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The Utah Associated Garden Clubs

About Us

The Utah Associated Garden Clubs (UAGC) were established January 28, 1934, with the Salt Lake Flower Garden Club being one of our most prominent member clubs.  We were incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1963.  We are a member of the National Garden Clubs, Inc., and we share its mission to provide education, resources, and networking opportunities for our members, and to promote the love of gardening, floral design, and civic and environmental responsibility.

The UAGC is the umbrella organization for garden clubs throughout the state of Utah. We currently have 10 member clubs and 285 individual members. We provide certification for judges, grants for projects, and scholarships to students interested in the field. The public is welcome for flower shows, lectures, workshops, and plant sales. State and regional conventions are held as well as educational symposiums. The UAGC also provides judges for horticulture and floriculture at State and County Fairs.

The UAGC was instrumental in building the Sugar House Garden Center, where many of our member clubs meet and all of our statewide meetings are held.  It was dedicated in 1964, with an addition in 1971. We have also participated in the Blue Star Marker program that has placed memorials around the state to honor veterans. We have held Arbor Day events to plant trees in honor of prominent people, as well as projects to beautify roadways, civic centers, and schools. We encourage and help our member societies to acquire grant money to do service projects of both national and local importance.

The Utah Associated Garden Clubs Board

President:  Mary Holley

1st Vice-President:  Sue McJames

2nd Vice-President:  position open

Secretary:  Elise Hutchings

Treasurer:  Barbara Kendall

Historian:  position open

Parliamentarian:  Liz Rao

Past President:  Geoff Ellis

Scholarship Chairman:  Geoff Ellis

Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Chairman:  Connie MacKay

Butterfly/Pollinator Chairman:  Leslie Moss

School Credentials Chairman:  Eileen Bradbury

President's Theme

Our 2019-21 Theme is "Plant Utah."

What does "Plant Utah" mean? First, that we seek to be inspired by the national theme, “Plant America.” Second, that we have inherited a great tradition of planting and gardening in Utah. Third, that planting living, green growing things in our state is more important than ever.

When the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) first arrived in Utah in 1847, they immediately began planting crops such as potatoes and wheat. In addition, they planted trees to shade their new homes and streets, as well as ornamental flowers to brighten up their dooryards. Within a decade or two, they had transformed the Salt Lake Valley from a nearly treeless bunchgrass prairie into a fertile oasis of gardens and shade.

Today our fruits and vegetables are often shipped from hundreds of miles away, and we have air conditioning to cool our homes, but the need to keep on “planting Utah” is as great as ever. The fast-growing cottonwoods and messy box elders planted by the pioneers have almost all succumbed to age and the chainsaw, and we need to be planting good trees to replace them. Our outdoor environment does not have air conditioning, and as our climate slowly warms, the cooling shade provided by healthy trees is more important than ever.

In addition to trees, we need to plant appropriate shrubs, flowers, and grasses. Years ago, nearly everyone expressed their pride of ownership with a lush, green lawn. Now under the guise of saving water, many homeowners have created “xeriscapes” (often nothing more than a pile of rocks and gravel) and “zeroscapes” (where they just give up on all weeding, watering, and mowing, and let their yard turn into a weed patch). It seems to me that they would be better off living in an apartment than on property they don’t want to maintain.

Studies have shown that being around nature, whether it’s in the woods, in the mountains, or even in a well-planted urban environment is beneficial to our mental and physical well-being. Even hospital patients with a view of foliage and greenery outside their windows have been shown to recover faster than those who look out on a bare brick wall. But where is the joy in a pile of rocks or acres of gravel? It is important to conserve water, but there are ways to do so while still enjoying the benefits of shade, beauty, and nature that plants and trees provide. That’s why I will be encouraging our friends, neighbors, and garden clubs to “Plant Utah.”

Geoff Ellis, President

Utah Associated Garden Clubs

The History of the Garden Center

The Garden Center History is mostly the story of one small, attractive bundle of enthusiasm, Mrs. William J. Bullough (Hazel), who did something about the Utah Associated Garden Clubs' dream of a Garden Center.  In 1959, as Vice President of the UAGC, Hazel met often with Salt Lake City Commissioner L. C. Romney, visiting many old, available homes and buildings.  A discarded refreshment stand in Liberty Park was discussed as a possible center.  In 1960, as elected President of the UAGC, Hazel pushed ahead with renewed enthusiasm.  UAGC Board Meetings were held regularly in the discarded refreshment stand in Liberty Park.  Mrs. Bullough's constant knocking on the doors of the Salt Lake City Commission and the Satl Lake County Commission and her contagious enthusiasm finally bore fruit.

On Wednesday, December 27, 1961, the Deseret News announced that $10,000 had been budgeted by the Salt Lake County Commission for a Garden Center.  Mrs. Bullough knocked on the opposite door of the City and County Building, and Commissioner L. C. Romney of the Salt Lake city Commission promised to match the $10,000 with building materials and labor.  Liberty Park's refreshment stand was discussed for remodeling or a new cinder block building to be built on the same site.

But Mrs. Bullough's garden center dream was located in the new Sugar House Park.  She hopefully mentioned this location.  Commissioners Larson and Romney and Mrs. Bullough approached Mr. Harold Fabian, Chairman of the Sugar House Park Authority.  The Sugar House Park location was granted, and $10,000 was added to make sure the new building would do justice to their new park.

On Tuesday, August 28, 1962, ground breaking ceremonies were held.  Construction began in the fall of 1963.  Work halted often due to many setbacks and the constant need for more money.  Hazel's contagious enthusiasm never faltered.  She constantly pounded on the two doors of the city and County Building.  She pled, begged and persuaded.  Through the joint efforts of our Salt Lake City Commission, our Salt Lake County Commission, the Sugar House Park Authority, and the can-do determination of the Utah Associated Garden Clubs' President, Utah's Garden Center was dedicated September 20, 1964.

With Hazel's cheerful enthusiastic guidance, Sugar House Merchants, the garden clubs, garden club members, and many friends donated furnishings, books for the library, landscaping, and money.  After serving three years as President of the UAGC, Mrs. Bullough was unanimously appointed Permanent Chairman for our Garden Center.  In 1966, she was appointed to the staff of the Salt Lake county Recreation Department to serve as the Garden Center Building Director.

At the groundbreaking ceremonies, Mr. Warren White, the Salt Lake City Parks Superintendent, pointed out that the first priority to use the building will be to members of the garden clubs.  Since that time, dozens of garden clubs and other non-profit organizations have been holding their meetings there as well as putting on several flower shows each year.  These flower shows are open to the public, and they typically fill all of the floor space of both main rooms of the spacious building.  In all, more than 100 garden club events are scheduled in the Garden Center every year, and prospective members and interested persons from the public are always welcome to attend.  See our Calendar of Events for more information.