gcrfd past presidentsPHOTO: Left to right: Past Presidents Trish Sullivan and Jacqueline Nelson, Freeholder Lillian Burry, Middletown Historian Randall Gabrielan,  Little Red Schoolhouse Chair Carlene Gazire, current President Helen Yorke and Club Librarian Janet Steinberg.  Seated is Ldia Wikoff, a member since 1975.

MIDDLETOWN, NJ - As our 76th year of existence begins, we continue to be inspired by the eight women who, in 1941, decided to start a club to widen their knowledge and experience after participating in a church flower show. In that first year, there were 21 charter members who took part in a Rumson flower show and garnered 11 awards; a club that also planted a Victory Garden; preserved food; landscaped the grounds of the Holmdel Health Center and supported the Roadside Council of New Jersey.

The first president was Mrs. V. A. Johnston whose administration stretched from 1941-1946 and carried the club through World War II. Meetings were suspended in 1943 because of gas rationing and driving restrictions. They didn’t continue until 1946. However, Garden Club R.F.D. did survive, and, in 1947, the club became affiliated with the Garden Club of New Jersey and the National Council of State Garden Clubs. We are still a part of the Garden Club of New Jersey and the National Garden Club.

In 1954, R.F.D. accepted the offer of a dilapidated building that had been a one-room schoolhouse built in 1842. The group again persevered, brought the building back to life and by 1962 registered the Schoolhouse as a State Historic Site. In 1976, it was designated as a National Historic Site and, in 2016, an Open House was held at the Little Red Schoolhouse to celebrate our 75th Anniversary.

We were honored to have Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry with us as well as Randall Gabrielan, Historian for Midddletown, and author of several books about Middletown. Both were gracious enough to speak and present special proclamations to celebrate the accomplishments of the Club and its preservation efforts as well as give insights as to the development of the area of Middletown that surrounds the Schoolhouse.                                              

gcrfd hans langeveldPHOTO: Hans Langeveld will be the guest speaker on September 20

With meetings held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Little Red Schoolhouse, September will bring Hans Langeveld, co-owner of Longfield Gardens in Lakewood, to our Club to discuss “Bulbs” on September 20 at 10:30am. Hans grew up in Holland’s bulb-growing region and has been involved in horticulture his entire career. Join us to learn the how, which and why of bulbs before it is time to add them to our home gardens in October and November.

If you are interested in learning more about floral design and/or horticulture, join us for this meeting and more. Located in Middletown, members come from many surrounding communities including Holmdel, Monroe, Highlands, Red Bank, Freehold, Jackson, Tinton Falls and Rumson.

Contact our Membership Chair, Nancy Canade, at 973-452-4846 for more information.