The Council of Albuquerque Garden Clubs, Inc., is a non-profit organization that was formed in 1950. Its purpose is to:
- provide educational courses and activities on gardening to the general public
- provide gardening guidance and assistance for community beautification projects
- encourage good gardening in the Albuquerque metropolitan area
- and promote the formation of new garden clubs and plant societies.
Garden Center BuildingThe Council built, owns and operates the Albuquerque Garden Center, located at 10120 Lomas Boulevard (just west of the Eubank and Lomas intersection) in Los Altos Park. The Albuquerque Garden Center is reputed to be one-of-a-kind in the U.S. Generally garden centers are owned and operated by the local government.
The Center houses one of New Mexico’s more extensive horticultural libraries, the Master Gardener Hotline for gardening questions, and contains meeting rooms for classes and workshops. Garden Center grounds were renovated in 2003 creating a series of demonstration gardens that can be visited by Albuquerque residents to see what and how to plant in the Albuquerque area. They include native plant, daylily, rose, cactus, and perennial gardens. There is also a Children's Garden with a Japanese pavilion.
Flower ShowsEach year the Council is primarily responsible for organizing and staging the New Mexico State Fair Flower Shows. There are usually six shows, plus special educational exhibits and demonstrations. To encourage good gardening.
in June of each year, the Council sponsors a competitive, judged flower show at the Garden Center, open to anyone who would like to enter and exhibit.
Fundraising ActivitiesThe Council and the Garden Center are sustained by monetary donations, fund-raising activities, and the generous donation of time and labor of its members as volunteers. Fund-raising activities include a Rummage Sale (February), a Spring Plant Sale (April) with lots of tomato transplants, a Garden Tour(May), a Harvest Fair (October) and a Holiday Fair (December). The Jause (yowsa) in early May is a tea where hats and gloves (or not) are welcome. Share the Beauty Day (June)allows us to make small flower arrangements to be given to seniors in various local care facilities.
Funds are also raised through sales from the Garden Shop which features an extensive line of gardening supplies, tools, books and gifts.
Generally, most fund-raising events are accompanied by educational presentations on gardening, and usually are free to the public.
The Council accomplishes all of this with volunteer labor donated by Council members.
For the State Fair flower shows alone, the Council assembles and supervises up to a 300-person, volunteer, temporary work force, that is drawn from its own membership. They organize and manage the shows and exhibits; setup the building; setup and take-down each flower show; process, classify, and display entries; and assist entrants and flower show judges. Each of the annual fund-raising events requires from 25-100 volunteers.
The Garden Shop is managed and staffed by volunteers year round. Many hard to find garden items are carried in the shop or ask for a special order when you can't find merchandise locally.
Each of these clubs is a non-profit organization and each has its own specific community service goals and purposes. Many of them contribute in their own right to the community by providing specialized services such as: operating demonstration gardens; establishing and maintaining gardens at city facilities; providing plants and flowers to shut-ins and the elderly; assisting and instructing disabled persons on gardening; operating experimental gardens and native plant release programs; providing speakers and coordinating seed programs in Albuquerque Public Schools and 4H Clubs.
The Council enjoys a varied membership, but it is interesting to note that the greatest majority of Council members are 55 years of age or older, ranging into their 90's. They set a remarkable pace and are an outstanding example of what can be accomplished with an unselfish attitude and a belief in community service. Their accomplishments and contributions, while noteworthy, are little noticed by the public and public officials, making the Council and its activities, one of Albuquerque’s best-kept, “good-news” secrets.