Gilligan Daisy the Club Flower

The Hilltoppers Garden Club is a vibrant, active Garden Club that has been in existence for over 50 years.  It is made up of women who love gardening~and each other~and want to learn more about all aspects of gardening.  We offer stimulating monthly programs which have featured speakers, demonstrations, DVD presentations, panel discussions and tours.   We have had classes instructed by members, creating unique glass garden art, container gardens, pumpkin centerpieces, corsages and bulb lasagnes to enhance our homes and gardens. Our current membership is 45 with 50 as our limit.  We welcome active participants to join us, to add their interests, enthusiasm and talents for their love of gardening.

We meet the 1st Thursday morning of most months, September-June, at the Northlake Lutheran Church, 6620 NE 185th St., in Kenmore (98028).  Social hour and refreshments begin at 9:30 a.m.  Business meetings and program begin at 10:00 a.m.  Refreshments, coffee, and tea are provided.

Our Mission:  To enhance our knowledge of gardening through educational and hands-on opportunities that emphasize individual life-long learning, community and environmental responsibilities, networking within our club and with our regional and state organizations, making friends and having fun.

Membership:  Our Club is affiliated with the East Lake Washington District of Garden Clubs (ELWDGC), the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs(WSFGC), and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC) and the Bellevue Botanical Gardens (BBG).

Club Founder:  Beth Tait (9/28/1917-10/18/2010)  founded the club on May 9, 1960

Club History:  When Beth Tait started the club, she sold seeds and plants to buy supplies for the club.  Arbor Day was an important part of early club activities and six pine trees were planted at Juanita Elementary School and three dogwood trees were planted at Evergreen Hospital.  Later, the club planted all the flower beds at a church.  Then, with the District, a tree has been planted every year to date.

The early meetings were held at Beth’s home until other locations were found.  The plant sales were held at many different groceries and are now held at QFC at the top of Finn Hill.   The early plant sales found members potting at Beth’s home using her soil and mainly her plants.  She used to sell her plants to many nurseries and one spring sold 3,500 primroses at the Orthopedic Hospital sale.  She always donated some of these plants in Hilltoppers’ name.  Beth was also one of five people who started the East Lake Washington District of Garden Clubs.

We have a long, proud history of community involvement and strive for excellence in all things related to flowers, gardening, conservation, involvement in schools, and protecting our environment.  The reason the club has been so successful is the effort that every member of the club happily contributes.

Club Flower:  Gilligan Daisy (White Shasta Daisy that grows to about 3′ tall)

Program:  Each year our activities include educational programs, hands-on gardening, workshops, tours, and special events.  Members continue to suggest creative, thought-provoking ideas that keep us progressive and successful.

Membership:  Members are encouraged to participate at meetings, make suggestions, share ideas, and ask questions about gardening.  There is something for all of us here. Members are encouraged to take an active role on committees, serving as co-hostess one meeting a year and as club officer periodically.  All members are asked to help with the annual plant sale.  Each member will receive a Hilltoppers’ Garden Club Handbook.

Dues:  Your annual dues (currently $15) makes you a member of Hilltoppers and the East Lake Washington District of Garden Clubs.

Dues are collected in April, May, and June for the following year.  The dues are sent by the Treasurer to the District dues secretary in June.  The dues include membership for the District and State, as well as Hilltoppers.  For people joining the second half of our meeting year (January through March) the dues are $10.

Guests:  Guests are welcome at any time without reservations except at special events (such as some of our tours) where participants are limited and the December meeting.  When a guest has attended three times and finds that the club is a good match for her interests, she will be invited to join.

Community Service Projects:  Hilltopper members are involved in the community.  We have provided plants to Senior Centers, gifts to nursing homes, helped provide education projects and scholarships (Give Kids a Hand) to local schools (K-!2).  We plant and care for a garden at Northlake Lutheran Church, and we provide donations in time and money to community organizations as time and funds permit.  We belong to the Bellevue Botanical Gardens and have supported  Arbor Day, ELWD events and projects, Center for Urban Horticulture, World Gardening, and many others.

Plant Sale:  Our Annual Plant Sale is held the first Saturday of May at the Inglewood Presbyterian Church.  This is our only fundraiser and all members are encouraged to take an active part  to support this event by donating plants or funds, and work a shift on the day of sale.   We enrich and educate the community with the plants from our gardens as we get to know the neighbors we serve.