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Mary Turner

History of the GCKY

History of the Garden Club of Kentucky, Inc.


Edith Nelson, President

 As my term is nearly finished, I think back two years ago when I selected my theme Paving The Pathway To The Future with emphasis on Youth Gardening and Native Pollinator Conservation.

Awareness is increasing across the Commonwealth of Kentucky of the importance of involving youth in gardening projects. The purpose of youth gardening programs is to develop a love and appreciation of nature. Our youth is our future gardeners and I especially want the pathway to lead to the encouragement of youth involvement. To assure success, I appointed a State Youth Advisor Chairman and asked each of the five District Directors to select a youth representative from their district to serve on the youth committee. This committee compiled a quarterly report keeping me informed on youth activities across our state. The State Chairman of Native Pollinator Conservation and the Monarch Butterfly Waystations, continues to offer presentations in our state as well as sharing Pollination for Kids PowerPoint to be used for primary grade children and other materials with our clubs. We are supporting South Atlantic Region Director, Sarah Ann Parler’s theme Inspire Conservation through Education.

Kentucky has 4 new Youth Clubs this term bringing our total to 6 active Youth Clubs. They are sponsored by local garden clubs and partnering with local extension offices and libraries. Members are busy presenting workshops with Church Kids Club, working with 4-H directors who provide after School Youth and Junior Gardening Projects and working with a Girl Scout Troop to earn the Native Plant Patch.   With our help, children will grow up knowing the wonders of nature and how to protect and care for the environment.  Each of the six clubs was presented with an Appreciation of Youth Club Sponsorship Certificate and a copy of the recently released book Wildlife in Your Garden edited by Karen Lanier.

 We are supporting National President Sandy Robinson’s special project Service in Action Protecting the Monarch Butterfly by planting and maintaining Monarch Waystations. We are partnering with the Kentucky Governor’s office and the Kentucky Department of State Parks to encourage conservation of one of our most important resources, our pollinators.  Governor Steve Beshear has designated September as Monarch Awareness Month.  Our first Butterfly and Native Plant Week-end was held at Jenny Wiley State Park in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. In 2017 plans are made for 2 more Friends of Pollinators Weekend to be held at State Headquarters Wallis Arboretum in Paris, KY and Kentucky Dam Village. As we build on the accomplishments of the previous administration, Kentucky now has over 400 waystations including 15 in state parks and more are being planned for this spring.  Distribution of the Frightened Frog book has been donated by members and placed in several schools and libraries across our state.

 Gardening for Pollinators was the theme for our 2016 and 2017 Photo contest. The three categories were: Pollinator Gardens for all Seasons, Bees, Birds and Butterflies and Gardening with the Youth. This contest proved to be very successful and enjoyable with digital photos accepted in 2017 and shown during our State annual meeting.

 The Garden Club of Kentucky and Middlesboro Garden club has presented all four Flower Show Courses with success in obtaining 4 new student judges. The Symposium sponsored by Kentucky Council of Nationally Accredited Flower Show Judges will be held June 14-15, 2017 at Carter Caves State Park in Olive Hill, Kentucky.

 In Mountain Laurel District, two Blue Star Memorial Markers were installed and dedicated for Veterans Day. A wonderful way to honor our servicemen and women.

 Thanks to our Garden Club of Kentucky Website Committee, a link has been added to our website to accommodate Online Registration for our Annual Conventions. Another member was added to this efficient committee to handle this extra responsibility. Betty Conner is Web team coordinator and has 4 volunteer committee members. They are continually moving forward with technology to keep our members informed.

We continue to support education through our State Scholarship Program. In 2016 Kentucky presented 6 scholarships in the amount of $10,000.  This year scholarship recipients will be awarded a total of $12,250 to use in the pursuit of higher education.  These students are studying in areas that will help our environment.


Edith Nelson

President Garden Club of Kentucky, Inc.

2017 GCKY Convention – Evaluation

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EVALUATION FORM (MS Word format) or (PDF Format)

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2017 GCKY Convention Evaluation

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Meetings and Presentations

Guest Speakers

Design for Flower Shows
Landscaping with Evergreens
Native Plants
Caring for Arrangements
Ideas, questions, concerns, offers of help... Let us know!


Other Activities


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Book Sale Fundraiser

Book Sale Fundraiser!

Thank you for bringing your used gardening and garden-related books to the 2017 GCKY Convention for our Book Sale Fundraiser.  The amount raised will be posted soon.

Hardbacks will be $2, softbacks $1,  and prime books near fair market value.


Charlie’s Compost

Charlie's Compost
Charlie’s Compost is a natural fertilizer and soil amendment made on a poultry farm in Kentucky, and it is a Kentucky Proud product. For pre-orders via the GCKY 2017 Convention,  GCKY will receive 25–30% of the purchase price (10-lb bags are $10 each; 40-lb bags are $20 each; and Compost Tea is $13 for 1 gallon).

