak to them.

April 2022

BUEI Donation

Pictured from left to right: Karla Lacey, BUEI CEO – Hannah Lampit, BUEI Eco-Schools Coordinator – Jan Macdonald, GC President – Carol Sims, GC 100th Anniversary Co-Chair and Rosemary Holmes, GC 100th Anniversary Co-Chair


The Garden Club of Bermuda was very pleased to donate $10,000 towards the Eco-Schools programme operated by BUEI. This programme which was started by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) involves 68 countries and 59,000 schools and was implemented in Bermuda in 2013 when Greenrock was chosen as its first National Operator.

BUEI took over the programme in 2019. Currently, there are 17 registered schools; 12 public, 4 private and the Bermuda College. Karla Lacey, BUEI CEO, stated “Student-led and action-based, Eco-Schools empowers young people to introduce sustainable practices within their school by engaging and exposing them to authentic learning experiences. Eco-Schools’ approach enables schools to build community while engaging in meaningful learning opportunities with academic and financial rewards.”

The Eco-Schools Bermuda programme has three main pillars: the 7 Step Framework, the 10 Sustainability Pathways and the 3-tiered awards system. Students, teachers, parents, volunteers and “Delivery Partners” (who provide specialized expertise and advice), all play a part in bringing the programme to fruition.

As the island is slowly coming out of the pandemic and facing inflation, like the rest of the world, food security has become increasingly more of an issue. More people are turning to gardening and growing their own produce for their personal consumption. Eco-Schools is teaching our children to be more responsible, eco-friendly and self-reliant in a multitude of disciplines.

It has been said “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Be the change that a sustainable world needs!

March 2022

St George’s Foundation

Pictured standing from left to right: Carol Sims, GC 100th Anniversary Co-Chair – Peter Barrett, Treasurer of the St. George’s Foundation – Rosemary Holmes, GC 100th Anniversary Co-Chair, seated on one of the donated benches: Francine Trott, Forts Manager, Department of Parks

Ferry Point Park covers 64 acres, is home to at least 11 cultural, historical and natural assets and is part of Bermuda’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. The St. George’s Foundation has begun a restoration project for the fortifications in the park, run under a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Parks and Ministry of Public Works. The restoration of the Gunpowder Magazine is underway and, by engaging with partners and volunteers, invasive foliage at Ferry Island Fort cleared away. The St. George’s Foundation’s intent is to utilize Ferry Point Park as a classroom teaching history, architecture, geography and natural science. All these initiatives stem from the charitable mandate of the St. George’s Foundation, which is to support the UNESCO World Heritage Site through education, awareness and collaboration with those stakeholders as detailed in the most recent World Heritage Site Management Plan.

The Garden Club of Bermuda donated $10,000.00 to the St. George’s Foundation for the expansion of their education program, the clearing of invasive species and signage. Their education program involves all disciplines necessary for the preservation and conservation of these assets. In addition, the Garden Club has donated two benches, one overlooking the beautiful vista towards Castle Harbour and the second facing Lover’s Lake which is an inland marine pond and a natural habitat for wildlife, harbouring killifish which in turn attracts green herons.

Forts Manager of the Department of Parks Francine Trott said she is excited by the work taking place at Ferry Point Park thanks to the partnership with the St. George’s Foundation and the donation of funds and benches from the Garden Club of Bermuda. “Our UNESCO designated forts and parklands are an essential part of the island’s culture and environment. It is important they are cared for and appreciated.”

Board member and head of the Foundation’s Preservation and Working Group Peter Barrett said, “Work completed at the park will enable us to utilize it as our living classroom as we move forward with our education program and launch our summer camp in July of this year. I would like to thank the Department of Parks and the Garden Club of Bermuda for their support, as well as our members, donors, volunteers and collaborators who made this journey a success. The Foundation will turn its attention to other heritage sites, including Fort Victoria and Fort Albert, which are in need of urgent care”.

