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Local gardening club has been growing for nearly 80 years

CARLSBAD — Local gardening traditions are experiencing new life as members of the Carlsbad Garden Club — now in its 79th year — modernize programs and work to jumpstart others around North County.
More than 50 Carlsbad residents currently participate in the garden club, with roots dating back to 1932 and whose mission is to promote a “knowledge and love of gardening among amateurs.”
“What we’re trying to do with the Carlsbad Garden Club’s image is to modernize it and make it new to the community,” club president Gretchen Ashton said. “We want new members of different ages and backgrounds.”
Most recently, members of the garden club have teamed up with local nonprofit groups in an effort to promote and plant more community gardens throughout Carlsbad. There is currently one community garden that has a two-year waiting list, Ashton said.
“The city itself is a community garden,” Ashton said. “Our garden club has been involved with the city since way back when and we have planted trees at the library and in parks; now we’re working toward getting more community gardens in Carlsbad.”
Ashton noted that while no firm plans have been set, the newly formed Carlsbad Community Gardens Committee is exploring temporary garden options as members work to establish additional partnerships and write grants.
“We’ve been looking at different planter boxes and areas of land that would work well as temporary gardens,” she said. “We’re also supporting other group gardens by donating supplies to schools and the Rancho Carlsbad and Boys & Girls Club gardens.”
In addition to this new endeavor, current Carlsbad Garden Club members are staying true to the group’s roots by maintaining original club traditions established decades ago.
Members have fostered a longstanding relationship with Camp Pendleton dating back to the 1950s. Through projects like Petals for Patriots, members from North County garden clubs design floral arrangements for wounded warriors on base.
“Throughout the years, we’ve always had strong ties with the military,” Ashton said. “In the 1960s, the club donated seeds and supplies to ‘guys in the brig’ and delivered wreaths to injured soldiers at the naval hospital.”
Since the 1970s, club members have hosted annual plant sales and holiday auctions to raise scholarship funds. Scholarships are awarded to Carlsbad’s high school students and others at MiraCosta College pursuing a degree in horticulture.
“We want to keep doing this,” Ashton said. “We want to make the old new again and I hope that more people will become interested in the Garden Club and what we do.”
For more information about the Carlsbad Garden Clubs and its initiative to establish community gardens, visit or e-mail [email protected].