A History of the Windsor Garden Club Garden Mart - Celebrating 80 Years Running in 2024

In 1944, the first Windsor Garden Club Plant Mart, as it was called in the beginning, was started. Mrs. Wilfred Greenwood headed the project. She approached the head librarian at the time, Miss Safford, and asked if the Windsor Garden Club could use the land in front of the library for the club’s first plant sale. Miss Safford consented, and the club's first annual fundraiser was born and held in May 1944. 

At 6:00 p.m. on the day of the first plant sale, there were only a few plants left, the members questioned what they should do with them. Just then a young master from Loomis Chaffee appeared. He had moved into the Ely house at the corner of Broad Street and Batchelder Road and had a garden plot ready to plant but didn’t know anything about gardening. The club members gave him the remaining plants at a reasonable cost and promised to help him plant them the next day. 

The following year, 1945 and until 1963, the Garden Mart was held on the south side of the old town hall on Maple Avenue. In 1948, the name of the sale was changed to Garden Mart from the original name, Plant Mart. 

 By 1963, the mart had outgrown the space at the old town hall and moved to the town green by the Eagle, where we still are today.

At first, only plants from the members’ gardens were sold, and one of the most generous contributors was Mr. Eleazer Pomeroy. He donated myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, bulbs and various other plants by the bushel. When his plants were sold out, he would go home and bring back more. He was called one of the town’s “fathers,” as he had been a selectman and an influential citizen of Windsor. Everyone who had a garden had some of Mr. Pomeroy’s plants. One remarked that every garden in town is a memorial to him. 

When he died, Mr. Pomeroy left land for a park in town with the promise that itwould not be named for him. That land is now Washington Park. He, along with Barbara Eberle and Barbara Snelgrove, formed the nucleus of the garden club.

After 80 years in total and 61 years on the town green, behind the eagle, our Spring Garden Mart endures, thanks to our club members' devotion and our community's support. Read about this year's garden mart. 

Each year, funds raised at our garden mart go directly to our scholarship program which provides funds towards the continued education of a Windsor resident student. Learn more about our Scholarship Program. 

A note from Patty Crowley, WGC Historian: 

Most of the above information was read at a garden club meeting in 1978. It was submitted by Jane Nearing; she said that the information was furnished by Mrs. Greenwood and Mrs. Marion Case, Mr. Pomeroy’s daughter.

On a personal note, as a newer resident of Windsor, I joined the Windsor Garden Club in 1996 to meet people. Through the 27 years I have been a member, I have been Earthworm Editor, Co-President, Co-Vice President and Corresponding Secretary. I have served on several program committees and been on the club’s garden tour twice.

I encourage new and seasoned members to participate in any committee work your lifestyle permits. It’s gratifying; the friendships you will make, along with all the wonderful gardening knowledge you will absorb, will be well worth it.

Photos: Top photo - the 
Col. Oliver Mather House of the Windsor Public Library. The site of the Windsor Garden Club Garden Mart, 1944.
Center photo - A post-card rendering of the old Windsor Town Hall, located on the corner of Maple Ave. and Broad St. (The current parking lot for The Bean) Our Garden Mart was held here from 1945-1960.
Bottom photo - The Windsor Town Green, behind the eagle monument, which the WGC Garden Mart has called home since 1961. 

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