Ferry Point Park with its forts, railway trails, military fortifications, Whale Bone Bay, yellow fever cemeteries, nature reserve and limekiln is an expansive property well worth a visit.

February 2022

Agape House & Friends of Hospice

Pictured from left to right: Jan Macdonald, GC President – Carol Sims, GC 100th Anniversary Co-Chair and Jennifer Mahoney, Executive Director, Friends of Hospice.


Agape House first opened its doors in March 1991 as Bermuda’s only hospice facility.  The Garden Club of Bermuda contributed labour, plant material and money for the landscaping and the work continued in 1992 with the installation of a path around the house allowing easy access to the outdoors.  Two terraces and several seating areas were also constructed allowing for private retreats.  The Garden Club was awarded a trophy by the Government Environmental Awards Scheme for this work.

Thirty years later, The Garden Club is still invested in the project and delighted to assist with a donation of $10,000 towards the new Woodland Grove capital campaign being driven by Friends of Hospice.  The new location will offer its residents a more rural setting with ample open spaces and plenty of natural light.

Jennifer Mahoney, Executive Director stated “We are extremely grateful to have been selected as one of the ten charities to benefit from The Garden Club’s 100th Anniversary.  They have been fantastic partners and we look forward to working with them on new and exciting initiatives in the near future.”

January 2022

KBB Donation

Of the recent donation made by the Garden Club of Bermuda, Katie Berry, past Executive Director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful (KBB) said “On behalf of the KBB Board I would like to thank the members of the Garden Club for the wonderful donation of $10,000.

KBB was started by four incredible women; Phyllis West Harron, Janette Zuill, Dorothea King and Lady Gasgoigne, all Garden Club members who were alarmed by the arrival of the throw away culture in the 60s. Those concerns remain paramount today and if we are going to keep Bermuda beautiful not just on the outside but as a community we all need to care.

KBB needs all of us to do our part; we must look at how our waste is managed and recycled and make sure we are doing the right thing to preserve our island and ultimately the planet.
Thank you to the members of the Garden Club for recognising our work. KBB celebrates your organisation, your ongoing commitment to the community and your 100th Anniversary.”

Littering is a global issue not only on our shores but in the water that has been compounded by single use plastic. Last year KBB organized more than 200 cleanups and are very grateful for the assistance of volunteers. It also recently collaborated on a couple of initiatives, the “Beyond Plastic” campaign and the “Abandoned Boat” project and has already taken 27 boats out of the water which would otherwise have remained there.

The Garden Club of Bermuda is proud to support KBB endeavours.

November 2021

Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail

Most of the railway line which opened in 1931 and ran until 1948 is now a trail which is used by many locals and tourists alike, never more so these past few months with the pandemic.

In 2011, a group of companies and individuals formed the Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail. Their latest venture is the bridge at Flatts Inlet. The President, Dr. Tucker Murphy, a conservation biologist and a founding member calls it “A bridge into a garden”. It was designed and built of fiberglass in Pennsylvania by E.T. Techtonics (part of Creative Composites Group) and is the longest bridge of this nature in the world. The Garden Club of Bermuda was delighted to assist with this endeavour with a donation of $10,000.00. Preserving our heritage, connecting our island through trails which are safe for pedestrians and cyclists, giving everyone an escape from an urban lifestyle, encouraging discovery and promoting the health benefits associated with its usage are all aspects of the Club’s mission.

Fiberglass is strong, lightweight, mostly maintenance-free and can withstand our humid and salty climate. The colour of the bridge is a neutral green to blend in with the surrounding sea and vegetation and allow the natural beauty of the island to shine. To further enhance the experience, The Garden Club  also donatied some plants to revegetate the landscape at each end of the bridge as well as a couple of benches for one to sit and enjoy the tranquility of the trails. The Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail could not have carried out this project without the help of numerous others, including volunteers from a cross section of Bermuda, ranging from Walking and Garden Club members to families from the surrounding neighbourhoods to interested architects, retirees and even a few visitors.

