Nancy's Note

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud became greater than the risk that it took to bloom.” Anasis Nin

Spring is a time to try new seeds, vegetables, and plants.  We spend the winter pouring over catalogs and websites admiring the new varieties or the expanded offerings of natives. In addition, our many MGC state volunteers make time to not only plan their gardens but also to work together to create an incredible spring for all of us! A big thank you to every one of them!

MGC’s 2024 spring is unfolding with all kinds of opportunities to Grow, Share and Connect! Flower Show School, Environmental School and Landscape Design schools are being held in April. Spring District Meetings across the state bring wonderful programs and friendship! Then as spring winds its way into summer the MGC 2024 Annual Conference in Bay City “Smitten with the Mitten” entices us with a river boat cruise, a nature walk, shopping, a make-and-take floral design activity followed by a day of learning about water -one of Michigan’s most precious resources!

So, it is time to take a risk and bloom with us; join us at a School, a District Meeting or the Annual Conference. Gardeners are an amazing and wonderful group who celebrate the arrival and the joys of spring better than anyone else I know!

Nancy J. Ryan

MGC President

[email protected]

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"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's Party!'" - Robin Williams

The MGC, Inc. Mission

is to provide leadership, education, resources, and network opportunities for its members to promote the love of gardening, floral and landscape design, civic, and environmental responsibility.


Click links below

Environmental School Course 4

Landscape Design Course 1

Upcoming Events Calendar

March 2024

18 District 6 Presidents Mtg 10 AM Zoom

18 District 3A Presidents Mtg 4 PM Zoom

19 District 4 Presidents Mtg 2 PM Zoom

20 D2B Steering Committee & Presidents

Mtg 3:30 PM Zoom

21 District 2A Presidents Mtg 1 PM Zoom

April 2024

8 Member Meeting Gardening with Purpose

6 PM Zoom

9 Flower Show Procedures 9 AM Zoom

10 District 4 Spring Meeting

11 Bd of Directors Meeting 10 AM Zoom

12-13 Environmental School 8 AM Manistee

17-18 Landscape Design School 6 PM

18 Our Native Community 4:30 PM Gladwin

23 D5 Presidents' Meeting 10 AM Zoom

24 District 1 Spring Meeting 9:30 AM Pleasant


26 District 2A Spring Meeting

May 2024

1 Spring Gate Newsletter Deadline

9 District 3B Spring Meeting

14 District 4 Presidents Meeting 2 PM Zoom

16 Junior League Flower Show 4PM St Clair Shores

20 D3A Spring Meeting 9:30 AM Kalamazoo

23 District 2A Presidents Mtg 1PM

25 Charlevoix Area GC Plant Sale 8 AM

June 2024

1 Port Sanilac Garden Walk & Marketplace 10 AM

2 Midland Garden Council Gold Star Memorial Dedication 2 PM

2-5 NGC 2024 Annua Convention

4 District 5 Presidents Mtg 10 AM

10-11 MGC 2024 Annual Conference

Save The Date

MGC 94th Annual Conference

June 10-11, 2024

DoubleTree Hotel on the Riverfront,

Bay City, Michigan

Registration Opens: Early April, 2024

Monday - Reception w/cash bar and appetizer & Dinner Buffet ....$50.00 

  • additional activities available

Tuesday - Conference Only ......... $95 

  • includes breakfast and lunch, shopping, speakers and more  

Both Days ...............$140

Sneak Peek Here

Facebook Groups

These are private groups

– you will need to request to join

(after answering 3 entry questions)

Private - Only members can see who's in the group and what they post.

This is a place for Michigan Garden Club members to connect with members across the state who share an interest in garden related arts and crafts. Share a picture of your favorite garden art ... that’s great! Share ideas and ‘how to’, even better! Let’s see how creative we all can be! Click links below!

Artistic Crafts Group

Floral Design Group

Photography Group

Edibles Group

Growing Native Plants Group

Horticulture/Arboriculture Group

Michigan Garden Clubs Black Swallowtail Group

Article Submission Guidelines

We look forward to receiving your submissions and can't wait to hear from many of you again!

