Cayla’s Column: Friendships and flora flourish in the Three Village Garden Club

Cayla’s Column: Friendships and flora flourish in the Three Village Garden Club

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Cayla Rosenhagen

For almost a century, the Three Village Garden Club has been uniting the community with its passion for flora, education, and support for worthy causes.

On September 17, I attended the Garden Club’s “See you in September!” flower show at the Neighborhood House in Setauket. As I entered, I was instantly entranced by the vibrant floral displays decorating every corner of the historic building. Delicate, brightly colored arrangements adorning the fireplace mantle and tables welcomed me into the exhibit. This welcome was mirrored by the warmhearted hospitality of the club members.

Joan Roehrig, a member of the club for ten years, offered to give me a tour. She explained that each division of the show, Horticulture, Educational, and Design, as well as some special exhibitions, were meticulously judged by experts earlier that day. In addition to the members’ contributions to the show, the club was very grateful for the floral designs donated by local florists, including James Cress, Village Florist and Events Stony Brook, Setauket Floral Design, and Stop & Shop’s Floral Designs by Jennifer.

Our first stop on the tour was the Horticulture room, which was organized into spectacular arrangements of perennials, annuals, herbs, fruits, and vegetables all grown in the members’ backyards. The Best in Show for this category was Patricia Bany’s exquisite combination planting of succulents.  

In the Educational division, there were multiple displays regarding various floral topics, including native plants and the history of the Garden Club. Not only were they informative, but they were also so elegantly presented. The Best in Show for this division was a comprehensive, educational project board and floral arrangements piece by Donna Hill. Entitled “Floral Design Techniques,” it displayed numerous methods used in flower arranging.

The Design category consisted of multiple sub-divisions, including Multi-Rhythmic, Tapestry, Table Centerpieces, and Art Interpretation classifications. Each piece radiated creativity and innovation. Arrangements varied in style from classical to contemporary, and each displayed a strong proficiency in their craft. The Best in Show for Design was earned by Vikki Bellias.

As I spoke to the participants in the show, they were eager to share their knowledge and love for flora and the Garden Club. Joan expressed one of her favorite experiences with the club has been the December Greenery Boutique. It’s an annual event where members gather during the holidays to create festive wreaths and decorations, later to be sold to the community.

Martina Matkovic, a member for about 6 years, described how the members regularly meet over tea and sandwiches to discuss various matters and attend lectures together. This teatime tradition goes back almost a century to the times of Jennie Melville, the club’s founder in the 1920s. From its inception, the club played an important role in the community through local beautification and support for causes such as employment during the Depression and clean water availability. Later, they took part in war relief efforts during World War II. The club continues to support environmental and educational movements and even offers horticulture scholarships and camps to students. 

The Three Village Garden Club is always looking for new members. No green thumb or gardening experience is required, as it is an educational group. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact the club’s president, Karin Ryon at (631) 813-5390.

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