The Sugar Creek Garden Club began in September 1971, with 39 members, home of a founding member, Ginnie Russell. A shared love of gardening brought the members together. But through the years the members have also reached out to the community in other ways, and our civic involvement makes the club unique.
In addition to programs on gardening, members began civic beautification. We landscaped an area at Lakeview Elementary School, began planting and maintaining flower beds on the esplanades in Sugar Creek,, and made holiday post bows for our subdivision. We also began sowing bluebonnet seeds along the Southwest Freeway, participated in litter control, and paper drives -- our first venture into recycling.
Our fund raising then began. We had an arts and crafts fair, published our first cookbook and began our Home and Garden Tour. We were able to make donations to the Richmond State school and the Fort Bend Association for Retarded Citizens, and awarded college scholarships to outstanding seniors at Dulles High School.
During the 1985-86 year the club received the Gold rating for the first time, and shortly thereafter began the Junior Garden Club. We donated time and money to the Ronald McDonald House, and established our club library at the Sugar Creek Homes Association.
By 1987-88 with a record 230 members, we continued a serious renovation of Searles Park with the purchase of tables and benches. The following year we participated in an all-county flower show, and the year after that we held our first Plant and Bulb Mart. The beginning of the 90’s also saw the start of recycling. Our club was the first in the county to see the need for recycling, and to do something about it. Within a year, a citywide recycling program had begun.
In our 20th Anniversary Celebration, we won numerous District and State awards for our projects, written history, and yearbook; and earned a Gold rating from TGC.
Our ‘94 -’95 year was highlighted by a visit to the Philadelphia Flower Show, with Elva Nelson.
In ‘95-96 we funded a storage shed to house the Christmas lamp- post bows. Also, a fountain was purchased for Searles Park.
We celebrated our 25th anniversary in ‘96-’97 with a reception for past presidents at our September meeting. Plans were also started for an anniversary cookbook.
During the year 1997-1998: the cookbook was finished and sold out in record time; we set a record for attendance and fund raising at the annual Friendship Tea; we staged our first Standard Flower Show in years; and we began participation in the City of Sugar Land’s Adopt-A-Spot program, by contracting to clean up Lonnie Green Park in Old Sugar Land.
1998-1999 highlights included participation in Sugar Land’s first community festival. The club planted a cedar tree in memory of past president Christine Pickard, and installed several benches around the subdivision. We designed two Butterfly Gardens at residential retirement communities, added the Brookwood Community to our volunteer programs, and increased donations and scholarships.
During 1999-2000 the Friendship Connection, was introduced to support members and their families in time of need. The popular Tea and Auctions continued to support our donations, including two scholarships to graduate students at Texas A&M University.
More benches were installed in our “Bench Community.”
In 2000-2001, the club focused on conservation and horticulture within our community, encouraging participation in gardening projects through our program and plant sales. The success of our fund-raising activities provided two $1,000 scholarships to A&M graduate students, and we continued to provide benches in the subdivision. We also helped create and develop a new neighborhood park.
In the club year 2001-2002. Judy Childress planned a meaningful Arbor Day memorial program, during which we planted a tree and placed a plaque to honor the victims of the 9/11 attack. We continued our donations and scholarships, adding $800 to the Katy Prairie Nature conservancy, and $260 to Keep Sugar Land Beautiful.
2002-2003 was the year that we donated $3,000 to the Homes Association to help with reflection pool renovation. We were able to award the usual scholarships to A&M graduate students, and to donate to the Jim Huff Community Garden. We also staged a beautiful Small Standard Flower Show..
Sugar Creek took on a festive holiday look during the 2003-2004, due to our focus on community beautification. The entrance was newly decorated and lighted in December, and all of the lamp posts were adorned with red bows. Our successful Tea and other fund raisers funded two scholarships to A&M graduate students.
Homes Association General Manager, Gary Sanford, was the speaker at the opening meeting of 2004-2005. It was a banner year for speakers, with Nancy Greig of the Butterfly Center, designer Daryl Gorsky, orchid specialist Lee Rowell, Maryanne Weber of the Houston Audubon Society, and columnist Brenda Beust Smith. We continued our community outreach projects, including awarding scholarships to graduate students at A&M, contributions to various charities and help with Sugar Creek parks and beautification.
The Garden Club Calendar always contains an amazing variety of programs, and 2005-2006 was no exception. We learned about gourds, ikebana, African wildlife - flora and fauna, landscape design and flower arranging. Our annual Friendship Tea and Auction brought in enough money to allow us to provide scholarships, as well as to support the Jim Huff Commmunity Garden and the Mamie George Library.