Eve’s Pond Donation

The Garden Club of Bermuda was pleased to present Buy Back Bermuda (BBB) with a cheque for $10,000 to assist with the further restoration of Eve’s Pond.

BBB, a joint initiative by the Bermuda Audubon Society and the Bermuda National Trust, was formed in 2004 to save open spaces for the benefit of our wildlife and human health and promote well being.

The Pond which was acquired in 2008 saw work begin in 2019 to restore it as a public nature reserve but is still under construction. It had its grand opening in April of 2022 and will attract many waterfowl.

It is a very serene place and The Garden Club also donated a couple of benches “for the enjoyment of everyone, forever” as is the motto of BBB.

Jennifer Gray, Chair of BBB, said “We are incredibly grateful to be the recipient of a 100th anniversary gift from The Garden Club of Bermuda. This gift ensures we can complete the restoration of Eve’s Pond to a high standard. BBB continues to keep a careful watch over precious open spaces that are under threat of development and the generosity of people like you enable us to preserve more of our natural heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.”

October 2021

Sand Sculpture

Hannah Emmerson who for the past years has organized the sandcastle competitions at Horseshoe Beach very kindly created a sand sculpture in celebration of the Garden Club 100th Anniversary.

Sand sculpting is the oldest form of sculpting in the world, but it only became an art form during the 1970s in California and has since spread throughout the globe. Competitions and festivals are held each year attracting many visitors.

Hannah explained that there are different types of sand and that it can differ widely not only from one beach to another but along the same coastline. This is due to wave and tidal action and wind direction. Our lovely pink sand comes from a special type of coral called Foraminifera which grows out on the reef line. It is then broken down into smaller particles, either by wave erosion or parrotfish and mixed with other shells and coral to create the prettiest sand in the world.

Sand has many usages and because of its high demand notably in construction, the retrieval process raises concerns all over the world for our marine life and ecosystem.

Luckily for us in Bermuda, we can enjoy it and build sandcastles with it until the tide washes them away.

All photos taken by Hannah Emmerson

September 2021

To continue the celebration of The Garden Club of Bermuda’s 100th anniversary and also to mark Buy Back Bermuda’s restoration of Eve’s Pond, three of our members, Elizabeth Adderley, Sylvia Outerbridge and Sheila Semos created an installation for everybody to enjoy.

By foraging, they used mostly natural materials, including Palmetto Palm fronds and a variety of Crotons and Pleomele to build five “Pond Flowers”. Some recycled materials were incorporated to provide mechanics and enable the “flowers” to float on the pond.

It was our hope that this temporary display brought awareness to the importance of saving and preserving Bermuda’s open spaces for all to appreciate!

We encourage everyone to take a drive or walk along North Shore Road to Eve’s Pond in Hamilton Parish.

July 2021

Donation towards the Restoration of Verdmont

The Bermuda National Trust thanks the Garden Club of Bermuda for their generous gift for enhancements to Verdmont. The historic home is a national treasure of Bermuda’s built heritage. Like all old buildings, it costs a lot to maintain and keep open for the enjoyment and education of Bermuda residents and visitors, so we are deeply appreciative of their support. On behalf of the Trust, I offer warm congratulations to the Garden Club on their 100th anniversary and look forward to continuing the excellent relationship between our two organisations.

Karen Border, Executive Director, Bermuda National Trust

Jan Macdonald, President of The Garden Club of Bermuda said “We feel it is an extremely worthwhile project and we are delighted to support it with a gift of $10,000.

Missing from the photograph is Denise Ribaroff, the Garden Club representative, who has been very involved in the restoration of Verdmont.

Pictured from left to right: Rosemary Holmes, GC 100th Anniversary Co-Chair – Jackie Robinson, BNT Gardens Manager – Karen Border, BNT Executive Director – Randolph Joynes, BNT Property Manager and Jan Macdonald, GC President.

