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Club History

The founders of the Garden Club of Mountain Lakes were all members of the Mountain Lakes Flower, Plant & Fruit Guild which was organized in 1913. The Guild’s mission was to promote the distribution of flowers, plants, jellies, fruits and vegetables among the poor and sick in their homes, in hospitals or charitable institutions, and to encourage a love for and protection of all growing things. Our club as we know it today was founded in 1936. We joined the Garden Club of New Jersey in 1937.

  • Our first major project was the development of a wildlife and bird sanctuary, under the direction of Thorleif Fliflet, an internationally renowned fern expert. The Thorleif Fliflet Bird Sanctuary located on Lake Drive opposite Rockaway Terrace was restored in 1993 by the Club with the help of the Shade Tree Commission and the Mountain Lakes Boy Scouts.

  • In the 1940s, when a new entrance to Mountain Lakes at Route 46 was opened, our club established a “Roadside” Committee to beautify and improve the gateway. Members also assisted with State roadway surveys during this time. This was the start of our ongoing efforts to develop and maintain community gardens within town.

  • On September 16, 1949, we held our first flower show. We have hosted many shows since and are proud to have presented shows to celebrate the 50th, 75th (“Reflections”) and 100th (“The Past is Always Present”) anniversaries of Mountain Lakes.

  • The Garden Club of Mountain Lakes established the “Garden Club of Mountain Lakes Silver Trophy” in 1992. The trophy celebrates the work of long standing member, Jesse Hyson, for her efforts promoting our youth nature program and as a key organizer of the Hammond Wildflower Trail at Tourne Park. The trophy is awarded by the Garden Club of New Jersey, and recognizes the significant contribution of an individual or club to the preservation of wildflowers.

  • In 2014, as a tribute to long time member, Helen Connell, and her many years of floral design, encouragement and inspiration to all members, the Garden Club of Mountain Lakes created a perpetual trophy, “The Garden Club of Mountain Lakes Helen Connell Award”. This silver bowl is given to a deserving club member at each of our flower shows.​


Some of our other past projects have become long standing traditions for the club:

  • A “Critter Tree” is displayed each holiday season in the Mountain Lakes Library, decorated with natural ornaments inspired by the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

  • The club participated in the Mountain Lakes Annual United Nations Weekend for many decades.

  • We have adorned the New Jersey State House with dried flower arrangements and helped decorate the governor’s mansion, Drumthwacket, for the holidays.

  • The club was honored to have played a role in the creation of our community’s 9/11 Memorial Garden at Birchwood Lake. We continue to maintain this significant community garden.

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