View our requirements here

Please keep your news “short and snappy” for our readers enjoyment. Try to limit the word count to no more than 400. Hey, we know it may be difficult, however your efforts will cut down on our editing out something you feel is important.

Thank you! Newsletter Editoral Team - Carol Lauffer, Terry Such, and Nancy Ryan



District 6 is Hosting Our 2024 Annual Conference!

D6 [email protected]

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The Little Garden Club of Midland on January 11th hosted a delightful Ikebana Demonstration by Judy Takako Thomas, an Ikebana expert of the Misho school and Masumi Azu, Executive Director of the Japanese Cultural Center was a guest speaker.

The Midland Garden Council is dedicating a Gold Star Memorial to be placed on Sunday June 2, 2024, at the Dow Diamond baseball stadium. The five clubs that form the council are working to make it a special and moving event. Read more...

D1 [email protected]

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It is the end of January; the days are getting longer and sunnier and I think I have Spring fever. The District 1 Spring Leadership Conference will be Wednesday April 24, at the Pleasant Ridge Community Center. Pleasant Ridge Garden Club President Mary Anne Stella and her committee are working hard on organizing it.

I recently attended their January Membership meeting and was amazed to learn how much 29 members can accomplish. They have 9 monthly meetings and 9 Board Meetings, a Junior Garden Club Read more...  

D2A [email protected]

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District 2A will have their Spring Leadership Meeting at Hidden Lake Gardens on April 26 with Swan Creek, our host club. We had a great time in small groups last year and look forward to seeing everyone again this spring.

Ann Arbor Garden Club is coordinating with three clubs to share a speaker on mushrooms from Dawn Farms in March. Contact info: [email protected]

Neighborhood Garden Club is designing and planning a flower bed at Ash Township Hall. 

Eden Garden Club is working at Dorsch Library, planting flowers for the Blue Star Memorial gardens. Members plan to visit the Orchid display at Toledo Zoo. Read more...

D2B [email protected]

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In December, District 2B hosted the Holly Jolly Youth Flower Show in Okemos, MI. From petite, standard, and large arrangements to gift wrapping and horticulture, the show was a success thanks to the hard work of the 2B Designers.

In January some clubs were busy taking down holiday decorations in their gardens and adding a bit of Valentine designs adding color to the gardens before planning for the spring beautification efforts. Read more...

D3A [email protected]

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We sre looking forward to spring, searching for speakers and activities, to make next year special and exciting. Preparation for fun day on May 20 at the Kalamazoo Nature Center for our Spring Leadership Meeting has been the focus for many.

Jeanette Meyer Western Hills, Garden club, fell and broke her hip. Cards would be nice. Denise Clegg had shoulder surgery and is recovering.

The NGC Schools offered this year is on the Michigan Garden Club's website. Please take time to check it out and attend.  It takes a lot of work to organize all of these schools so take advantage of the education being offered.

Looks like the weather is going to be warmer than normal, so get those gardens going!

D3B [email protected]

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The New District 3B is up and running! Peg Cullen is the District Director and Tina Sarantos is the new District Treasurer. Plans are in the works for the Spring District meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for May 6 at Sarett Nature Center in Benton Harbor. There will be a speaker from the Nature Center, lunch, and time for all members to mix and mingle as they tour the Center. This is the start of a great district!

D4 [email protected]

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Congratulations to Rockford GC as they celebrate 100 years.

The D4 Spring meeting, April 10, will be hosted by Big Rapids GC. The chosen theme is “Protecting Mother Earth”.

District representative, Sue Levy from Dirt Dauber GC is working with fellow district representatives, President, Nancy Ryan, and Committee Chair Deborah Glasstetter to establish the best methods to promote ‘Gardening with a Purpose" within our District. Read more...

D5 [email protected]

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Edelweiss Garden Club of Gaylord organized a successful Christmas Gnome Workshop as their year’s Garden Club finale!  In folklore, these charming beings have a long history of being garden helpers and nature’s protectors.

The Friendly Garden Club unveiled a new website: thefriendlygardenclub.org. The members only section is password protected. The 100-year anniversary video is available on the Home page at the bottom where you see “video." Yearbooks are now online and will no longer be printed. Welcome to the future! Read more...

