(Visit About Us for additional history and information regarding Community Projects and Scholarships supported by Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club.)
CHRISTMAS COMMUNITY PROJECT
The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club sets aside a special workday each December for their community outreach. The Club plans and creates more
than 100 decorative plant arrangements, wreaths, and table arrangements for the Harrison Memorial Library. The Children's Library traditionally receives a live tree during the holiday season and a large arrangement for their new books counter.
HARRISON MEMORIAL LIBRARY GARDEN
Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club raised money for and implemented a new landscape plan and planting of the Harrison Memorial Library beginning in 2004.
After considerable months of the City approval process and successful fundraising, work began on the garden with completion and dedication in 2007. Walter Guthrie, a well-known landscape architect was commissioned to create a native and drought tolerant garden for this beautiful and historic Maybeck designed library building on Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Members continue to revise the garden plantings and contribute many volunteer hours and funds for the ongoing maintenance.
The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club, as one of their first community projects back in 1980, was to try to save the Piccadilly Nursery property on Dolores Street as open space and create a special garden area in its place. The Garden Club focused their efforts on getting the city of Carmel to buy the property and create a park. Work began with a "mini-park" and the city proceeded to expand it. Finally, the Garden Club was able to hire Walter Guthrie to create a design for the relandscaping of what is now Piccadilly Park.
Members continue to volunteer their time each month to help groom and maintain this lovely garden area in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
A major renovation of Piccadilly Park took place in early 2015. A beautiful
sign honoring the Garden Club founders, Jean Mitchell and Carol Stratton was placed in the garden upon completion.
It is a city jewel to be enjoyed by current and future generations of residents and visitors.
(Dedicating Piccadilly 2015 ~ Hallie Mitchell Dow & Diane Reid)
RIDDER GARDEN AT CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA CITY HALL
In August 2011 the Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club lost a valued member,
Constance Meach Ridder, to cancer. Prior to moving to Pebble Beach, she
had been a member of the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club and president
of the Governing Board of the Filoli Center in Woodside. After Connie's
passing, husband Tony Ridder contacted the Garden Club and expressed
his desire to create a garden in memory of Connie and wanted the
location to be in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Tony and a group of friends offered to donate funds for this purpose
and asked the Club to identify a suitable site and oversee the planning, governmental approvals and installation of the garden.
The Garden Club considered several possible sites but ultimately chose to renovate the garden at City Hall for this memorial project. The existing
garden had been neglected for some time and there was no irrigation
system and some of the infrastructure was in disrepair. The walkway
leading to council chambers and the administrative offices was
disintegrating. The wooden handrails were splintering and the retaining
wall at the parking lot was deteriorating. Existing trees on the small site,
which were to remain, presented constraints on a new design.
After an extensive review process, the Garden Club selected a professional landscape design which included new plantings that were primarily drought-tolerant natives, a new irrigation system, walkways, hand railings and a
patio with seating. Demolition began in May 2012 and construction was completed in October of that year.
In 2015, the Constance Meach Ridder Garden at City Hall was accepted
into the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian.
CARMEL NORTH DUNES HABITAT RESTORATION
In 2013 the Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club, as one of 200 member clubs of the Garden Club of America, celebrated the centennial of GCA. Each club launched a Centennial Tree Project in its own community, designed to “preserve, restore, propagate and honor important trees in their respective regions."
For the Centennial Tree Project it was decided to honor the historic, windswept cypress lying on its side at the top of Carmel Beach near the busy intersection of Ocean Avenue and San Antonio Street. The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club proposed to the city that the Club adopt that area of the beach, which is so visible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and restore the dunes to correct a century of human disturbance which had greatly altered their natural state. A total of $35,000 was raised for the project by fundraising and countless volunteer hours.
Working with landscape architects and a dunes restoration biologist, the Club obtained approvals from local commissions and boards as well as the California Coastal Commission. Careful planning was required to protect the dunes whichare classified as an environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA), and includeendangered species and species of special concern in the State of California.
The goal of the restoration project, which began in 2009, was to try to recreate a self-sustaining natural dune ecosystem with thriving populations of native species, eliminate invasive non-native plants, and provide safe visitor access for scenic enjoyment of the beach.
The original dune scrub would have included low-growing non-woody plants
and shrubs adapted to fog, shifting sands, wind and salt. A larger forest once edged the area with trees such as Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata). The cypress lying on its side in the distance suggests the heritage of trees at home near the ocean and was the focal point of our 2013 Centennial Tree Project.
The Club continues to have workdays on the dunes to keep the weeds and tenacious invasive plants at bay. The protective fencing will stay in place until 2017, at which point the dunes should look the way they looked one hundred years ago. There is now an interpretive sign at the site, and a small patio area at the corner of Ocean Avenue and San Antonio Street with three benches made of old logs, each sitting on a stone base. Tourists and locals alike seem to enjoy stopping and resting at this spot with its glorious views of world famous, pristine Carmel Beach.