Established in 1957 with the aim to beautify Cayman while promoting an interest in and knowledge of gardening, the Garden Club of Grand Cayman continues to transform the natural environment into retreats of repose and educate the keen gardeners of the Cayman Islands in all things flora.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary earlier this year, the Garden Club has certainly weathered many storms and withstood the test of time.
“It is the enthusiasm of members and their love for gardening that keeps the club going from year to year,” says Ora Hollebon, the club’s president. “There were times when the club hit low points, but it has always bounced back.”
The Garden Club celebrated its landmark anniversary in April with its biannual Flower Show. Going back to their roots, the event was hosted at the South Sound community center, not far from where the first-ever meeting was held in 1957 at the old Seaview Hotel. “It was a big success,” reflects Ora.
This spirit and camaraderie has seen the club’s membership grow exponentially, with 50 members in 2014 to more than 80 members today. The club offers gardening education, friendship and an opportunity to share and enjoy gardens throughout Cayman while making a positive contribution to the community through various projects.
Ora feels the creative aspect of gardening is also an attraction for the members. “People like to create something and see it grow,” she says.
Now a registered charity, the Garden Club depends on memberships and donations it receives to continue the invaluable work they do for the community. One recently completed project is Sunrise Cottage, a retirement home in East End. After seeing the surrounding area neglected and despairing, members put their green fingers to work to completely revamp the plot and reclaim the natural beauty of the landscape, turning it into a sanctuary where the elderly residents can relax in the tranquil surroundings of ‘God’s creation.’
The project was spearheaded by Carole Broadbelt and Anita Hartwell, with National Construction and Massive Equipment Rental & Sales Ltd. pitching to help.
Previous community projects include landscaping at the Scouts building and the gardens at The Pines Retirement Home. And with 2018 in sight, there are already plans in place for more transformations, notably the Golden Age Nursing Home in West Bay.
“A lot of the elderly residents live out their last years here and they really appreciate the new gardens,” says Ora.
The Garden Club has plans to build the gardens at the new Cayman HospiceCare center on West Bay Road as well as the new children’s garden at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month except for July and August. The agenda is based on plans for the year, reporting on general business and community projects as they develop, usually finishing off with a garden tour and/or lecture. For more information visit www.caymangardenclub.com.
Friends of the Garden Club
- InsideOut magazine
- A. L. Thompson’s
- Titan Development
- Butterfield Group – Cayman
- Massive Equipment Rental & Sales Ltd.
- Savannah Medical Clinic
- Jacques Scott Wines & Spirits
- National Construction & Civil Engineering
- TGCS Ltd.