2006-2007 was the year to “Embrace Nature’s Gifts”, which we did by planting a large new oak at the subdivision entrance. Donations included a cash gift to the Jim Huff Memorial Community Garden and a Planet Earth Cart to Dulles Elementary School. Our Friendship Tea and Couples Dinner had a festive Mardi Gras Theme. The annual flower show, “Imagine,” ended the year with style.
What a year we had in 2007-2008! Our club sent several delegates “Flying High to Houston” to the State Convention. Sugar Creek’s front entrance was enhanced in December by new lights and decorations, with some expenses was funded by community donations. Our pilgrimage to Natchez, Mississippi, was such a success that we hope to repeat it someday. We added a plant exchange to our annual plant sale and bake sales. Our official club year ended with an unusually beautiful Flower Show and a trip in June to the Master Gardener’s Symposium in Victoria. We mourned the passing of our founding president, Lee Smith, in July.
Hurricane Ike was an unexpected beginning to our 2008-2009 year but we still held our Welcoming Coffee in September, with 18 previous presidents as special guests. We hosted the District Fall Convention at the Houston Garden Center in October
In 2009-2010, our excellent speakers included Gary and Kathy Adams Clarke, Joel Kempfer and Mary Kay Ellis. We made an overnight visit to the towns of Orange and Beaumont. We decorated the Houston Garden Center for the holidays. The club continued its Arbor Day tradition by planting a tree in Sugar Creek. The beautiful Standard Flower Show was titled “The Arts in Bloom.”
The highlight of our 2010-2011 year was the wonderful March trip to Fredericksburg. We had programs on horticulture, the environment, floral design and two workshops. Ruth Heikkila and Bonnie Steidley did designs, by invitation, for the Florescence Flower Show. We decorated the Houston Garden Center for a second year.
In 2012-2013, the programs were interesting; our day trips to Mercer Arboretum, and Arbor Gate Nursery in Tomball were inspirational, and our Brenham stay was wonderful, but the highlight of the year was the slideshow tribute to founding member Ginnie Russell that President Ann Price put together. Ginnie is this club’s inspiration! We funded our scholarships to A & M, and made a donation to Stephen F. Austin University.
In 2013-2014, we engaged a landscape designer to make a multiyear landscape plan for Sugar Creek, planting the first bed at the entrance behind the columns. We took day trips to Brenham for the Bluebonnet Club Tea & Home Tour and to Kemah-Seabrook.
We planted 4 more flower beds in 2014-2015. We made field trips to Fulshear and the Master Gardeners Demo Gardens in Rosenberg, and donated to SFA and A & M.
Several more beds were added in 2015-2016. The subdivision has never looked prettier. We enjoyed our day trips to Seabrook and Fulshear-Simonton. Programs included Dr. Creech from SFA. We donated two A&M scholarships and an Arbor Day tree for Sugar Creek.
2016-2017 saw trips to Tomball & Brookwood, programs including Kathy Adams Clark, and Prof. Bill McKenzie from Texas A&M, our 2 scholarships, another subdivision flowerbed and both a fall & spring plant sale.
Hurricane Harvey made for a soggy start in 2017-2018, but we rose above it and a hard freeze too, planting a new endcap on Broadmoor and replacing damaged plants, donating materials to decorate the Dew House in Missouri City for CASA, and donating 2 Arbor Day trees with the help of an anonymous donor. We donated 2 A&M scholarships and to the Huff Community Garden, and took day trips to Victoria and Simonton.
In 2018-2019 , we instituted the Backyard Garden Tour of five different lovely backyards, and for Arbor Day we donated a vitex to Sugar Creek. We also continued to add to the flower beds we have donated for the beautification of our subdivision.
2019-2020 started well with both our Annual Dinner/Live Auction and the Friendship Luncheon/Silent Auction huge successes. Our fall trip to HMNS Sugar Land was well attended, and we enjoyed our programs, particularly Chris Weisinger from the Southern Bulb and floral designer Tony Huffman. The pandemic brought the year to a premature end, but hopefully we will reschedule our spring speakers and trips for the future.
In spite of everything, we managed to hold our programs in 2020, had our May Board Luncheon, and our Backyard Garden Tour was a great success. Our virtual Annual Dinner Campaign was a fundraising genius, and we were able to replace plants lost to the great freeze and fund our scholarships and the other charities.
We celebrated our 50th year in September! Our big October "Nacho Ordinary" Dinner/Live Auction helped us meet all our charitable goals this year, including a "Mommy & Me" swing at David Searles Park and our scholarships, and we went to the Bayou Bend Gardens and Mercer Arboretum too.
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