When the Nanoose Library Centre first opened on September 27, 1974 after two years of intense work and help from the New Horizons Grant of $11,500 from the Federal Government, it was in a rented log cabin that was the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Edmonds, with a gift of 1,000 books donated by Mr. Gordon N. Greene. In August, 1975 the property was purchased by the Friends of Nanoose Library Centre under Provincial Charter and in June, 1978, the addition of the activity room was officially opened.
Various classes were held in handicrafts, art, fitness, discussions, country dancing, a monthly dinner club and so on. At one time, a ten-week course on Gardening was held and proved very successful. So much interest was raised that those attending decided to form a club which would meet on a monthly basis.
The original name of the club was Nanoose Amateur Gardeners Ideas Exchange and it was called NAGIE for many years. The club met on the first Friday of the month from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. The members insisted that it should be very informal and just cover discussions on successes or failures in members' gardens, though soon guest speakers were invited and trips to visit members' gardens became a very popular feature. There was no annual subscription but membership was restricted to members of the library. Since that subscription was only $1 per year, it did not prove a hardship. In exchange for rent-free accommodation, NAGIE gave the library half the profit of the annual plant sale and looked after the garden although the heavy work was done by male volunteers. This donation rarely covered what would be charged for rent!
In 1984 NAGIE bought a mike and equipment which was to be lent to the library for fund-raising events. In 1986 the club consisted of 36 members, who held pot luck suppers and a BBQ on Rathtrevor Beach.
Over time, the club divided between members who wanted to meet in the evenings and to those who wanted to retain the first Friday afternoons so on February 12, 1981 the Nanoose Garden Club was founded. In 2000 the membership had risen to 77 and members still only paid $1 to join the library and therefore the Club. In 2001, membership was no longer restricted to members of the library but the Club had to pay rent for the Hall though it did not have to divide the profit of the plant sale. Subsequently the membership fee was raised to $10. In 2006, NGC celebrated its 25 Year Anniversary with Jackie Hall as President who also painted the celebratory banner. Together Loraine Wilhelm, Elaine Bohm, Hazel Muir, Linda Patterson & her sister, Myrna got together to make fancy sandwiches for the Anniversary event.
Presidents of the Club mostly served for two consecutive years, though Lillian Freeland served for three years and Shelagh-Anne Hedges served for one year in 2000 and another year in 2009. The longest serving President was Alice Judd, who in one position or another served on the Library Board for 26 years, and was NAGIE President for many of those years.
This history is a collaboration of information taken from the records of the Friends of the Nanoose Library Centre, “The History of Nanoose Bay Vancouver Island British Columbia Canada” – fourth edition 2006, previous President Shelagh-Ann Hedges, and long serving board member Loraine Wilhelm. The Garden Club did not possess a secretary until 2009. Up until Jackie Hall became President, the Club was run by the President, the Vice-President and the Treasurer. Jackie divided the administration between several members of the Club and so the Board was born.
The Nanoose Garden Club continues to grow from strength to strength with welcome additions of younger members each year.
To watch a short video on some very interesting Nanoose Bay history as told by previous Nanoose Garden Club member Edna Ozero, click HERE
To explore a photo album created by Jacqueline G. Hall celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Nanoose Garden Club on Friday, February 10, 2006 click HERE