Rockford Garden Club

Save seeds and plant a native prarie

September 20, 2012 // 0 Comments

The September meeting of the Rockford Garden Club, free and open to the public, will meet Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, Community Room, 159 Maple, in downtown Rockford. Ruth Oldenburg, an Advanced Master Gardener and Master Naturalist will speak on how to collect and save seeds from your garden and how to plant and maintain a native prairie. The meeting is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.  

$1,000 scholarship available

February 2, 2012 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Garden Club is offering a $1,000 scholarship to any local current graduating high school senior or recent graduate majoring in horticulture studies, landscape architecture, environmental science, conservatory management, organic farming or associated, related fields. A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to one student attending any college in the fall of 2012 and can be used for tuition and/or books. The scholarship is sent directly to the attending school. Applications are available at the Rockford High School guidance office or the club’s website at A short essay is required and application details are available on the website or by contacting Shelley at (616) 874-3196. The scholarship is open to all area graduates and recent graduates. Scholarship certificates will be awarded in May. The essay/application deadline is March 31, 2012. The Rockford Garden Club does not discriminate by race, color, religion or gender.

Indian chief cemetery mystery solved

September 15, 2011 // 0 Comments

The”mystery body” answer came from the Rockford Area Historical Museum, Pederson Funeral Home’s Dave Pederson and from Rockford’s’ Christine Marcus Stone. Questions of “Who and why?” are the norm as the Rockford Lions Club and the Rockford Garden Club bring this forgotten cemetery back to life. Hidden under brush and undergrowth are long-forgotten, broken and illegible headstones that once meant “the world” to their children and spouses. Stone was the instigator of the reburial of the Grand River Indian Tribe’s Chief Ogema. His skeleton was unearthed in 1974 during the construction of a home on Prospect Hill at the corner of Ramsdell and Ten Mile Road. Turned over to the police, the remains found their way into Pederson’s care after Michigan State University had determined they were of a Native American. Somehow the plans to rebury the chief came to the attention of Stone and she, a Navajo descendent, asked that his spirit be put to rest properly with traditional Native American burial rites. In the dark of the morning on April 30, 1975, Stone, Ross Morgan, a Mohawk, and John Bosin of the Kiowa people gathered in the basement of Pederson Funeral Home and wrapped Chief Ogema in a traditional Native American blanket along with their traditional “medicine.” Dave Pendelton and Father Cusak joined the trio in starting the ceremonial fire and watched as the traditional sunrise burial ceremony took place. Stone remembers her surprise at the large gathering of families and children who rose early on that frosty April morning to be part of this traditional rite. Prominent among the throng were Rockford legend Clarence Blakeslee and Homer Burch, who had both played a major part in the retrieval, burial and placement of the stone honoring Chief Ogema. In the ‘60s, the Daughters of the American Revolution determined that there were 119 graves in the cemetery starting with 1849 and ending in 1926. However, Pederson recalls that, up to about 25 years ago, he had handled the re-interment of three or four more similar Native American remains. So, the questions continue as the work continues to make the cemetery presentable. Perhaps, the biggest question is: “When finished, what do we want it to be?” It’s the community’s treasure. What do you want it […]

Gardeners and graves

August 25, 2011 // 0 Comments

On Friday evening, Aug. 19, Rockford Garden Club President Kathy Healy and members master gardener Nancy Hoovler, Dave Hoovler and Tom Healy assessed the progress of the Rockford Lions Club renovation of the old Pioneer Cemetery next to North Rockford Middle School on Division. To assure a proper landscaping of this historical site, the Garden Club graciously accepted the Lions’ request for their expertise in converting an eyesore into a treasure. Perfectly, the result would be the cemetery as it was originally. Unfortunately, there are missing records, pictures and memories. Comments of longtime Rockford residents Helen Hessler, Bob Gunnell and Lois Gunnell confirm that even in their childhood it was a neglected place with broken and scattered gravestones. Photos or illustrations of the cemetery in its original condition would be of great help in its restoration. Please dig out your old family albums, find great-grandpa’s gravesite and help us restore this treasure to its original beauty. The Rockford Lions have presently opened up a pleasant wooded hillside and valley. Taking this, the Garden Club is marking trees to keep or cut, identifying invasive species to remove, assuring the present carpet of myrtle is protected and developing a site plan that enhances the cemetery’s natural beauty. In the meantime, cutting continues, and free firewood is stacked in the west parking lot. Bring your own saw and join us between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

Garden club holds perennial plant sale, auction

May 12, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Garden Club’s major fundraising event of the year is a great time to stock up on quality plants. Garden club members sell their homegrown assortment of “garden goods” including perennials, native plants, ground covers, quality small bushes/shrubs, annuals, herbs, bulbs, and vines. Members will be on hand—many are master gardeners—to answer questions and assist with your gardening questions and selections. Funds earned from the plant sale go for community enhancement projects and student scholarships. Check out the new location, with easy parking, near the new Community Gardens—rain or shine. This year’s sale will be Saturday, May 21 at 350 N. Main Street, enter off Lewis Street. The sale begins at 9 a.m. with an auction of remaining plants beginning at 10:45.  

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