- Co-Presidents: Pauline Northrop and Ron Beattie
- Vice President: Karin Caston
- Secretary: Karla Labby
- Treasurer: Karen Gustafson
- Council Directors: Kathy Lesman
- All American Seeds – Elizabeth Troman
- Arbor Day – Karen Gustafson, Nancy Mossman, and Judy Spiekermann
- Awards – Bunny LaDuke, Karla Labby, Judy Spiekermann
- Birds – Nancy Lewis
- Calling / Reminding – Barb Krueger (phone), Jan Westcott (snail mail)
- Community Gardens –
- Plainwell M89 – Judy Spiekermann, Lynn Belco, Bunny LaDuke, and Mary Surine (Industrial Signs and Art Sculpture Gardens)
- Plainwell Blue Star Memorial – Lynn Belco and Inge Mesik
- Otsego Blue Star Memorial – Dick & Pauline Northrop, Brenda Carl
- Otsego Pollinator – Karla Labby, Bunny LaDuke, Deb Beattie, Karin Caston
- Hope Lutheran Church – Nancy Gregory and Grace Jacobs
- Environment – All Chula Vista members as identified.
- Fundraisers –
- Summer Alamo Farmer’s Market – Brenda Carl
- Plainwell Indoor Market – Bunny LaDuke & Karla Labby
- Spring Plant & Bake Sale – Nancy Lewis & Mary DeRyke
- Greens Sale Projects – All Chula Vista Members
- Green Sale Business Orders – All Chula Vista Members
- Historian – Mary Surine
- Horticulture – Barb Krueger
- Membership – Judy Spiekermann, Mary File
- Newsletter – Karla Labby
- Nomination and Policy – Bunny LaDuke
- Programs & Yearbook – Karin Caston, Karla Labby (developed yearbook), Bunny LaDuke, Nancy Lewis, Brenda Carl, Pauline Northrop
- Publicity – Karla Labby
Meetings: 3rd Thursday of the Month
Fiscal Year – July thru June
Organized in 1955 – Federated in 1960
- Chula Vista planned, planted and maintains two gardens and a sculpture landscape in the Industrial Park on East M-89 in Plainwell.
- Chula Vista provides and plants containers at Hope Lutheran Church where meetings and activities are often held.
- Member Dick Northrop headed a Bee Study Group for past two years, inviting members of other clubs to join us. We learned about Mason and Leaf Cutter bees and made houses and tubes to raise them.
- Chula Vista planted 75 flower boxes for the bridges in the City of Plainwell for past two years.
- Working with the City of Plainwell, Chula Vista initiated the landscaping plan for a fern garden area within Hicks Park in downtown Plainwell. More than 300 bare root Christmas ferns were ordered and planted by Chula Vista members and friends.
- Two Blue Star gardens are maintained, one large memorial garden in Otsego and one smaller memorial in Plainwell.
CLUB MEETINGS & PROGRAMS
Chula Vista meets monthly at the Otsego Township Hall or at Hope Lutheran Church in Plainwell. Monthly programs include speakers on various topics or field trips to special gardens or other facilities which feature horticultural, landscaping, or environmental programs.
Building relationships through our interest in gardening and nature. Our motto is: We Grow, We Conserve, We Beautify.
Chula Vista Garden Club, organized in 1956, in the Plainwell and Cooper (B Avenue) area, began with 10 members. These ladies were new home owners and they wanted to learn more about flower gardening. Amy Vandegiessen, flower show judge, encouraged these ladies to become federated — which they did in 1960, and this prompted them to join the Kalamazoo Garden Council.
Over the years since then, our numbers have grown to more than 30 members, and many of our members have been active in Kalamazoo Garden Council and Michigan Garden Clubs activities and leadership.
