A Brief History of the Eureka Sequoia Garden Club
Early in 1967 four Eureka residents met resulting in an invitation that appeared in the February 3, 1967, newspaper for all interested persons to meet at the YWCA for the purpose of establishing a permanent organization to create, promote, and increase interest in amateur gardening. The meeting was well attended and began the creation of an organization, the “Sequoia Garden Club.” The Club was accepted as a member of California Garden Clubs, Inc., in May 1967. “Eureka” was later added to the name. The Eureka Sequoia Garden Club’s corporate charter for incorporation in the state of California and the IRS, 501(c)(4) non-profit application were both filed in March 1977. The Club was affiliated with the Save the Redwoods League.
Since then, exciting activities and projects have involved Club members in a variety of ways. Over the years Arbor Day trees have been planted at Sequoia Park in the Zoo, Duck Pond and Gardens, at the Eureka Water Treatment Plant (across from Sequoia Park Zoo), Carson Memorial Building patio, Senior Resource Center, at the Adorni Center, local churches, schools and other sites. Each year in March or April another site receives our attention with a new tree. Houseplants were delivered to the Eureka City School’s classrooms and other special youth group projects done.
Since 2008, in cooperation with the Eureka Old Town Main Street District, hanging baskets of petunias and lobelia help beautify Eureka’s Old Town from June to September. Efforts by the Club to beautify Redwood Acres Fairground were successful by creating benches with planter boxes filled with colorful summer flowers for many years. Participation in local events and activities with displays about Eureka Sequoia Garden Club and educational subjects such as birds, butterflies, plants and garden design continue to be part of our activities.
Our meetings are always opportunities for learning, gathering and serving. Programs ranged from gardening, design, the natural world, the environment, local history, arts, crafts, etc. Workshops and hands on activities like wreath making, bird carving, etc., satisfy club members interests and reveal hidden talents and so are included in our meetings and community activities.
Meetings have been promoted to the community by preparing press releases before each meeting, inviting the public to attend and through our newsletter. Informative club newsletters won many CGCI awards at state conventions. Our current newsletter, THE SEQUOIA, continues to do so as well as keeping Club members informed and connected.
Floral design classes have been offered before each regular meeting since 1981. These classes encourage members to prepare arrangements to enter the Redwood Acres Fair, Humboldt County Fair, Fortuna Daffodil Show and the Southern Humboldt Flower Show with many of our members becoming show winners. In 2016, our Bottles and Bloom Flower Show was started with members bringing in a variety of blooms, stems and arrangements for a non-judged show. It has been a welcome opportunity and an enjoyable event for any member to share their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with the rest of us.
Over the years, Eureka Sequoia Garden Club has remembered that it is a part of a greater community. Some parts of our community are less able to garden or enjoy plants as many of us in garden club can. So, we have tried to provide a variety of activities and opportunities like floral arrangements and garden therapy materials and activities for those that need a little gardening in their lives. We try to bring the joys of flowers, plants and gardening to them.
It is also important for us to acknowledge another very special part of our community for their service by expressing our gratitude and support. Eureka Sequoia Garden Club dedicated a Blue Star Memorial By-way Marker on November 11, 1995. It will always be a beautiful reminder of the debt we owe to those who have served, are serving and will serve. It is part of a greater network of Blue Star Memorial Markers in our Humboldt County. The restoration of those markers to their original lustre is in the works with the support of the ESGC and other local district garden clubs.
Supporting public or community based projects that encourage plants, gardens, preservation, conservation, etc., by ESGC have included the Humboldt Botanical Garden, The Sequoia Park Zoo and the Stagecoach Azalea Reserve.
In 1991, the concept of creating a Botanical Garden was established. ESGC was an early and continuing supporter of the project.
Recently, club members have become involved in helping at the Sequoia Park Zoo. ESGC continues to support the Zoo’s developing native plant gardens. That work continues into 2020 with a dedicated ESGC team that meets once a week to help maintain those gardens.
At the CGCI Fall Board Meeting in 1977, held in Eureka, the organization voted to support California State Parks Foundation’s efforts to establish an Azalea Preserve of nearly 100 acres on Stagecoach Hill, between Big Lagoon and Dry Lagoon State Parks, east of Highway 101. ESGC purchased a “Deed to the Azalea Preserve” during the fund raising campaign. In 1984, the Stagecoach Hill Azalea Preserve was added to Big Lagoon State Park by the California State Parks Foundation. ESGC helped to preserve this Humboldt County world famous azalea collection and assisted with the June 2, 1984 dedication. ESGC continued to support that project as it transitioned to a part of the
State Parks systems in 2019. Trail systems and more accessibility were goals to be sought as we could all look forward to more opportunities to enjoy one of California’s plant treasures.
In 2012, a front yard landscape design contest was begun and “ Garden Jewels on H Street” was the first street honored, with certificates presented to the owners at the club meeting. A full-page newspaper article with pictures showing all of the homes was published. Front yards on other streets continue to be honored throughout Eureka. CGCI recognition was also received for the program and our community has embraced it. Neighbors and neighborhoods have come alive in gardening hoping to be recognized. Although that program is on hiatus until we can mingle more freely again, we honored our own member gardens, Member Jewels, in our 2020 yearbook. We are proud of our yearbook which every member receives. It continues as a wonderful reflection and a valued resource of our club each year.
As the years continued, ESGC and its members supported and worked with the Eureka Wellness Rehabilitation Center to enhance and maintain the gardens that its clients could enjoy during their stay. As we all know, plants and gardens contribute to better physical and mental health especially during recovery. We have also been fortunate to partner with other community organizations like the Rotary Club of Arcata, Pierson’s Garden Center, Miller Farms Nursery, Hospice and Penisula School to bring trees and seeds to gardening endeavors for Arbor Day celebrations and new gardens to be used for teaching and food programs.
The year 2020 brought new challenges as we faced a pandemic that endangered the health, livelihoods and well being of ourselves, our families and our neighbors. Our activities were severely restricted with no gatherings possible and no public activities permitted. By the time of lock down, our Arbor Day plantings at Hospice and Penisula School were behind us. A year later, we are managing those Arbor Day celebrations again in 2021 with few of us in attendance and masks on our faces. But challenged, Eureka Sequoia Garden Club answered with virtual electronic meetings, programs and workshops to stay connected throughout 2020 and now 2021. A Secret Buddy outreach for keeping members connected and active bring a bit of fun to compensate for our missed meetings and gatherings every month.
As each year unfolds, Eureka Sequoia Garden Club continues to seek and implement the ideas that support further education, participation and support of the benefits of gardens, gardening, plants and people in their community. There is a wealth of knowledge, energy and purpose in continuing our programs and activities from each current member. We welcome new members and their contributions to continuing the history of the Eureka Sequoia Garden Club.