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Doug club celebrates 80th year

For 80...

By Kathianne Boniello

Whether it is in the greenery at the Douglaston railroad station, the brightly colored flowers in the center mall of Alameda Avenue or the neatly kept beauty of Catherine Turner Richardson Park, signs of the Douglaston Garden Club are everywhere.

For 80 years the Douglaston Garden Club has been working to preserve its mission and heritage of preserving and adding to the natural wonders of Douglaston and Little Neck. With more than 100 members, the club has continued it success and plans to mark its 80th anniversary at a members-only meeting later this month.

Rita Pasqua, a club member and Douglaston resident, said the group has been a great part of the community.

“It’s main focus is civic beautification,” she said. “It’s been wonderful. It’s really been a learning experience as a member.”

Mary Ann Muccini, another member who lives in Douglaston, said the club is a positive addition to the area.

“It gives it a small town atmosphere in a way,” she said. “We all work together to beautify the area — to keep it a desirable place to live.”

The Douglaston Garden Club began in 1921 and three years later was one of 24 groups that founded the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State. One of the group’s first acts in Douglaston was to plant 12 pin oak trees in 1923.

Catherine Turner Richardson Park, named for longtime community activist and club president Catherine Turner Richardson, is one of the most visible examples of the Douglaston Garden Club’s work. Last year the group held a ceremony rededicating the renovated park.

There is a club requirement that a certain number of members must be from the Douglaston/Little Neck communities, but some come from Bayside and as far away as Whitestone. There is a waiting list for new members.

Vicky Barbieri, a past president of the club and a Whitestone resident, said about 20 percent of the group’s members are from outside the Douglaston/Little Neck area. She has been a member since 1986.

“I’m a non-resident member and I realize it is a major, important part of the community of Douglaston,” she said. “Socially, I find the women are wonderful and very friendly.”

Some of the club’s upcoming events include its annual flower shows and an outreach workshop this spring that was slated to provide centerpieces to residents in the Little Neck Nursing Home.

In addition to caring for different sites throughout the community and hosting annual flower and horticulture shows every spring and fall, the Douglaston Garden Club regularly features speakers, experts and workshops to educate its members about their passion: plants.

Pasqua said club members learn about everything from flower arrangements and centerpieces to growing plants and exotic flowers.

“It’s just been fun,” she said. “It’s really a nice thing for the community.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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