June 2021

Donation to the Bermuda Zoological Society


Trunk Island, a living classroom, educating tomorrow’s environmentalists is the aim of Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS). In order to achieve this goal, Trunk Island is undergoing a complete restoration; eradicating invasive flora, planting endemics, reforesting with Bermuda Cedars and conducting any other conservation based activities. A cottage has also been transformed into a functional classroom.

The Garden Club of Bermuda was pleased to support this worthwhile endeavour and, as part of its 100th anniversary, donated $10,000 to the BZS for their project on Trunk Island “Funding the Future”. We believe that this gift will make a difference to Bermuda, the students and future generations.

Colin Brown, President of the BZS said “We are very grateful to the Garden Club of Bermuda for recognizing our Living Classroom as a project worthy of support for their 100th Anniversary. This donation will be used to educate young people about Bermuda’s natural environment while also restoring Trunk Island to native and endemic forest.”

May 2021

Mini Float Challenge

The Garden Club‘s participation in the virtual Mini Float Challenge on May 28th, organized by the Department of Culture in collaboration with Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation, in celebration of Heritage Day. The theme was Bermudian Resilience.

The Garden Club of Bermuda sponsored the first Floral Pageant in 1950 and won a special prize for its floral float. It was an era where there was no virtual reality or social media. This float is a tribute to years gone by, a sign of strength and resilience as the Club celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year. The Garden Club’s entry was on display until May 27th in the Washington Mall Church Street entrance by Gibbons Home.

Flower Flash

As the Island moved to Phase 2 of the COVID pandemic restrictions, The Garden Club of Bermuda welcomed people back to the city of Hamilton with a delightful display of sunflowers, snapdragons and lilies. The lily is the logo of the Club and a symbol of hope and life which we trust will bring renewed energy and vitality to the community.

This work of art which was on display at the corner of Reid and Burnaby Streets was designed and created by our three new floral art judges: Anna Fulton, Sylvia Outerbridge and Karen Smith.

City CEO Dwayne Caines said: “It is our delight to be able to support the Garden Club of Bermuda by hosting their beautiful displays which are so vibrant and attractive. The last flower flash certainly had everyone talking! At the City of Hamilton, we are always open to community organizations looking to engage people in this way. I want to congratulate the Garden Club of Bermuda on their 100th anniversary and thank them for their continued philanthropic endeavors.”

The flowers were sourced from Nature’s Harvest Nursery, Amaral, Pacheco and Sons, Wadson’s and Windybank Farms.

April 2021

Care Home Easter Lily Donations

One of the missions of The Garden Club of Bermuda is the beautification of the island. Following the success of the Flower Flash we thought we would bring the joy indoors.

In homage to the staff and to bring delight to the residents, The Garden Club donated 100 bouquets of Easter Lilies to the various nursing and rest homes on the Island hoping to cheer everyone residing and working there.

The white lily is the logo of the Club and is the symbol of beauty, spirituality, hope and life so it is only fitting, given the abundance of these beautiful flowers at this time of year, that they should be chosen. We partnered with Pacheco and Sons Farm from whom we purchased the flowers and who very kindly helped us deliver the bunches to the homes.

Supporting the community, the essential workers, the elderly and the local farmers is something that The Garden Club of Bermuda has always strived towards and this latest initiative is in keeping with these objectives.

March 2021

Flower Flash

Nicky Gurret, one of our members, transformed the Birdcage in Hamilton into an explosion of flowers to not only celebrate the Club’s 100th anniversary and welcome spring, but more importantly to put a smile on people’s faces and to brighten and beautify their day. It’s also our way of acknowledging our front line workers and support the community. By sourcing the flowers locally, we are also helping our local farmers.

The Bermudian Magazine’s Spring Issue contained an article on page 28
about the history of The Garden Club of Bermuda as it celebrated its 100th Anniversary


100th Anniversary submissions by Sylvie Elliott

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