MGC Current Projects

Gardening With Purpose!

The MGC Project that shares our harvest!

We are working hard to create a directory of food pantries and kitchens and we need your helpIf your club already has a partnership with a provider of produce and fruits, we would like to include them in our directory! Then other clubs can join you to share their bounty!

Please contact district members on our Gardening for Purpose committee and provide the information to them!

District 1 Pat McLamore

District 2A Marie Eisemann

District 2B Nola Hogge District 3A Carol Berg

District 3B Brenda McKey

District 4 Sue Levy

District 5 Bonnie Garbrecht

Beth Rosenthal

District 6 Debbie Glasstetter

& Chair

p[email protected]

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Save the Date

Member Meeting on April 8, 2024, at 6 PM to kick off the year of Gardening with Purpose!

MGC Ongoing Projects

Click each below to read more

MGC Club News

Featured Club:

Rockford Garden Club District 4

This year Rockford Garden Club is celebrating their 100-year anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, the club has organized a yearlong schedule of gardening programs for the community. Eighteen different events or programs ranging from garden tours of members' homes to programs like Veggie & Herb Backyard Gardening to Frost and Winter Ice -Texture in your Winter Garden are planned! Read more...

District 6 Welcomes a New Club!

"Commons Garden Angels Garden Club"

The Commons Garden Angels Garden Club is in Mundy. They have twelve members. Though just beginning as a MGC garden club, they have been working as a group doing mighty things in Mundy Township. Their President is Kim Krease.

They have been working along with Mundy Township and the Parks & Rec Department to develop a 100-acre handicapped accessible park. The park is named Mundy Miracle Commons, and it is the largest handicap accessible park in Michigan! Read more...

Club Best Practices Award Winner

Category: Streamlining Specific Leadership Positions

The DeWitt Millennium Garden Club was founded in of course in 2000 (note the name). The club attracted members working outside the home so filling leadership positions soon became a challenge. Led by founding Club President Nancy Bachus the club changed their bylaws in 2022 to allow for co-Presidents and co-Vice Presidents.

Since 2002, the club has had co-Presidents and co-Vice Presidents. The terms are one year and on occasion a co-President has remained and been joined by a new co-President. The co-Presidents may also be elected for another term. Read more...

Gardening & Environment

The Dark Side of Perennials: 2024

Dark leaved plants make a dramatic statement in the garden, all the better if they have some ‘flower power’.

Here are a few newer ‘dark’ varieties to try for 2024.

Hibiscus ‘Edge of Night’

Compact, 3-3 ½’ tall`, with bubble gum pink flowers and jet-black foliage. Grows in zones 4-9, is a North American cultivar, attracts hummingbirds, is bee friendly and deer resistant. Read more...

Pam Cater, MGC Horticultural and Arboricultural Advisor

Spring Forward and Leave Peat Behind Submitted by Nancy Ryan

In the 1960s soilless material became a staple used by nurseries and garden centers. Peat, the primary component, provides air for the roots while holding water and nutrients (up to twenty times its weight). For many of us buying those bags of soilless material for our containers is on our spring shopping list.

But peat is a precious non-renewable resource. Peat forms in bog ecosystems which cover only 3% of the earth’s surface. Living sphagnum moss is key as it sinks in the water and gradually decomposes in the water along with dead and decaying plants slowly accumulating into peat. This process takes time -1000 years to create one meter of peat.


Source: Looking Beyond Peat by Gail Hudson [The American Gardener Magazine, January/February 2024]

Organizational News

In Memoria

Pam Cater’s obituary states that she was called away from her gardens to assist the Grand Master Gardener on February 18, 2024. While the Grand Master Gardener now has one of the most knowledgeable gardeners in Michigan Garden Clubs, we have lost a truly wonderful Master Gardener Extraordinaire!

As the MGC Horticultural and Arboricultural Advisor, Pam provided thoroughly researched articles for Thru the Garden Gate and for the MGC Engagement Calander. Her experience overseeing the MSU sponsored Integrated Pest Management program of West Michigan for three years, owning a fruit consulting business in New York, and then owning Hiddengrove Greenhouse and Nursery for 22 years gave her a unique set of horticultural experiences and a limitless knowledge and enthusiasm for all things horticulture.