The 1970’s were active times for us. We had many educational programs on topics such as: wildflowers, orchids, environmental pollution, etc. For the Greens Sale we made terrariums, floral arrangements, and candle holders. For the bicentennial, we planted beds of red, white and blue flowers in downtown Plainwell and at the local hospital. It was in Spring, 1976, that our club began giving trees to local third graders to celebrate Arbor Day and to teach the students to respect and care for the earth. This project has continued and grown annually for 40+ years. We now give away about 500 trees and present a program to all 3rd graders in Otsego and Plainwell.
We are proud to have 3 NGC Accredited Gardening Consultants, 1 Environmental Specialist, 6 Landscape Design Consultants; 12 State Life Members, 4 National Life Members, and two Master Emeritus Flower Show Judges, Anna Mae Miller, an original and still very active member of the club and Caroline Gray, former MGC President and Central Region Director who joined Chula Vista this year. We also have 6 Master Gardeners and 2 Advanced Master Gardeners.
Another annual activity involves our growing and showing the All American Seed selections. In Spring each member is given an all American plant or seeds. At our August Potluck dinner meeting we show and judge the plants that we grew. We also bring other horticulture and arrangements from our homes and they are reviewed by Master Emeritus Flower Show Judges, Anna Mae Miller and Caroline Gray, assisted by long-time CV member and experienced Flower Show clerk, Mary File.
We have a plant sale each year which means members can find just the plant they have been looking for — or plants provided by another member who has many more than needed.
The Kalamazoo Garden Council (KGC) Louise Adams Beautification Awards are named after our member, past club president, and past KGC President, Louise Adams, who was instrumental in organizing these awards. Our Club has participated in this program each year since it has been in existence. This year the club is working on 5 gardens and 1 containers project in Otsego and Plainwell. Chula Vista members planted annuals in 75 bridge baskets for the City of Plainwell. Many lovely comments have been received by people who visit the area.
We look forward to hearing and learning more about the additional renovations that are coming to the Garden Council House this year.
What we feel is unique about our garden club: Our members have great enthusiasm and we work together as well as working with other clubs that belong to Garden Council.
Programs in the past year that we feel were good and we would recommend:
Field Trip to Leila Arboretum & Kaleidoscope Garden, Battle Creek
“Migration of the Monarch” by Jeanette Meyer, M.D., Western Hills Garden Club.
“Worms & Worm Castings” by Alysia Babcock, Worm Growing Expert.
“Water Wise Gardening” by Nancy Lewis, Master Gardener and Chula Vista member.
Tour of River Street Flowerland and how new plants are propagated and cultivated.
Advantages of being a garden club member: Friendship; sharing ideas; participating with other clubs; attending the District and State Garden Club meetings.
What do we especially enjoy about being a garden club member: The people, their thoughts and their ideas. We love to laugh and have a great time.
Things we have learned since becoming members of our garden club: Gardeners make wonderful friends and we have many opportunities to share ideas, plants, and club projects.
A Club Tradition
There are four traditional activities that Chula Vista chooses to repeat each year:
Our annual summer potluck, awards, and informal club flower show is a tradition that we enjoy each year. Club members contribute horticulture and arrangements which are reviewed by qualified NGC judges. It helps us to learn about how to best arrange flowers and prepare horticulture to enter into flower shows. We always enjoy the food and celebrate some members with awards.
On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving we gather at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center to make 50+ greens arrangements to sell to an orthodontist business as gifts for referral dentists. It is a festive time and everyone enjoys the activity and potluck. The funds earned are a part of the Kalamazoo Garden Council Greens Sale and the culmination of the club’s major contribution to the event.
Our Christmas potluck meeting for fellowship and sharing. Those who want share in cookie exchange, and needed gifts are gathered to be given to the local women’s shelter.
Our annual Arbor Day tree bagging is also a great tradition started many years ago by members of Chula Vista Garden Club and carried on today with great enthusiasm. The program has been expanded to 500 tree seedlings over the years to cover 3rd graders in Otsego schools as well as Plainwell area schools.
Chula Vista provides and plants containers at Hope Lutheran Church where meetings and activities are often held.