If you missed your chance to order through us, or you decide you need more, visit

SAR Key Notes January 2017

The beginning of a new year is a time for reflecting on the accomplishments of the past year and a time to plan and focus on new ideas and projects for 2017. As you spend winter days with your gardening books and seed catalogs, remember to select seeds for native plant pollinator gardens and monarch waystations.
The Garden Club of Kentucky has seen a big increase in the number of certified gardens that ensure a brighter future for pollinators in our state. Kentucky has increased the number of Certified Monarch Waystations from 36 in 2013 to 404 through October 2016. Thanks to State Park Chairman, Joanna Kirby, we now have Monarch Waystations in 15 Kentucky State Parks. Linda Porter, Pollinator and Butterfly Chairman reported that public and private agencies across the state have joined forces to develop a Monarch Conservation Plan for Kentucky.
A park in Henderson, Kentucky has been offering to the public the opportunity to catch and tag Monarch butterflies to aid in tracking their migration paths to Mexico for the winter. Before being released, a small round sticker with identifying information is placed on the underside of the Monarch’s back wing.
Our garden club members have a huge impact in their communities as they beautify and improve them with the many volunteer hours spent each year. They continue to maintain gardens and waystations at Regional Airports, Arboretums, Nursing homes, Assisted living homes, Historical Society, National and State Parks, City welcome signs, and our State Headquarters. Garden Club for Noble Park received a $5,000 watershed grant to sponsor a rain garden workshop and to develop a rain garden to remedy a major water problem in the Parks Children’s Memorial.
While Paving the Pathway to the Future, we are making progress with our youth clubs. Youth Chairman, Ann Kowalkoski, and her committee report that all five districts have participated in youth activities including projects at a public library, work day at a park with pollinators, hands on activities, and applying for Youth Awards.
Many flower shows have been held this year. One show was held in conjunction with a district meeting. Members placed entries in shows at fairs and city celebrations. Programs included creative designs and how to prepare for a flower show. The Garden Club of Kentucky and Middlesboro Garden Club will host Flower Show Course IV on March 16 17, 2017 in Middlesboro, Kentucky. Our Symposium, sponsored by Kentucky Council of Nationally accredited Flower Show Judges of GCKY, will be held June 14 15, 2017 at Carter Caves State Park, Olive Hill, Kentucky.
Corbin Garden Club and Lady Slippers Garden Club in Mountain Laurel District, each installed and dedicated a Blue Star Memorial Marker for Veterans Day. What a beautiful way to honor our servicemen and women with a memorial that will beautify and preserve the land for which they fought.
I’m looking forward to seeing each of you at South Atlantic Region Convention in White Sulphur Springs, WV, on March 26-28, 2017.
Edith S. Nelson

2017 GCKY Photo Contest – Gardening for Pollinators

Four Serasons Waystaton-3 08-16Thank you for your interest in the Photo Contest at the 2017 GCKY State Convention. The Submission Period ended on 30 March and no further entries are being accepted. 

The photos will be displayed at the main dining room during the convention (April 11 -13). We are also working on a display here online, so please check back!

GCKY 2017 Convention & Evaluation

This gallery contains 1 photo.


Join the Facebook Group to see pictures from the convention!
GCKY 2017 Convention header

WHEN: 11-13 April 2017

WHERE: Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas KY 42156       270‑646‑2151
Hotel Reservations (rooms held for Convention until March 1)   Convention Rate:  $84.63 / night (includes taxes & fees)



Schedule Tuesday 11 April 2017  
Noon–6 pm Registration and Vendors
10:00 am Advisory Board
11:00 am Executive Committee
1:00 pm Lunch (on your own)
2:00 pm Flower Show Judges Council
2:00 PM Wildflower Walk in the Park
3:00 pm Landscape Design Consultants Council
4:00 pm Gardening Consultants Council
6:30 pm Banquet – hosted by Flower Show Judges
Schedule Wednesday 12 April 2017
8 am–6 pm Registration
10 am–6 pm Vendors, Photo Exhibition, Silent Auction
7:30 am Breakfast  – hosted by Landscape Dsgnrs
8:30 pm Board of Governors
10:00 am Official Opening & General Assembly
12:15 pm Honors Luncheon & Guest Speaker
2:00 pm Round Table Small Group Discussions
3:15 pm Workshop on Bluebird Trails
4:15 pm Park Nature Activity TBA
5:30 pm Reception for GCKY & NGC Presidents with live music!
6:30 pm Banquet to honor  NGC President
Schedule Thursday 13 April 2017
8:00 am Awards Brunch



Regena Hudson | 270-618-0499 |

Debbie Wyatt | 270-586-3410 |

Registrar:  301-247-3503

Registration Reports for Convention Staff  (password protected)

District Meetings

It was an honor and pleasure that I attended each of the 5 District Meetings in October.   My first meeting was Friday, October 2, 2015 the Blue Grass District meeting at Crestwood Christian Church in Lexington hosted by Lexington Council Garden clubs.  The district provided a wonderful overnight stay at The Inn on Broadway with dinner at the Campbell House. The program was Fun & Easy Container Gardens You’ll Love all Season Long by Kim Ellington of United Landscape


The next day, Saturday October 3, was Limestone District Meeting hosted by The Painted Hills Garden Club at First Baptist Church of Morehead. I enjoyed an overnight stay at the home of Ann Fiel which included a great dinner. The program was Landscaping for the Last Great Necessity by Dr. J.D. Reeder, Historian.


On Thursday, October 8, the Dogwood District meeting was hosted by The Cardinal Council and held at Bowling Green Country Club. A wonderful evening meal was at The Bistrol Restaurant with  10 people attending.  The program was Beekkeeping-Finding the Pathway to Pollinators by Michelle Boling, Bee Keeper.


Thursday, October 15 meeting was Audubon District at Cadiz Christian Church hosted by Gateway Garden Club.  My overnight accommodations was at the Lake Barkley State Resort Park with dinner in the dinning room over looking the lake. The program, Designing for Pollinators was presented by Carolyn Roof, Beth Carey and Carol Ullerich from Open Gate Garden Club


The last of the 5 District meetings was Saturday, October 24, at Corbin Center hosted by Corbin Garden Club and Cumberland Falls Garden Club. The program, Garden Club Tidbit, was presented by Sandra Robinson, NGC President.  0vernight accommodations at Comfort Inn Suites and dinner at the fantastic Season’s Restaurant.


Visiting the District meetings was the highlight of my year.

Edith Nelson

GCKY President

President’s Message