Since 1965 the Hudson Home and Garden Club (HH&GC) has been a place for locals to share common interests. Promoting the love of gardening, the club encourages the creation of beautiful spaces through public programs, events, community service opportunities and city-oriented projects.
“It is not just about pretty little flowers,” club member Janet Quinto says. “We are a group that is committed to what is required to make Hudson an even better town.”
Educating community members on how to enhance their own spaces from the inside out, the HH&GC hosts monthly meetings that feature an array of learning opportunities and exposure to new practices through speakers, activities and projects. Bringing in featured professionals to speak on their specialties, the club has welcomed local merchants, landscape professionals, environmentalists, botanists, interior designers, chefs and even self-care experts to speak on their specialties.
As the club celebrates its 60th anniversary this September, 12-year member and former 2020 club president Barb Peterson says that it is important to recognize how the group has evolved with the times since it was established. From a sociological perspective, Peterson says that at the time of the club’s conception, many of its original members were middle-aged empty nesters who still had vigorous interests and wanted a way to stay active in the community. Through a desire to promote environmental changes, cultural developments and traditional gardening in the area, the organization soon grew from just a few members to 25.
Since then, the club has grown to 65 members of both men and women from Hudson and surrounding communities like the village of North Hudson, St. Joe, Troy, Roberts, Afton, Stillwater and Woodbury. Though membership is mostly made up of retirees, Peterson emphasizes that anyone that has an affinity for gardening and the city of Hudson is welcome to join.
“We don’t ask for recognition; we just ask for members that want to join us and be a part of it to do what it is right for the city,” 12-year member Judy Platz says. “What a wonderful diverse group we are with our knowledge and concerns.”
Through a combination of member ideas and city initiatives, the club works to develop innovative solutions. One of its larger projects in Hudson are the 80 hanging baskets on lamp posts around town. Though the baskets are funded by the city, the HH&GC members are the creative minds behind them. Teaming up with Hudson Parks and Recreation, the club is responsible for the development of a design, from colors, plant types and placement. They also provide the labor to assemble them. Combining beauty with practicality, these baskets are unique in that they have reservoirs at the bottom to hold water for the plants. This design was essential in reducing the necessary frequency of watering since city crew only waters on weekdays.
“It is amazing what a small group of industrious [people] can do to make a little town sparkle,” Quinto says.
This past winter season, club members created decorative holiday orbs made from rounded metal strips with a vibrant ornament pendant, sprigs of pine and festive ribbon. In addition to their work of beautifying the walkways of Hudson, the HH&GC also regularly tends the local library’s garden.
The HH&GC relies on the support of member dues and fundraisers for its projects and educational programming. One of its largest fundraisers is the Hudson Calendars. Conceptualized and created by the HH&GC, these calendars showcase the unique beauty of Hudson and what it has to offer. “Many out-of-towners buy the calendar,
not so much because it is a calendar, but rather it has a bunch of beautiful pictures from the city that they visited,” Peterson says. “Almost like a souvenir.” Featuring 12 photos captured and submitted by locals, the calendars are sold in local businesses throughout Hudson, as well as the farmers market. Using the calendar as a way to support the talent of its community members, proceeds are split between the HH&GC and partnering businesses.
As for the future of the Hudson Home and Garden Club, current president Nancy Toll hopes to continue to grow the program and spread its mission.
“I would like to see this year as a year of possibilities and encourage individuals to get involved with volunteering because there are so many things that we can do,” she says. “I think that we need to let people realize that they are vital parts of the community and there are things that you can do to help, that you enjoy and doesn’t feel like a chore. It is a way to give back.”
HUDSON HOME AND GARDEN CLUB GRANTS
Promoting an interest in gardening, the HH&GC provides grants for those who want to contribute to the conservation of natural resources and the enhancement of their community through projects. Supporting ideas that are introduced by local residents, grants are available to communitybased organizations, nonprofits and educational programs. “The grant recipient should be in relation to our mission,” Toll says. “Beautifying and being a benefit to the environment while contributing a service to the local community.” Originally used as a resource for the Hudson School District, the HH&GC has since expanded its outreach to other surrounding areas to accommodate a more diverse member base.
Awarding twice a year for up to $250 for each project, the funding from these grants are sourced from the proceeds of the Hudson Calendars. “[The grants] are not huge, but they make things happen and are accessible,” Toll says. Considering these smaller grant amounts, Peterson says they often collaborate with other local organizations such as the Master Gardeners of St. Croix and Pierce County, to increase available funding and make a larger impact.
Past grant recipients include:
• E.P. Rock Elementary School garden
• Stained glass sculpture for Hudson Prairie Elementary School gardens
• First Presbyterian Church “Give it away” garden that works to support the local food shelf
• River Crest Elementary School’s Habitat Restoration Project
• The Eagle Scouts
• The St. Croix YMCA produce garden and educational programs
60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION EVENT
Check online for sheduled Hudson Home and Garden Club meeting dates, topics & speakers, as well as for updated information regarding a 60th anniversary celebration event currently planned for this fall.