Founded in 1931, the Gates Mills Garden Club has a long, distinguished history in the Village. For over 80 years the Garden Club has been the steward of the Gates Mills Arboretum, a riverside park at the foot of the Pedestrian Bridge in the heart of the Village, and has enriched Village life with a variety of activities.
The Club plants the bridge boxes on the North and South bridges, designs and creates the May Baskets that decorate street signs for the First of May, organizes the annual roadside cleanup, and brightens up the local library branch with weekly fresh flower arrangements.
The Club presents monthly educational programs for members and their guests, goes on educational field trips to visit notable gardens and displays, organizes hands-on workshops for members, hosts the biennial garden tour and the standard flower show that regularly wins statewide, and national recognition. The Club also sponsors scholarships providing educational opportunities for high school students interested in careers in horticulture.
In 2011, the Garden Club voted to accept the bequest of Esquire’s Cottage, a house and barn on approximately 6 acres on Chagrin River Road. The property was the home of a past president of the Garden Club, Florence Stage, who decided to leave her home to the club. Upon her death more than twelve years ago, John Tuckerman, Florence’s husband, informed the Club of this future bequest, and made arrangements to fulfill her wishes. Today the property serves as a living memorial to Florence.
In the 1950’s, when Florence Stage was Garden Club president, members held meetings in her barn. Present day members are doing this once again and look forward to expanding the club’s programming. Esquire’s Cottage hosts board and monthly meetings, contains ongoing club projects for flower shows and community activities, houses the existing library, and archives its yearbooks, awards and records. The property strengthens the Garden Club’s ability to serve its members, their families and friends, and the Village of Gates Mills.
Additionally, the cottage has historical value to the Village. The Stage Cottage is the oldest structure in Gates Mills on its original foundation. The house was built by Colonel Ezra Eddy and bears a historical plaque granted by the Gates Mills Historical Society. Colonel Eddy came to the valley in 1831 and became a prominent citizen. He was born in Vermont where he learned a tanner’s trade. He ran a tannery in Gates Mills. His home on River Road is a half-mile south of Mayfield Road and is known as Esquire’s Cottage. Colonel Eddy served in the Ohio Militia.
If you are interested in membership ... please contact a Garden Club member or leave a message at (440) 423-4555