Tri-Cities Garden Club was fortunate to have Pam as a member. Read more...

MGC Scholarship Update

Thank you to all the clubs and individuals who have donated to the MGC scholarship fund. Your generosity is what makes this important project possible. We have now raised $15,606 almost 89% of our total goal of $18,000.

MGC has had a very busy scholarship season. Twenty-one students from Michigan’s 15 public universities have received $30,000 worth of scholarships this 2023-2024 scholarship season. All of these students were asked to apply for the National Garden Club Scholarship worth up to $4000 and many of them applied. Read more...

The MGC Scholarship committee met in February to select one of these students to represent Michigan for the NGC scholarship. These students are so exceptional that it is difficult to choose only one.

District Donations

District I

Brighton Michigan Garden Club

Taylor Garden Club

District 2A

Neighborhood Garden Club  

District 2B

The Garden Club of Greater Lansing

District 3A

Kalamazoo Garden Club

Portage Garden Club

Indian Hills Garden Club

Petal Pushers Garden Club

District 3B

South Haven Garden Club

District 5

Mason County Garden Club

Elk Rapids Garden Club

Individual Donations

Ms. Cheryl Weeks-Rosten

Mr. Dennis Brubaker

David and Deborah Robbins

W. Mateusiak & P. Gunkler

Nancy Ryan

Jaqueline Arrowsmith

Mr. & Mrs. R. Grinnell         

Congratulations to our

Flower Show School Students!

With the first course completed and many of the students opting to take the Course 1 exams, Michigan is off to a good start as we work hard to replenish our number of Flower Show judges! This is wonderful timing as the interest in holding Flower Shows is increasing!

The Michigan Association of Accredited Judges Committee (MAAJ) is working with State Flower Show School Chair and former MGC President Carol Brodbeck and Local Chairs Rita Crawley and Debbie Emmons to identify mentors for each student. Thank you to those who have volunteered to be mentors! 

2023 Central Region Award Winners!

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  • Award #1 Partnering with Youth in Planting America  

Meridian Garden Club Inc-Okemos, MI

  • Award #2 Planting Community Gardens            

The Friendly Garden Club of Traverse City-Traverse City, MI

  • Award #4 Healing Gardens                     

Hillsdale Garden Club-Jonesville, MI

  • Award #10 Sharing CR Talents in VOB Calendar     

(Tied) Michigan and Missouri

  • Award #11 Honoring Veterans – Blue & Gold Star  

Meridian Garden Club Inc-Okemos, MI

Youth Contest Award Winners

Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Poster Contest

Thank you, Martha Rohr, for another year as Chair of the Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Poster Contest. Martha reports: “We had 6 different districts that participated. There were 9 clubs this year. This included public schools, private schools, girl scouts and home schooled (through a library program). So far, I have about 635 students participating but am waiting on 3 clubs to supply correct information.” See all winners ...

2023-2024 Youth Sculpture Contest

A big thank you to Carol McGregor 2nd VP Civic Affairs for stepping in to be the MGC Youth Sculpture Contest Advisor with behind-the-scenes guidance from Julie Tews (Mason County GC) and Kathy Sauber District 6 Director.

Congratulations to our sponsoring clubs and winners, now onto Central Region!!! now See more

NGC Schools Update

Each of the School Chairs and Committee Chairs forming the education team have been working hard to produce a course in 2024. Environmental, Flower Show and Landscape Design Schools,


MCC members judged many Garden Walk and Environmental Award nominations this year for the award of $150 in each size classification. This was the first year the Council has judged the Environmental Award of Merit and several candidate clubs Read more... 


Denise Clegg, MGC Third Vice-President, Schools & Education and Gardening School Chair [email protected]

MGC Grow and Share Grant Update

Listed below are the Michigan Garden Club Grow & Share Grants recipients for 2023. Plant America & Share Small Grant Program Application, Guidelines, Directions, and final report forms are available in the member area under Club Grant Programs in the Member Area migardenclubs.org. Please consider applying for a grant for your next project.